“Eaters of the Dead” by Michael Crichton is a fiction but with historicalbackground.
Through this piece Crichton hopes to express the way of life for theVikings in the year 922 AD while at the same time creating an entertainingstory. Using a manuscript written by Ibn-Fadlan Crichton pieced together a bookfilled with adventure and excitement. Michael Crichton was born in Chicago, 1942and always knew he had a talent for writing. He attended Brown University andhas since published many books such as “Jurassic Park”, “The RisingSun”, “Disclosure”, and many more. Several of his books have been madeinto movies, for example, “Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World”,”Sphere”, “Congo”, and “Eaters of the Dead” is coming to theatresthis summer starring Antonio Banderas. Michael Crichton is also the writer ofthe hit TV show “ER”.Order now
Ibn-Fadlan is a refined Arab courtier representing thepowerful Caliph of Baghdad and the whole story line is based on his travels. Heis a Muslim and is sent to the Bulgar land to instruct the king in the Islamicreligion, acquaint the king with Islamic laws, and build a Mosque in the city. Little does Ibn-Fadlan know where his travels will lead him. Wyglif is thepresent chief of the Northmen (at the time) he has fallen ill and is believed tohave no chance of recovery. Once he dies, shortly after becoming ill, Buliwyf ismade the new leader.
Buliwyf is a young noble chosen to be the Northmens newleader once Wyglif dies. He is a courageous warrior, very tall and strong, andskin, hair, and beard of pure white. Herger, one of the Northmen warriors, alsobecame Ibn-Fadlan’s friend. He helped him to translate the words of theNorthmen and also helped Ibn-Fadlan become accustomed to their way of life andhow to act around the Northmen. “The Wendols” are characters in the storywho, as told by Ibn-Fadlan, do not seem fully human. They ride on the back of ablack horse and have the head of a bear.
They are extremely fierce warriors andare quite vindictive. They give off a stench so strong it hurts to breathebecause they consume human flesh and it is always on their breath. They comewith the mist, a dark fog that encircles the land when the Wendols come. MotherWendol is the leader of the wendols and said to be extremely old. To finallybeat the Wendols, one must kill her.
She lives in the cave by the sea surroundedby coiled serpents all the time. She makes an almost painful sound when shescreams and smells the worst of them all. Ibn-Fadlan is an Ambassador to theCaliph of Baghdad and has been sent to teach the King of Bulgar the Islamic wayof life, and to build a Mosque in the city. On his way to Bulgar, he stops withhis party in the land of the Northmen. Being extremely hospitable people theywelcome the Arabs to their homes and provide them with food, clothing, andshelter for a few nights.
As it so happens, their chief is very ill and whilethey are there, he dies. The Northmen will not let the Arabs leave their landuntil after the funeral and ceremonies. During this long process, kin of the newleader arrives and asks for the Northmens help in defeating the Wendols. According to the Angel of Death, an old woman said to have magical powers,thirteen warriors must go to the land of the wendol, one of them not being aNorthmen.
Buliwyf, the chief of the Northmen demands Ibn-Fadlan to accompany themen in their battle and become the thirteenth warrior. He will not take no foran answer, and so, Ibn-Fadlan’s journey begins. Twelve other warriorsaccompanied Ibn, Buliwyf, Ecthgow, Higlak, Skeld, Weath, Roneth, Halga, Helfdane,Edgtho, Rethel, Haltaf, and Herger. With them, Ibn traveled across the oceansand fought many battles. Ibn learned their culture, way of life, and theirlanguage. He formed many friendships and gained a new perspective on life.
Though there were many difficult tasks to accomplish but Ibn managed well anddidn’t realize what he was really in for. Warned many times about the wendolsIbn shrugged it off. He didn’t realize the severity of the situation he wasin. They fought the wendol several times, only killing off a few and pushing thesurviving wendol to want revenge.
After being beaten badly, Buliwyf announcedtheir new plan, to attack the wendol at their core, Mother Wendol. They would goto the cliff above the cave and climb down, taking the back entrance in. Fromthere they would attack the wendol when they least expected it and hopefullykill their leader. Upon arrival at the cliff, Ibn knew he was in for somethingextreme, just climbing down the cliff was something he thought would bring himto his death.
One by one, the Northmen went down the cliff, with only the rockyshore below. Finally they reached the cave and attacked. After many wendol hadbeen killed, Buliwyf went for the mother wendol. He stabbed her many times, allthe while Ibn fought off the other wendols.
No matter how many times she wasstabbed, mother wendol would not fall. Finally Buliwyf struck with the fatalblow and the mother wendol collapsed over dead. As Buliwyf turned around, theremaining warriors noticed a silver pin in his stomach that the mother wendolhad stuck into him. As he pulled it out, a gush of blood came with it, and afterbeing reassured of the slaves, horses and treasure he would be allowed to takeinto the afterlife, Buliwyf passed away. But the wendol came back.
They knew ofthe Northmens leaders death and took advantage of the Northmens weakness. As Ibnput it “no words can describe the final attack of the wendol in the mist, nowords will say what blood was spilled, what screams filled the thick air, whathorses and horsemen died in hideous agony” After the day passed, and thedevastation was taken care of, Ibn remained with the Northmen for several weeks. After a while he began to long for his homeland and told the Northmen of hissituation. With a warm farewell the Northmen bade Ibn-Fadlan goodbye and senthim off to Baghdad, home at last. “Eaters of the Dead” was written in firstperson and was written in a positive manner. Even with all the death anddestruction the tale had its good times.
Ibn conquered many demons, includingmost of his own. He had good times with the Northmen and learned so much, it wasa new experience and showed him a whole different point of view. The language inthe book was very formal and a lot of good vocabulary words were used. Dialectwas used in accordance with the Northmen tradition. The length of the book wasjust right, not to short or too long.
It kept my interest the whole time. Ithink the book was well written and interesting. It had a lot of historicalinformation but was extremely entertaining at the same time. I gained a betterperspective on the way of life for a culture I never knew I would learn anythingabout. Though they were different from us, the Vikings had many good attributesto their society and it intrigued me to learn about them.