When considering my pick for the best action movie I had to include, The 13th Warrior. It is a great Viking movie; but it can’t match the book.
Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead (The 13th Warrior) gives an in-depth view of Viking life, customs and beliefs that was unable to be portrayed in a two-hour movie.
The back cover of the Ballantine Books (NY) paperback best describes the story:
“In the year A.D. 933, a refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Bagdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors on their journey to the barbaric North. He is appalled by Viking customs – the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness, their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But only in the depths of the Northland does he learn the horrifying truth: He has been enlisted to combat a terror that comes under cover of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh…”
EATERS OF THE DEAD is Crichton’s take of the story of Beowulf. In the afterthought Crichton proposed that the terror’s that come by night were perhaps a colony of Neanderthal that had, in their isolated location, survived into the first millennium.
Check your library or look for this book at a used book store or order used from Amazon – it is a great read worth the price.