If you're a fan of Beowulf and you haven't checked out Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, you need to add it to your reading list! It's a fairly direct adaptation of the mythology, although instead of making it more fantastic, Crichton pared it down to a ... believable account.
In the afterword in the novel Crichton gives a few comments on its origin. A good friend of Crichton's was giving a lecture on the 'Bores of Literature.' Included in his lecture was an argument on Beowulf and why it was simply uninteresting. Crichton stated his views that the story was not a bore and was, in fact, a very interesting work. The argument escalated until Crichton stated that he would prove to him that the story could be interesting if presented in the correct way.
It's been a while since I read it, but I very much enjoyed the story. (Of course, I enjoyed Beowulf, too, but then I am a lit nerd.)