Eifelheim

by

Author: Michael Flynn
Title: Eifelheim
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication date: 2006
Number of pages: 316
Geographical setting: Oberhochwald, Germany & United States
Time period: 1340s & modern time
Plot summary: Set in 14th century plague ravaged Europe and modern day America, Michael Flynn’s novel Eifelheim tells of the story a German priest, Dietrich who must help guide his people contend with the Black Plague, which is slowly encircling his small town. If this were not enough, Dietrich contends with the new inhabitants of just outside of Eifelheim, the grasshopper-like, alien Krenken. Following parallel to this storyline in modern times is Tom, a historian, and girlfriend, Sharon, a theoretical physicist, who are trying to discover what happened to the village of Eifelheim, which has long since disappeared. Despite the 700 year distance in the two stories, Eifelheim asks age old questions such as science and faith, as well as the very definition of what it is to be human.
Subject headings: Villages — Germany, Aliens (Insectoid), Plague
Appeal: compelling, engrossing, intriguing, vivid characters, historical details, unhurried, bittersweet, engaging, poignant
Three terms that best describe the book: Philosophical, Well-Developed, and Timeless

Similar authors and works:
Fiction:
Taylor Anderson’s Maelstrom is the final book in the Destroyermen Trilogy, following Mathew Reddy and his crew, the U.S.S. Walker. Reddy and his new allies, the Lemurians, must defeat the reptilian Grik to save the world. Like Eifelheim this work deals with humans conflicting/coexisting with aliens.
Christopher Anvils’ The Trouble With Humans covers a group of aliens with better technology then the human race and could easily take over the Earth. However, humans and their planet are a mystery to the aliens who do not understand the inhabitants and nature of the Earth. This book also looks at human/alien interaction.
Alan Dean Foster’s Quofum, is about an space expedition to the planet Quofum and its mysterious inhabitants. This is part of the Pip and Flinx saga that deals with a group of scientists’ dealings with the inhabitants of Quofum. One of the common themes shared by Eifelheim and Quofum is the human’s first contact with extraterrestrials.

Non-Fiction:
John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, The Most Devastating Plague of All Time. Kelly’s work discusses the Plague and the grip it had over Europe. The Plague is a underlying slowly becoming a central theme on Eifelheim, as the Black Death encircles the little village.
David Patten’s Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51. Journalist David Patten chronicles his investigation into the happenings and sightings in Roswell and Area 51. Patten tries to find the truth through interviews and research. Patten’s work ties in with Eifelheim’s theme of possible human/alien contact.
Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Diamond examines various societies through time to see how they failed and what they could have done to survive. Diamond also discusses current societies and discusses how they can solve their problems based off of failures of past societies. Like Tom in Eifelheim, Diamond examines lost societies, trying to find out what happened to them.

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