Michael Crichton is an excellent story teller and sophisticated writer with some famous works to his credit, including the famous Jurassic Park (1990). He sadly passed away Nov. 4, 2008. Jurassic Park was the first novel I had ever read, and so I am obviously biased by the effect that first-time novels have on young readers. I recently finished several other of Crichton's works of fiction, and have ranked them (best first) according to my liking.
- Eaters of the Dead (1976). I've always been attracted to tales of the Middle East. Though this story takes place in the far north of Scandinavia, it's told by an Arab Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an emmisary sent by the Caliph of Baghdad. The story is a collection Ibn Fadlan's adventures among the Norseman, whose culture he finds barbaric but fascinating. Ibn Fadlan explores a Viking culture centered around sex, war, and social dominance. Michael Crichton puts it together perfectly.
- Pirate Latitudes (2009). This story narrates the risky expedition of rough seafaring 'privateers'. Pirate Latitudes has all the elements that made Eaters of the Dead a great adventure, but set centuries later in the lush islands of the southern Caribbean. To summarize in keywords: seamanship, treachery, greed, colonial rule, capture, escape, seduction. This book published posthumously, but there is evidence that Crichton had been writing Pirate Latitudes since the 1970s! It's fun to wonder why Crichton had delayed publication for so long. Some critics have argued that the book was underdeveloped (see comments here). But, I really liked it anyway.
- The Andromeda Strain (1969).
- Rising Sun (1992)
- The Great Train Robbery (1975).
- The Terminal Man (1972).
- Congo (1980).
- Airframe (1996).