Eaters Of The Dead
When the line separating fact and fiction is erased,
the result is ?Eaters of the dead?. It does not even stop
there; although the language used is archaic the paragraphs
are spaced according to the modern convention. Indeed this
book transcends the genres making it a refreshing read, a
respite from the stereotypical fiction and non-fiction
books. Crichton, often referred to as the ?master of techno
thriller?, proves his versatility in giving the readers a
book that is anything but related to technology.
The story is based upon an Arab traveler Ahmad Ibn
Fadlan, and the epic poem ?Beowulf?. In June AD 921, the
Caliph of Baghdad sent Ibn Fadlan as an ambassador to the
King of Bulgars. Gone for three years he never accomplished
his mission for he encountered a company of Norseme
(loosely the Vikings) and had many adventures among them.
Being from a conservative background, Ibn Fadlan has a
critical, almost cynical, view of the Norsemen?s customs,
disregard of cleanliness and cold-blooded human sacrifices.
While living in the company of the Norsemen, the Norsemen
receive a message that their counterparts up north are in
mortal peril, for a terror visits in the veil of the night.
As per a divine revelation, a group consisting of thirteen
warriors is chosen to travel to the northern land to
counter the terror. Ibn Fadlan learns much to his horror
that he has been chosen as the thirteenth warrior.
This book was conceived as a wager that Michael
Crichton had placed with his friend Kurt Villasden.
Villasden proposed to teach a course in college, which he
called ?The great bores,? that would include all the extra
text that were supposedly crucial to Western civilization
but which were no longer read willingly. The very first of
the great bores he would address was the epic
poem ?Beowulf?. Crichton disagreed, and argued that it was
an exciting story. That is the point he tries to prove
through this book, and to say that he succeeded would be an
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