A cultured diplomat joins a band of savage warriors in time to meet an even more fearsome enemy in this historical adventure. In 922 A.D., Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is a Muslim emissary from Baghdad en route to meet with the King of Saqaliba when he is captured by a gang of Vikings. While Ibn and his people are intelligent and well-mannered, the Vikings are a rowdy and sometimes unpleasant lot, with an unquenchable appetite for food, alcohol, and women. However, in time he develops an understanding and respect for the Viking warriors and is welcomed into their society by their leader, Buliwyf. However, Ibn must now join them as they return to their homeland once they receive word of an invasion by a huge pack of bloodthirsty invaders who will destroy and eat anything in their path -- including the flesh of the men they have killed. The 13th Warrior was based on the book Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, which was in turn adapted from tales of Viking folklore.
by Mark Deming synopsis