Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

History has a lot to offer in terms of our ancient culture and traditions. Every country had their own society which gradually led to this day. Author Michael Crichton in his book "Eaters of the Dead" talks about one such kingdom and time which has been lost in time and needs some light to be shed. So is this good enough to ring bells in curious minds? Let's find out. 

In A. D. 922 Ibn Fadlan, the representative of the ruler of Bagdad, City of Peace, crosses the Caspian sea and journeys up the valley of the Volga on a mission to the king of Saqaliba. Before he arrives, he meets with Buliwyf, a powerful Viking chieftain who is summoned by his besieged relatives to the North. Buliwyf must return to Scandinavia and save his countrymen and family from the monsters of the mist. Join them on their stunning adventure to the mysterious land where the day's length does not equal the night's. . . where after sunset the sky burns in streaks of colour. . . . . where Buliwyf and his band of brothers must lock in mortal combat with the dark, hairy brutes who threaten to empty the land.

First look at the title and the cover and history is written all around. The warrior on the cover image and the title point out towards the glorious days of a kingdom and the troubles it had to lay waste on their way to power. The blurb talks about a man and his account of the period which best describes the story. The concealing of the chunk of the story has been done well and curiosity awaits the readers. 

The story is the first hand account of Ibn Fadlan a messenger of peace sent by the king across the seven seas to the land of tribes and unknowns. Their fear and their world different from the others. It's the land of Vikings and the North men. Their customs and rituals far from perfect and orthodox. Their lives spent in fear and brute force. Their families and subjects living under constant subjugation of sacrifice and filth. Strangers and others are not welcome at all. So how does peace prevails and how two kings lock horns for the battle of glory in the land of North Men? Will the Vikings prevail over their bitter rivals?  Will Ibn Faldan live to tell the tale? That's what the story is all about. 

The lock, stock and barrel component of the story is set in the trigger mode. The explosive start and the vivid descriptions from the olden manuscripts is a master stroke in itself. The unknown world of Vikings and North men and the lesser tell tale of their history has been shed some light upon. The book is a witness to a lot of unimaginable and gory events which can make one shiver and shudder. The unspoken world of that time has been given a large amount of space in the book. The book capitalizes on the worldly sources of old times and gives it a maverick touch. 

The downside of the book is it's dull narration towards the end and the lack of explanation of certain events in detail. The book could have been narrated in a wider and a better scope which it completely ignores upto a certain point. It lacks depth which is a sore point. 

All in all for those who have read about Vikings and the North men believe in their customs and riches it's an enlightenment source. The book contains important information regarding the same though with limitations. It's not an all out perfect account of those glorious days but enough to keep readers and their curious buds busy. A tale to relive. 


3 OUT OF 5

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