Book Report The 13Th Warrior Essay, Research Paper
The 13th Warrior
Ahmed Ibn Fadlan is an Arab courtier who is sent to the barbaric north because he was seduced by a merchant’s wife and was sent on an errand by the Caliph as a punishment. Soon, the Arab leaves the City of Peace and starts his travels to the city of Yiltawar.
Soon, though, Ibn Fadlan, the pages and guides encounter trouble with the Oguz Turks, but escape death and continue their travels. When Ibn Fadlan is traveling along the Volga River, he comes into contact with the Norsemen, or the Vikings. He describes them as gigantic people carrying broad swords, axes, and daggers. The Northmen’s leader, Wyglif had died, and a young noble named Buliwyf was chosen to be the new leader. Then, one of Buliwyf’s kin, Wulfgar entered the camp and informed Buliwyf of a dread and unnamed terror that was terrorizing his father, King Rothgar, and his kingdom. Then the Angel of Death came in, and stated that Buliwyf and 12 other men had to go help, but the 13th warrior had to be foreign. It was stated that Ibn Fadlan was to go with the Vikings on their quest to save King Rothgar’s kingdom.
The 12 other warriors Ibn Fadlan were traveling with were, of course, Buliwyf the leader, Ecthgow, Higlak, Herger, Skeld, Weath, Rethel, Roneth, Halga, Helfdane, Edgtho, and Haltaf. Ibn Fadlan struggled at first to understand his comrades’ Norse tongue but eventually after the long journey he learned to recognize and speak a little of it. The Northmen often made fun of Ibn Fadlan and his “clean ways” and his one god, Allah. The Vikings believed that there were many gods, including the all-powerful Odin who helped them in battle. During the long voyage, Ibn Fadlan befriends Herger, who can translate for him. After resting at the encampment at Trelburg, they depart.
Upon arriving to their destination of the kingdom of Rothgar in the land of the Venden, they first enter a large hut filled with rotting, decapitated bodies of men, women, and children whose bodies were gnawed and chewed on. The men go to King Rothgar’s castle and are informed about the terrible monsters of the mist, or the Wendols.
Ibn Fadlan and the men have a number of battles with the Wendols, and are very unsuccessful, suffering casualties and gaining nothing. Among the battles, the Wendols attacked mainly by ambush or the deadly glowworm dragon Korgon that gets its name from the Wendols on horseback with their torches. Buliwyf decides to attack the Wendols at their dwelling, but finds them missing. The men finally seek counsel from the dwarfs, who are considered magical, and the dwarfs tell them to kill the mother of the Wendols. Leading Ibn Fadlan and his men to the Thunder Caves, Buliwyf ambushes the mother and kills her, but not without getting wounded first.
The weakened Wendols attack one last time at the castle, but not without killing Buliwyf, their mother’s murderer. Ibn Fadlan then starts to return to his homeland when the manuscript abruptly ends.
Michael Crichton’s, The 13th Warrior, previously published as, Eaters of the Dead, occurred around the year 922 AD.
The story takes place in such places as Baghdad, Iraq, in which the main character originates, to other places such as along the Volga River in present-day Russia. Other places include the military camp Trelburg in present-day Denmark, to the kingdom of Rothgar, in the land of Venden, located around Scandinavia, where most of the book takes place.
Many historical events were taking place in the 10th century in the settings of, The 13th Warrior. In Iraq, the Islamic world had begun to fragment into separate kingdoms called caliphates, and the most powerful caliphate was centered in Baghdad. During these times Baghdad was considered the City of Peace, and the center of one of the great flowerings of human knowledge. In Scandinavia at the time, the Vikings embarked on a career of pillage and conquest. The Vikings conquered many places including the Baltic regions, Byzantium, and built fortresses in Russia.
The locations of the settings in, The 13th Warrior, mainly Iraq and Scandinavia, are vastly different. The northern part of Iraq is full of mountains. The southern portion forms a vast plain, containing the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. West of the Euphrates River, the land rises gradually to meet the Syrian Desert. Scandinavia is rugged, containing hills and dunes. The climate there averages 0. C, and the oceans surrounding it are frigid cold. The people of the two lands, Iraq & Scandinavia, are complete opposites. The Muslims of Iraq are clean, sensible people who worship only one god, Allah. The Norsemen of Scandinavia are as follows, according to the main character of this book, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan: “They are the filthiest race that God ever created. They don’t wipe themselves after going to stool, or wash themselves after nocturnal pollution, any more than if they were wild asses.”
Overall, the historic era of, The 13th Warrior, seemed like a time of change and expansion extending and spreading the cultures of the Iraqi Muslims and the Vikings.
The 13th Warrior was a great historical-fiction novel that gave an idea of what Viking culture was like, as well as the clash with Arab culture. Michael Crichton makes the book more interesting because Ibn Fadlan is the exact opposite of the Vikings, with whom he stays. It was fun to read because Ibn Fadlan is appalled by their barbaric customs because the Norsemen are uncivilized while he is a civilized Arab. Many contrasts are evident throughout the story. The best thing about this book was that it was never boring because of the constant change in the subject they were talking about and the suspenseful action and battles. I would definitely recommend this book because it gives a great look into the Viking culture as well as Arab culture while being very entertaining.