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Publisher's Summary

The year is A.D. 922. A refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Baghdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors who are journeying to the barbaric North. He is appalled by their Viking customs - the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness...their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But it is not until they reach the depths of the Northland that the courtier learns the horrifying and inescapable truth: he has been enlisted by these savage, inscrutable warriors to help combat a terror that plagues them - a monstrosity that emerges under cover of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh....

Eaters of the Dead was adapted to the screen as The 13th Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas.

©1976 by Michael Crichton; Copyright renewed 2004 by CrichtonSun LLC. (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Time well spent

I've always enjoyed the movie the 13th warrior, but this is one of those situations where the book manages to squeeze out so much more...as they usually do.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

FEAR HAS A WHITE MOUTH

BY TRICKERY, DECEIT
I suppose I should KEEP MY TEETH TOGETHER, but it is something that bothered me the first time I read it and still bothers me in this second reading. Crichton tries to convince the reader that he is writing a factual novel based on some long lost manuscripts of a long ago adventurer. The book is filled with footnotes and references to non existence texts. He does come forward with the truth at the end of the book and tries to explain why he did it. I suppose it was to warn us, to not believe everything we hear and to check out references for their authenticity. All I know is, that I felt like he was making fun of me. Once I got over that, I could not deny that this is a exciting, well written, sort of fantastical, sort of historical story and The 13th Warrior is one of my favorite movies.

STRANGE THINGS CEASE TO BE STRANGE UPON REPETITION
Some my think my first paragraph is a spoiler, but I believe if you know ahead of time, you will enjoy the book better and not have that sick feeling at the end of being duked. If you liked the movie you will love this book. If you have not seen the movie, but like books with high adventure, macho Vikings, historical aspects, Dragons, Witches, sword play and Neanderthals among others than you too, will love this book.

Simon Vance was the perfect fit for this book.

65 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite Crichton books.

Good flow and good performance. I thought it came alive well in this audio version.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Go in blind

Seriously. Don’t google this book. Don’t look at reviews or the Wikipedia page. Don’t even read the box blurb. Go in as cold as you can, and just enjoy the experience of gradually realizing exactly what in the blue heck you’re listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

a/k/a 'The 13th Warrior'


The full name of this 1976 novel was "Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922." After being made into a movie under the title, *The 13th Warrior,* the book was republished for a time under that name.

The idea for the book came after Crichton heard his pal giving a lecture including BEOWULF as among the "Bores of Literature."

The book is basically told as a edited translation of the account written by Ibn Fadlan, a Persian ambassador conscripted by a group of Vikings (probably from Sweden) as the 13th warrior in a hero's quest to save a northern kingdom from a group of "mist monsters" called "wendol," a group of vicious savages, perhaps surviving Neanderthals, who wear bear skins in battle. After battling with the wendol (probably based, in part, on Grendel since Crichton notes in an appendix that the book is based partly on the myth of Beowulf), they must fight Grendel's mother.

I was somewhat disappointed by the lethargic lulls and the story's underdevelopment. Yet, at times, the action sequences were quite thrilling. As usual, Crichton's research was impeccable and provided an education on the Vikings and a more modernized account of Beowulf. If you enjoyed Beowulf or you're a Viking connoisseur, you should like this relatively inexpensive book.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I am not a Crichton Fan and I don't know why!

First off, I am not a Michael Crichton fan. Yet I have always loved this story. I came across the audio version of this when there were audiotapes and a walkman. For the longest time, I have tried to find this again on audio, and now it has been reissued. I am so happy!

This novel, set in the 10th century, is supposed to be the “scientific accounting” of Ibn Fadlan, a disgraced courtier. There are three voices in the narration although we only see two. First we have the editor, who discusses the background of the story. Second, we have the narrator, Ibn Fadlan, himself. Yet, we are also visited by the inconsistencies of the “translation” by other scholars. This is all done so seamlessly, that it isn’t clear unless you are listening for it. BTW, I believe this was done on purpose by Michael Crichton to prove a literary argument that people can read/hear a telling of Beowulf and not be bored. (I happen to agree with Crichton)

There are so many times that Ibn says, “I have seen with my own eyes…” This lends credibility to the narration because at the beginning we see him as this judgmental, snobbish man who is content to do his job by the letter of the law and report facts. His language in the beginning is derogatory as he describes the horrific habits of the Norsemen. It is clear to the reader that Ibn has no desire to get in with this group. Yet, he is forced to do just that during a particular visit with the Norse when the new King embarks on a mission to kill a tribe of Animals who have supernatural skills. At this meeting, an oracle determines that instead of twelve warriors, if this quest is to be successful, they need 13 warriors. Ibn gets enlisted as the thirteenth warrior.

We follow his journey from staunch follower of his customs to Ibn’s transformation into a friend who both honors and respects other customs. As he learns the language and pushes the boundaries, he finds fellowship, camaraderie, and even love in places he never thought he would know.

This is a short book, but to me, worth a credit. It is well crafted and well executed. It isn’t easy to do Beowulf justice and make it interesting in the modern context, but Crichton has done it. I loved Beowulf and I love the retelling of this by Crichton. Now, if only I could get my head out of bottom to become a true fan of his. Seriously, what is wrong with me????

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • SandL
  • Renton, WA United States
  • 03-25-18

Half story, half textbook

Good choice for movie, because they could trim it down without losing much. The heart of the story is excellent. Well written and well read. Crichton's research is thorough. However, until the story actually gets going it's like a lecture or a textbook. I found my attention drifting with all the historical reference. A lot of blah blah blah. Once into the story it was great with a few interruptions for more references. I was tempted to skip the first 3 chapters and all the references at the end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good.....

Good book but too much extra stuff out in by the author. It almost reads like a history book. The main story is excellent just the beginning and end are boring.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Michael Crichton updates eaters of the dead

I really enjoyed reading this the first version. Hearing it had been updated and offered as audio was too much to resist. Reading gives you the opportunity to follow the story in your head. Audible allows you to sit back and have the story presented. Regardless of what you choose you can take it with you or settle in private. The customs discussed have historical significance and although short, it is dense with quality subject material and quality narration.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story

Narrator doesn't quite change his accent. or tone, enough whenever story narration changes. So it can be a little confusing.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 06-22-18

Does Historical Documentation Make a Thriller?

Not for the first time with Crichton I find myself thinking that he has great ideas but sometimes doesn't execute on them. It is a hell of a tale, arab explorers partying with the Vikings is something you good go a hell of a long way with. Crichton also had the interesting idea of structuring the whole thing on a mostly fictional ancient manuscript written by one of the explorers interspersed with odd moments of documentary-like commentary. For me it just sucked the life out of the story with it's extremely matter of fact approach.

It is interesting to note that the early chapters are loosely based on a real account by Ahmad ibn Fadlan who genuinely was an arab traveller that visited the Vikings. Crichton then bolts on a Beowulf-like story to complete his tale.

Simon Vance does a decent job of the narration but the text style isn't easy to breathe a great deal of life into. So maybe this will prove unpopular as a review but for me I was put off by the 15 minute historical lecture at the start and never managed to engage with the dry delivery of the story that followed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. J. Atkinson
  • 09-19-16

Great historical "fiction" !

Excellent historical adventure story from a great story teller.
Vikings, mist monsters and adventure. Worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. J. Ambler
  • 12-28-15

Well worth the wait

I loved the film, unashamedly, and loved reading this through when I bought the novel. I've been periodically checking Audible for this title and when I saw it was available for preorder, didn't hesitate.
I'll be listening to this A lot. love it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • GARY J PRICE
  • 07-04-18

Not at all what I was expecting

Strangely compelling but this is not a story in a normal Michael Crichton sense. Ancient texts recast as fiction

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • janien
  • 06-17-18

If the Viking era is your thing, read this!

Eaters of the Dead, I devoured this 😂 in a couple of days on audible.

Initially I thought it was non fiction and was transfixed. The author explains at the end it’s a mixture of both and looking back at it years after it was written he couldn’t fathom the fact from the fiction.

If the Viking era is your thing then do read this. Includes a sit up and take notice section on Viking ship burials.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucus
  • 01-04-18

Brilliant Story

What did you like most about Eaters of the Dead?

A great read/listen, the reader/listener is transported into fictional history and to the world of Vikings.

What did you like best about this story?

The Story is based on a real historical individual (Ahmad ibn Fadlan) and then embellished by MC

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no but i like his performance.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes.

Any additional comments?

Just a great list really enjoyed it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-28-17

brilliant

Brilliantly written book and fantastically read. I would recommend this story to anyone, very atmospheric.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dallas Winston 9
  • 09-06-17

A Baewolf story

Would you listen to Eaters of the Dead again? Why?

No. I liked it was a good story and very fast paced however it is a Beawolf narrative so would rather listen to a beawolf translation rather than re-listen to this.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator as he was an outsider he was the heart of the story, brought out the Viking culture and characters.

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?

Simon Vance gave a theatrical proformance but it was in first person so he only played the part of the narrator.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There was a bit with snakes where I cringed.

Any additional comments?

The novel works around the structure of a fictional found document, at times I questioned if it was fictional.I found it to be original and a good listen. Plus Crichton so, really imaginative.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wishpiddle
  • 01-22-17

Fantastic

Amazing to finally consume the text of this story after being a long time super fan of the movie, the Thirteenth Warrior. Exceptionally difficult to get a print copy so an audio copy was the next best and it made made car journey's fly by. Great narration, great story and perfect for a history or movies fan.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ricke williams
  • 10-12-16

the real deal behind 13th warrior

What made the experience of listening to Eaters of the Dead the most enjoyable?

Knowing it was true. Loving the film feeling I was living beowulf

What was one of the most memorable moments of Eaters of the Dead?

Low do I see my father

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Dr Watson does it again. My old mucker on a story a 7th of the length

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ish. I was not fatiguing but not the norm so a break for cognitive catch up, was required.

Any additional comments?

Well worth the £ v hours

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-12-17

Well voiced and a strange and interesting story

Eaters of the Dead is a strange and fun book. Unconventionally, it's told as if reading an old translated manuscript, with fake foot notes and translation explanations to boot.

If you liked the film that was based of this, you'll probably like the book. Alternatively, the protagonists journey through cultures completely alien to him makes it exciting and feel almost fantasy. It's a short listen, so give it a chance.