Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness is a book that certainly gives an outside perspective during the late Viking Age and post Viking Age I feel is excellent to read about. This book was even the inspiration for Michael Crichton’s 1976 novel Eaters of the Dead and the film The 13th Warrior.
Between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, Arab explorers journeyed widely and frequently into the far north, crossing territories that now include Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Ibn Fadlan’s chronicles of his travels are one of the most important documents from the period, and this illuminating new translation offers insight into the world of the Arab geographers and the medieval lands of the far north. Based on an expedition to the upper Volga River in 922 AD, Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness provides a rare and valuable glimpse of Viking customs, dress, table manners, religion, and sexual practices, including the only eyewitness account ever written of a Viking ship cremation.