1976 "First Edition" stated; "The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in A.D. 922"; Alfred A Knipf publishers, New York; hardbound in brown and black boards with gilt stamp design on cover and gilt stamp lettering along spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket quite good with minimal ageing or wear.
Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922 (later republished as The 13th Warrior to correspond with the film adaptation of the novel) is a 1976 novel by Michael Crichton. The story is about a 10th-century Muslim Arab who travels with a group of Vikings to their settlement.
Crichton explains in an appendix that the book was based on two sources. The first three chapters are a retelling of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's personal account of his actual journey north and his experiences with and observations of Vikings (probably from Sweden). The remainder is based upon the story of Beowulf.
The novel is set in the 10th century. The Caliph of Baghdad, Al-Muqtadir, sends his ambassador, Ahmad ibn Fadlan, to the king of the Volga Bulgars. He never arrives but is instead conscripted by a group of Vikings to take part in a hero's quest to the north. Ahmad ibn Fadlan is taken along as the thirteenth member of their group to comply with a soothsayer's requirement for success. There they battle with the 'mist-monsters', or 'wendol', a tribe of vicious savages (suggested by the narrator to have been possibly relict Neanderthals) who go to battle wearing bear skins.
Eaters of the Dead is narrated as a scientific commentary on an old manuscript. The narrator describes how the story told is a composite of extant commentaries and translations of the works of the original story teller. There are several references during the narration to a possible change or mistranslation of the original story by later copiers. The story is told by several different voices: the editor/narrator, the translators of the script and the original author, ibn Fadlan, as well as his descriptions of stories told by others. A sense of authenticity is supported by occasional explanatory footnotes with references to a mixture of factual and fictitious sources.