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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.
61 of 67 people found this review helpful
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????
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
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
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
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.