Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton
Published in 1976 by Alfred A. Knopf

Published in 1998 by Ballantine Books

The year is A.D. 922. A refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Bagdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors who are journeying to the barbaric North. He is appalled by their Viking customs — the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness . . . their cold-blooded human sacrifices.

But it is not until they reach the depths of the Northland that the courtier learns the horrifying and inescapable truth: He has been enlisted by these savage, inscrutable warriors to help combat a terror that plagues them — a monstrosity that emerges under cover of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh . . .

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsThe story behind this novel appears in an essay in the paperback edition. The short version is, I wrote Eaters of the Dead 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. I’m quite pleased with the movie (13th Warrior), which I think captures the feeling of the novel very well.

Michael Crichton Signature

Eaters of the Dead Audiobook

Now in Stores

Eaters of the Dead - Brilliance Audio

Eaters of the Dead by: Michael Crichton

Performed by: Simon Vance

Unabridged recording: Run time: 5 hours

Media Options: CD, Download, MP3-CD

From the Official Archives

Eaters of the Dead Book Cover

This is an early cover design for Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead.

Eaters of the Dead Promo Material

Selected Passages

From the very first “Official Website”, Michael Crichton hand-picked these passages from Eaters of the Dead:

From Eaters of the Dead:
These Northmen are by their own accounting the best sailors in the world, and I saw much love of the oceans and waters in their demeanor. Of the ship there is this: it was as long as twenty-five paces, and as broad as eight and a little more than that, and of excellent construction, of oak wood. Its color was black at every place. It was fitted with a square sail of cloth and trimmed with sealskin ropes. The helmsman stood upon a small platform near the stern and worked a rudder attached to the side of the vessel in the Roman fashion. The ship was fitted with benches for oars, but never were the oars employed; rather we progressed by sailing alone. At the head of the ship was the wooden carving of a fierce sea monster, such as appears on some Northmen vessels; also there was a tail at the stern. In water this ship was stable and quite pleasant for traveling, and the confidence of the warriors elevated my spirits.

From Eaters of the Dead:
Now the night was fully black, and the warriors of Buliwyf awaited the coming of the dragon Korgon. All eyes were turned towards the hills, now lost in the midst of night. Buliwyf himself strode the length of the fortifications, carrying his great sword Runding, speaking low words of encouragement to his warriors. All waited quietly, save one, the lieutenant Ecthgow. This Ecthgow is a mast of the hand axe; he had set up a sturdy post of wood some distance from him, and he practiced the throw of his hand axe to this wooded post, over and again. Indeed, many hand axes had been given him; I counted five or six clipped to his broad belt, and others in his hands, and scattered on the ground around him.

From Eaters of the Dead:
Praise be to God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Lord of the Two Worlds, and blessing and peace upon the Prince of Prophets, our Lord and Master Muhammad, whom God bless and preserve with abiding and continuing peace and blessings until the Day of the Faith!

This is the book of Ahmad ibn-Fadlan, ibn-al-Abbas, ibn-Rasid, ibn-Hammad, a client of Muhammad ibi-Sulayman, the ambassador from al-Muqtadir to the King of the Saqaliba, in which he recounts what he saw in the land of the Turks, the Hazars, the Saqilba, the Baskirs, the Rus, and the Northmen, of the histories of their kings and the way they act in many affairs of their life.

Book Covers

Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - China

Eaters of the Dead
China – 1997
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Netherlands

Eaters of the Dead
Netherlands – 1977
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Hungary

Eaters of the Dead
Hungary – 1977
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Czechoslovakia

Eaters of the Dead
Czechoslovakia – 1994
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Spain

Eaters of the Dead
Spain – 1993
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Italy

Eaters of the Dead
Italy – 1994
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - France

Eaters of the Dead
Denmark – 1987
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - France

Eaters of the Dead
France – 1982
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - Japan

Eaters of the Dead
Japan – 1980
Eaters of the Dead Book Cover - United States

Eaters of the Dead
United States – 2009


13th Warrior based on the novel by Michael Crichton

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsI changed the title [from Eaters of the Dead] because the original was just too disturbing for many people. Changing the title was my idea; the studio didn’t want to do it. But I felt we should. During filming, people would say to me, “What are you working on?” and I would say, Eaters of the Dead. And they would say, “What? What’s it called?” and then when I repeated the title for them, most of the people said, “I don’t want to see that” or “Ugh, I’ll skip that one.” They didn’t even ask what it was about, they were just put off by the title. The other thing was that people couldn’t remember the title. “What is it? The People Eaters?” That meant to me that there was a problem with the title. So we changed it.

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The 13th Warrior

Release Date: August 27, 1999
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: John McTiernan
Screenwriters: William Wisher and Warren Lewis
Based on the novel by: Michael Crichton
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
Starring: Antonia Banderas, Diane Verona, Omar Sharif

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own Words

Jerry [Goldsmith] has written something like 250 film scores, and now that he is 70 years old has decided to “cut back” to 5 scores a year! Not long ago he gave a concert in Carnegie hall, and there in the audience were all his producers and directors.

I myself have done a half-dozen projects with him, going back thirty years, and I believe the explanation for his great success is extremely simple: Jerry is a musical genius, and he works hard. Of course, Jerry’s been my good friend for many years, and sometimes I think I’m too impressed with him, and hold him in too high regard. A while back, I was looking at the beginning of The Edge and thought, “Hey, whoever wrote this score is terrific, too.” And then the credits start: it’s Jerry. I had a similar thought as Air Force One, began, thinking wow, this score is great, percussive and clean and tense. But that was Jerry, too.

As for his score for The 13th Warrior, it’s all that I ever hoped for—and just what I expected.