ask the viking answer lady

Dear Viking Answer Lady:

I've heard that Michael Crichton wrote a book based on Ibn Fadlan's account of the Varangian Rus, describing Scandinavian traders in 900's Russia. However, I'm also aware that Crighton is a well-known fiction writer. Is Eaters of the Dead and the movie 13th Warrior really based on Ibn Fadlan's history?


Gentle Reader:

You are indeed correct to be sceptical. While undoubtedly Crichton had some familiarity with Ibn Fadlan's account, his well known novel Eaters of the Dead is totally fiction, mixing Ibn Fadlan with Beowulf and a bit of H.G. Wells' Morlocks added for flavor. There are, however, translations of Ibn Fadlan available, including the excerpts discussing Ibn Fadlan's adventures among the Rus as discussed below.

Questions and Answers About Eaters of the Dead and 13th Warrior

Since the release of 13th Warrior, the Viking Answer Lady's mail volume has tripled with questions inspired by the movie. Let me re-emphasize, and it doesn't seem I can do this enough,

Eaters of the Dead and 13th Warrior are FICTION!!

Let me take a moment to list the most common questions that I receive about the book or movie, and answer them here:

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