When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands....
- ISBN-13: 9780375826689
- ISBN-10: 0375826688
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: August 2003
- Dimensions: 9.31 x 6.31 x 1.63 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.71 pounds
- Page Count: 528
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
A boy and his dragon
Kids are fantasy literature's natural audience. After all, children are exposed to magic from the moment their little eyes are able to focus on a page and find a cow jumping over a moon or a velveteen rabbit that becomes real.
In a story that almost seems like a fairy tale itself, a young author named Christopher Paolini, only 19, has emerged with a fantasy novel of amazing depth and scope geared specifically to his own demographic. Eragon is both the title and the protagonist of Paolini's promised Inheritance trilogy. The story of a teenage boy who by happenstanceor perhaps designbecomes the partner of a dragon, the book is set in a place much like medieval Europe.
When Eragon's discovery and subsequent adoption of the young dragon Saphira results in danger and tragedy for his family and his town, he goes on a quest for vengeance with the help of a local storyteller named Brom. His is a world in which magic, while real, is feared, a fear based in large part on the ascendance to power of the evil lord of the land, Galbatorix, the last of the Dragonriders.
Fantasy writing is a tricky business; some authors slap on a thin coat of backdrop for their characters to parade against, and others lay on detail after excruciating detail. Paolini strikes a happy medium, showing wisdom beyond his years. He gives his world and his characters depth and reality. The dragon Saphira is a sentient creature equipped with both intellect and instinct. She and Eragon bond mentally, and their relationship deepens as the novel progresses. The old man Brom is an enigma; he serves as Eragon's guide and teacher, and there's more to him than meets the eye.
Paolini started this novel when he was only 15. He self-published it, and when the son of author Carl Hiaasen happened upon a copy, the book soon found its way to Random House. Four years later, Paolini is at the starting line for what may be a long writing career. Eragon is an exciting beginning.
James Neal Webb writes from Nashville.