Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

Eaters of the Dead, written in 1976 by Michael Crichton, is based upon ambassador Ibn Fadlan's account of his journeys among the early Rus people, Northmen as they are called in the book, and the story of Beowulf. The main conflict is between Vikings and a small Neanderthal population.

In the beginning the books is pretty rough: the Northmen are not a clean people, they have customs which in the beginning make the clean Arab Ibn Fadlan cringe, the description of the "daemon"'s massacres are very graphic. This may make some readers give up on the book. As Crichton said in his own words: "I wrote Eaters on a bet that I could make an entertaining story out of 'Beowulf'. It's an unusual book. Readers either like it, or they don't,".

However, the adventures and battles are captured very well. Crichton's main accomplishment in my view is the ability to present the story in an old sort of language that is in fact very readable. Also, I admired his research work, the footnotes prove he did quite a lot of it.

I enjoyed the book and if you want to find out a little bit about our ancestors, especially Vikings, I recommend it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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