In 1348, as the Black Death is gathering strength across Europe, Father Deitrich is the priest of the village that will come to be known as Eifelheim. A man educated in science and philosophy, he is astonished to become the first contact between humanity and an alien race from a distant star when their interstellar ship crashes in the nearby forest.
Tom, Sharon, and Father Deitrich have a strange and intertwined destiny of tragedy and triumph in this brilliant novel by the winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award.
©2006 Michael Flynn; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Another meticulously researched, intense, mesmerizing novel...for readers seeking thoughtful science fiction of the highest order." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Flynn masterfully achieves an intricate panorama of medieval life, full of fascinatingly realized human and Krenken characters whose fates interconnect with poignant irony." (Publishers Weekly)
"Compellingly weaves past and present together in a dialog of faith and science....Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
This story set in a 13th century hamlet deep within the Black Forest has been one of my most rewarding Audible experiences. I have been an avid reader of “speculative” and “philosophical” sci-fi since childhood and seldom have I encountered a more beautifully imagined and considered work. The central character is the priest Dietrich, highly intelligent, a thoughtful leader to his small community. When confronted with life changing events, he rises to the challenges and confronts circumstances that would confound lesser men and holds fast his people against threatening chaos. 700 years later a historian and his physicist wife become involved in the mystery that is “Efilhiem”, the thriving village that is suddenly abandoned and never resettled.
The plot is finely drawn, the narration outstanding, the conclusion poignant. Profound, moving, absorbing and informative. Thoroughly recommended, 10 out of 10.
Love audio books, collecting and shooting guns . Spent 12 years in the US Army, got out in '94. Been a Surveyor ever since. Married w/3 sons
It took me a little while to get into this one, but then I appreciated all the work put into the research to write this. After restarting it a few times I finally got into the characters and was entranced throughout the last half of the book. This was a very creative idea for a novel and I applaud the writer. The narrator was also excellent, I don't believe a Scott Brick or a George Guidall could've done this one any better. Be patient through the beginning and be rewarded throughout the rest of the book. Listen & enjoy!!
The story line was quite interesting, and I enjoyed the interplay of past and present. At the end I felt questions were unresolved. But I felt the character development was shallow--leaving merely caricatures. I could never quite buy in to the dialog of the mysterious visitors.
Once I got into the story, it was worth the listen, but this is not the story I anticipated.
I usually do not like science fiction set in the historical past. Invariability the characters end up meeting Abe Lincoln or someone like that. it just seems like a hokey literary device.
This book shows the "dark ages" and its inhabitants with compassion and human depth. This is wrapped around the unknowable question What if aliens did arrive on Earth in our past. These aliens did not build the pyramids or anything so fantastic they were just regular folks and after some time their "humanity" shows.
The present time setting, or a little in our future, was a little clunky but not too
bad; it allowed the reader to find out the truth
of the really interesting characters those of the
dark ages. And as it turns out not so dark after
I've read/listened to thousands of books in my life - none better than this gem. Less science-fiction and more a deep insight into the human condition, Eifelheim takes us to some very strange places in order to make us look within our souls and ponder about our place in the universe. When residents of an isolated Medieval village in the Black Forest come into contact with extraterrestrials, the results, as portrayed by the author, are breathtaking. The sci-fi elements, which could have easily detracted from the beautiful, philosophical tone of the narrative, are wonderfully understated. This novel, in the same league with Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End," is enhanced in audio by an expertly-handled narration. Highly recommended.
Award winning novels should be incredible. I am a great fan of the medieval time period and the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Did I miss something? The plot sounded interesting, but that was where the appeal ended.
I never fell in love with, much less cared about any of the characters in this story. Despite all their dialog, I never understood their motivation or true character. Some of their actions were so ridiculous, I laughed out loud! The descriptions of the 1340's scenic areas were lovely, but that just wasn't enough to carry the book.
I was hoping the ending would make tolerating the hours of dialog and detail worth while. As others have said, it was predictably anticlimactic. Sigh... maybe, its just me?
This was a fantastic listen. I was riveted. I highly recommend this one. I usually listen to these while cutting the yard or doing odd jobs around the house. I often found myself pausing and just standing around listening intently. It really grabs your attention and your imagination. Ecellent research and well developed characters make this a superb book.
Those who enjoy Umberto Eco's novels might like this combination of historical novel with science fiction. It's an intriguing idea: what would happen if scientifically advanced space aliens landed in a 14th century German village and encountered there a highly educated priest who tries to convert them to Christianity? How would the superstitious peasants respond? This really is an interesting story. It has depth, intelligence, a nice measure of pathos, and is well researched. The intellectual discussions in the novel are extensive and dense, however. Although they're well done, they won't be to the taste of those looking for escapist fare.
If you speak even an elementary level of German, though, I suggest reading this in print instead of listening to this production. Although the narrator actually is quite good on a general level, he has no concept whatever of how to pronounce German. Worse, he makes no effort to find out until the very last sections of the book, when he marginally, sporadically improves. I don't expect perfect pronunciation of foreign languages in audiobooks, but actors and directors in professional productions at least should find out how the consonants are pronounced. This actor reads every German word as though it were written in American English, including the simple "ja" (which means "yes," and is pronounced "yah," not "jaw.") He does, however, pronounce "Herr," which in this case means "lord," close to correctly. (The "H" in German is pronounced, as in English.) I found the constant, egregious mistakes to be literally eye-rolling. It ruined my enjoyment of the book, which otherwise might have had me turning handsprings.
I may buy a print copy and read it, without the aggravation. The book itself is worth a second look.
Although I can see that others didn't get this book, I found it a very enjoyable read, and I returned to see what else Michael Flynn has written. I think if you enjoy science fiction and history, particularly the middle ages, you'll find lots to enjoy. Having recently read "World Without End," which is about the same time period, I enjoyed hearing about life in Germany during this period. It worked for me, and I would recommend it highly, with the caveat that obviously some didn't have the patience for the details of life in the middle ages.
At first the story seems slow but it takes time to know the characters and learn the culture and environment of the story. The mixture of the stories of scientific discovery and history made, for me, an addictive combination. The story is a bit dark though and I would hope a sequel would offer a more hopeful outcome. This story demands a sequel.
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