Eragon

Paperback | April 26, 2005

byChristopher Paolini

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Perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings, the New York Times bestselling Inheritance Cycle about the dragon rider Eragon has sold over 35 million copies and is an international fantasy sensation.


Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

A New York Times Bestseller

A USA Today Bestseller

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

A Book Sense Bestseller

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From Our Editors

Junior Booklover Contest Winner Bobby, 15, from Vancouver, BC After finding a mysterious blue stone, Eragon is throttled into a new life entirely. The stone, he later discovers, is in fact not a stone at all, but is that of legends; a dragon egg. The egg hatches, and a dazzling creature, complete with piercing blue eyes and shimme...

From the Publisher

Perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings, the New York Times bestselling Inheritance Cycle about the dragon rider Eragon has sold over 35 million copies and is an international fantasy sensation.Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient...

From the Jacket

A #1 New York Times Bestseller2004 Book Sense Book of the YearA USA Today BestsellerA #1 Publishers Weekly BestsellerA Wall Street Journal BestsellerA Book Sense Bestseller“Full praise to Eragon, and I want more! A winner . . . tip of the hat to young master Paolini.”—Anne McCaffrey, author of The Dragonriders of Pern series“Christophe...

Christopher Paolini’s abiding love of fantasy and science fiction inspired him to begin writing his debut novel, Eragon, when he graduated from high school at fifteen after being homeschooled all his life. Both Eragon and Eldest, the second book in the Inheritance cycle, became instant New York Times bestsellers. Christopher is current...

other books by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance Cycle 4-book Trade Paperback Boxed Set (eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance)
Inheritance Cycle 4-book Trade Paperback Boxed Set (era...

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Inheritance
Inheritance

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Brisingr
Brisingr

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see all books by Christopher Paolini
Format:PaperbackDimensions:528 pages, 8.19 × 5.5 × 1.06 inPublished:April 26, 2005Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375826696

ISBN - 13:9780375826696

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Been years since I first read this book and I still love it.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Teacher Students are mesmerized by the story. I think everyone secretly desires to have the power to change the world for the better. Christopher Paolini has done a masterful job of showing how difficult it is to tread the line between ego and true goodness and the relationship between Eragon and the storied character of dragons is always compelling and hugely readable. Great book, great series!
Date published: 2014-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Changed my life Before I read this book I hated reading. Now, I can't stop reading. This is the best book I have ever read and it changed my life. Everyone should read this
Date published: 2014-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Asst. Manager A very well written book. I'm looking forward to the other books in this series.
Date published: 2014-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Book Great read, I think that everyone should be able to read this book, but there is to much violence for little kids
Date published: 2014-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely brilliant Love the whole series it is interesting and addicting! Would definitely recommend to anyone!
Date published: 2014-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Absolutely adore Christopher paolini for making this book, and all the rest of the series. Definitely a great book to read, lots of action and adventure
Date published: 2013-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good introduction to fantasy books Let me start my saying that this is not a bad book. I can see this book being engaging and exciting to first time fantasy readers and young teenagers. However, as a fantasy text it is a predictable and somewhat contrived 'high fantasy' world and even plot. The writing mechanics are sometimes obvious, which I personally found detracted from my overall enjoyment, and the characters are largely two-dimensional. That having all been said, Eragon is still a fairly enjoyable book and worth checking out.
Date published: 2013-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Adventurous Tale Great book, full of adventure. Follow Eragon as he is thrust into a world of magic and is forced to face challenges he could not even conceive to have existed.
Date published: 2013-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid first book A very solid and well planned beginning to a great series.
Date published: 2013-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy to read and get into. It's mostly for teenagers. Good story, looks like nothing new but still it's fun to read and I've enjoyed the characters. It's also fun to know there's 3 more books in this series. If you like dragons,medieval,monsters,magic,knights etc...you will enjoy Eragon. DO NOT BE LIKE ME and say...Argh forget it,,,, i've seen the movie.... This is the first book-movie that I've seen with a COMPLETE different story. The movie is FAR FAR FAR from the book. There's so many differences and it's way better too in the book. So enjoy reading it.....
Date published: 2013-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon This is the best book ever!! Just the basis of it was exciting, and then when the farm was destroyed it gave eragon more to fight for!!! If you are looking to by this book it is definitely worth it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2013-05-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from What to say... I read it, and it was nice. Interesting, really, because all the while I was reading this, I kept thinking, have I read this before? Why does it seem so familiar? And it hit me, Lord of the Rings? Star Wars? Upon further consideration, I see characters that are too similar, a plot that looks suspiciously like Star Wars, and names either taken straight out of the text or with some letters switched around. It's like Star Wars plays out in Middle- Earth. Is it merely coincidence? Ignoring all that, the book itself is written poorly. With excessive flowery, unnecessary descriptions that happen all too often, leaving one to begin skimming the page, poor character development, and several inconsistencies, it is distracting and off-putting to the reader. Believe me when I say that he used four paragraphs describing the elves and their weaponry. "Elegantly slanted eyebrows" do not move the story forward. (Eragon, prologue) Words that could have been spent elsewhere. But really, you can't expect much when it was written by a 15-year-old and when it was published by his parents, and it is easy to be be influenced by such works, it wasn't Paolini's intention either, every author is to some extent. All that being said, it's a lot better than what most 15-year-olds can do, it's impressive and Paolini obviously has an innate skill for writing and the best part of Eragon, really, the whole Inheritance Cycle, is that it's much more fast-paced than LOTR. It's an easier read, geared towards young adults (or readers who are ignorant of/ too young for LOTR and Star Wars) but definitely worth trying if you're into fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it's a respectable book/series, and I'd recommend it too.
Date published: 2013-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No Words. I am in awe of Christopher Paolini's amazing series.Venturing in to the world of Eragon is one of the greatest books choices of all time. Follow him through fighting, despair and romance of a sort. Eragon was a book I couldn't put down. There are no words to describe this book other than breathtaking!
Date published: 2012-07-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Fell short of expectations As an adult who does enjoy youth fantasy I had high hopes for this book after all the reviews but it unfortunatly fell short of my expectations. I found the book very slow to get into and it spent at first more time sitting on my table rather then being read. I will give it credit that it does pick up towards the end. I found that the book generally lacked in depth character development and that the characters didn't evolve throughout the story. I also had minor issues with the language. Although written predominatly in a modern language tone the author would randomly insert more medival phrases that felt out of place. As a "PG" adventure I still think this book would appeal to a younger audience. I just felt it lacked depth which made it hard to relate to the characters or make this created world believable.
Date published: 2012-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good.... I found "Eragon" to be a fairly decent read. For an amateur writer who was just beginning his career when he started the book Paolini does fairly well, although it is a bit hard to get into the story at first. Once you do get into the story though, it steadily becomes a more interesting and engaging read.I find that some fantasy writers really excel when describing battles and fights, and it seems that Paolini is a good example of this,his talent really begins to shine through near the end of the book, where there is more fighting involved.Even though the writing leading up to the climax is not amazing, it is still interesting to see Paolini's progress and growth as a writer. If you found that you did not like the first book very much and merely found it OK, then I suggest you read the sequel,"Eldest",as it is much more intelligently written.
Date published: 2012-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not for everyone Personally I loved the loved the book but that is because I'm a fantasy fan. That being said obviously I've read LOTR and right now everything else will fall short. I mean you just cannot create a new world, with elves, dragons, orcs (or orc like creatures) after it was already created once. I was very skeptical about Eragon even after hearing many good reviews ( or after hearing all of them). After I finished the book I thought that it was for a good reason. Even tough the story was original everything else felt familiar. I gave Eragon 5 stars because when you forget all the other fantasy noves you ever read it's a really amazing story to be part of. I didn't want it to finish.
Date published: 2010-12-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unsatisfied I heard many good reviews about this book and maybe my expectations were too high. I just kept hoping it would get better and it never did. The story was ok but I think it could have been more exciting...It's about dragons come on! There are definitely better fantasy books out there. I might have enjoyed it more in elementary school. Perhaps I need to read the other ones before I give a proper opinion.
Date published: 2008-10-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Terrible This book came to me, highly recommended, and it severly let me down. For someone who is well read in the fantasy genre, this just seemed like a collaboration of a bunch of different stories. The whole mental connection between rider and dragon..."Dragon Riders of Pern" anyone? The Urucs remind me of orcs from "Lord of the Rings" or the trollocs from "The Wheel of Time" series. P.S. Is it just me or does every fantasy world have a mountain range named "the Spine of the World"?
Date published: 2008-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding A great book for Tolkien fans. Paolini has written one of the best fantasy novels I have read since Lord of the Rings. The fact he wrote this book at the age of 16 is astonishing. Please don't think this is just another fantasy like others in the genre that are punted out every 5 or 6 months with no individuality. I believe he has given the genre a much needed boost in the arm with creative spirit. Looking forward to reading his other books "Eldest" and "Brisingr".
Date published: 2008-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Whether your a child, or an adult, you will LOVE this book! Please did not judge this book on the movie (which did not do it justice) I was amazed that Christopher Paolini was only a teenager when he wrote it! This is a wonderful adventure for young and old alike...
Date published: 2008-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome I love fantasy books and this was was no exception. Definately not a childrens book. My only disappointment is that I saw the movie first. So my own imagination wasn't able to creat the world.
Date published: 2008-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Great!! I read the book before I even heard that they were making it into a movie. I enjoyed it very much. It was a good read and with the pronunciation at the pack of the book there was no need for guessing on how to say the characters name, or what they were saying or the meanings were. Very good book to read, would recommend it to any age. I'm currently 26 years old and just finished it, and just gave it to my dad for him to read and so far he is enjoying it.
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! This was an awesome book, I watched the movie and then someone told me the book was so much better I had to see for myself. After reading itI gave it to my mom and told her she has to read it. Needless to say, she loved it too.
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book for all ages The movie didn't do justice to this book. This was such a great book that both myself and my husband were fighting to read it and couldn't put it down. It takes a hold of you and a real page turner.
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from RIP OFF OF STAR WARS AND TOLKIEN CHARACTERS!!!!!!! I can't stand it. I mean yes ill read the last book and all, but i cant stand the plot. It's litteraly like Tolkien sneezed on Starwars, and Paolini just picked up the mess. -SPOILERS- I mean"Eragon! I am your Brother!" Murtagh screamed as he slowly jumped off of Thorn. "Eragon! Morzan is your father!" Murtagh nearly repeated as he laughed and inhaled so very ominously. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" Eragon cried as he grasped the collar of Saphira.
Date published: 2007-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inherit the awesome! In a land named Alagaësia, a young boy named Eragon discovers a strange blue stone while hunting. Little does he know that his new discovery is actually a dragon egg! Eragon is now forced into perilous adventures filled with fighting and sorcery. For he is the last Dragon Rider. This book is fantastic. It is the best fantasy novel out right now. The characters are amazing, especially Eragon. He is easy to relate to because he uses common sense to solve his problems. In the end it's a wonderful book. It's action, characters, and plot twists will have you reading it all in no time! Colten
Date published: 2007-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and Captivating I received this book in hardcover format for my birthday when it first came out and needless to say I was hooked. Back then I couldn't put the book down and it took me just under a week to finish it, but oh what a week. The story that Mr. Paolini weaves about Eragon and Saphira is one that will keep you guessing and wanting more. Great book for any age!
Date published: 2007-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning and Spellbinding! Eragon is a normal boy whose life is entirely transformed when he discovers a shiny blue stone one fateful night in the relentless forest of the deadly 'Spine.' Out of curiousity and a tinge of greed, Eragon instinctively decides to keep the beautiful stone, hoping it will one day sell for fortunes--He couldn't have been more right; fortunes is precisely what this stone is worth. For one frightening night, when Eragon is abruptly awakened from his sleep, he realizes that his treasured stone is hatching into a legendary dragon! He soon learns that he possesses the only dragon in all of Algaesia, and it is Eragon's sole duty to fulfil his position as a 'Dragon Rider.' As he embarks on a treacherous journey across the plains of Algaesia, the reader will find it virtually impossible to be drawn back out of the world of Eragon, dragons, and beautiful Algaesia. I found this book an extremely rewarding read, as it touched me like no other, providing endless possibilities and adventures all the same. With creativitiy and skill close to the extent of J.K. Rowling's works, Christopher Paolini has created a world that will engross generations of children and teens to come!
Date published: 2006-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad I had my doubts at first but later on I found this book interesting. There are mistakes here and there but for a young boy he is very good.
Date published: 2006-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from its awsome some people think that this book is a total waste of time but they are wrong... this book is full of mystery, adventure, and excitement. i loved this book and i cant waite to see what happends in the next two books. if i had to give one reason why i don't like this book it is that the print is too small!
Date published: 2006-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! This is a great book for mature readers who don't mind a long read.
Date published: 2006-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inherit a love for this first book! A great book from start to finish! Christopher Paolini pulls you into the book and lets you see and feel what's happening! Great for all ages!
Date published: 2006-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for all ages This book is great for adults or kids! With a good balance of love, friendship, fantasy, nd war this book satisfies the readers hunger. I absolutely loved this book as did everyone I know who's read it. I give this book a double thumbs up and encourage anyone who's considering to read this book to read it as well as the sequel!
Date published: 2006-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST READ!!!! eragon is an exteremely captivating book, couldnt put it down, a must read, many twists
Date published: 2006-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read the book, want to see the movie!!! this was a fantastic read with wonderfull depth, it had everything a first novel should have wonderfull charactor building and growth. Would love to have an audio version and waiting on the movie coming out in December 2006!
Date published: 2006-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! I found this story to be quite amazing. The way that all the little details work into all the twists and turns of the plot is fantastic. Once i started reading this book i couldn't put it down, i have even started to read it again. This is definately a trilogy that i will be keeping up with!
Date published: 2006-07-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This was a fairly good book. When I read this book i thought it was terrific but i would not read it a second time for a few reasons: 1. A couple of the chapters with Brom i could have done without, as they were very boring in certain parts. 2. I believe Mr Paolini could have included more detail throughout the book and i sometimes felt that he had just rushed through them. 3. Some chapters i could almost have pulled word for word from a Lord of The Rings book. 4. Lastly i believe some of the parts of the book were just too fantastical and not really believable. Considering your age Mr Paolini you did very well.
Date published: 2006-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome!! This book is great! I could not put it down, and when i did, i couldn't wait to get back to it! It had me crying and laughing throughout the book. I love books that have magic in them and this one ranks up in the top five on my list of favorite books! The main character Eragon participates in some pretty amazing situations and meets a variety of other creatures and characters that enrich the book even more! This is right alongside Harry Potter for me!
Date published: 2006-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beyond Amazing I've always been interested in fantasy and dragon tales - but this book takes it far beyond my imagination. Paolini has taken readers into an new world with this book, filled with wonder and mystery at every turn. Listed as a teen novel, this book can be read by children, teens and adults - I'm 18 and its one of my top choices for recommending books! Laugh, love and enjoy the thrilling adventure of Eragon and the Dragon Riders in this amazing book, continued on in Eldest.
Date published: 2006-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dragons, Elfs, Magic. Eragon is an extremely thrilling fantasy book, that will make you cry, laugh, and even scream. This book was mainly about a young 16 year old boy that finds an amazing object that changes his life forever. An amazing power is revealed as Eragon, his friend Brom and a few other allies make a long diffacult journey to get away from the empire. I think this book was a wonderful, exciting novel, that lots of fantasy loving readers would love to have. I liked this book because it was thrilling, sad, exciting, and magical. I love the ending Christopher Paolini gave the book, and I wouldn't change it. Reading this book made me feel more confident. I might have been closley related to Eragon if he wasn't in midevil times. I think this book would appeal to fantasy, and escape loving readers because it has lots of magic, fantasy creaters, amazing carecters, and traps. If I could change one thing about this novel I would make sure the names were less hard to pronounce. This book reminded me of another book series called Warriors; it reminded me of Warriors because it has lots of intense parts, and they both have wars. I would recomend this book to a higher reading level.
Date published: 2006-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing!!! For me, reading was never a task that i enjoyed. I could hardly ever find a book that made me not want to put it down. Eragon has changed my whole perspective on reading, it has taught me the joy in reading a great fantasy novel. Eragon is a book of great adventure, dragons, and magic. take my advice and read this book. Even if you dont enjoy reading, this book is for you!
Date published: 2006-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! Thia book was absolutely amazing! I could not put it down. The world of Eragon was easy to picture in your mind's eye. I read it so fast that it seemed like ages untill the next one came out. My best friend was also in awe. It was great! I can't wait for the third book.
Date published: 2006-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from perfect read this is one of the all time master peices of childrens lit i have ever read in my life time. it is full of mystery and adventure, and to think that the person who wrote it was 16!!! this is the best book you can read and i hope more people find the specialness in it too. nick rudolph
Date published: 2006-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book This was a great book, it was like a buch of great novel smashed into one. I started out skeptical (as I always am when reading new books) but quickly the book got exciting and I was wondering what was going to happen next, Christopher must have spent a long time coming up with this amazing novel, I can't wait until the sequel comes out in paperback.
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book!! Along with Eldest, these books are right up there with Harry Potter and The Edge Chronicles. Full to burst with suspence, and action coming out the ears. 10/10!!! Christopher Paolini writes like a pro, yet these are his first two books!!!
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An absolutely Great Fantasy! The Book has such a wonderful descriptiveness that you actually feel your there watching it all page after page. It's got magic, dragons, evil, destruction, love, family and friends. It keeps you definately wanting more.
Date published: 2006-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You have to read this Awsome, Amazing! It is my favourite book I have ever read! Read it!
Date published: 2006-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was awesome! Has the perfect balance of Fantasy Suspense and much more! And for all the people that think that its just a one or two star book that wrote a review just chill and go bug some one else. Again AMAZING! Favorite Character though is Orik! So this is a must read!
Date published: 2006-03-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from OK highly overrated.
Date published: 2006-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome ^^ This is an excellent book, a twister, unlike a vortex. When I started to read this, I got sucked into it! I advise all who buy this book to give a good rating. Afterall. It does rock, and it traps you in a twister. Reading for hours. If you truly want to have the thrill of reading this book, go into a quiet, lighted room. Read, and imagine ^^. Thats my advice to all of you buyers! Read the epologe first. It contains mighty information about some monster description.
Date published: 2006-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read After reading this book I wanted more! I went straight to reading this book to the second and i couldn't belive some of the twists and turns and mysteries. The start of this book is really good, but if yer reading it right now and are still on the start...Keep on reading because it gets way better!
Date published: 2006-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon I think it is awesome. I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy novels
Date published: 2006-01-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Start While many would say Christopher's writing style is an excellent one, I highly disagree. It's unseasoned and far too fast paced in certain areas and not enough in others. (His regular boring sessions of training with Brom being a key point of pains.) Keeping in mind he was only a teenager at the point of writing, I shall applaud this attempt. the battles were intense and kept me interested, Christopher is a semi-master on suspence. However, the mysteries he displays about the character's pasts are poorly introduced. I already knew who his father was before even finishing the first book. After reading the second, I found myself laughing that I was right. It was far too obvious to the keen eye, and it could have been someone so much less formulated. Overall, it's an enjoyable read for children. The genre of fantasy is indeed filled with this sort of story, they do tend to repeat themselves. Since it is to be expected, perhaps other aspiring authors will take heed of this and possibly change it in the near future. I will continue to read this triology, in hopes that Christopher will take care of those mistakes. -Sachi
Date published: 2006-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SOOOOOOO AMAAAAZIINNG! WOW! This book truely takes my breath away. I now understnad the meaning of that song. It was so good..I was caught up in my memory. In other words, there was a suspenseful twist of adventure and fantasy! Recommended to any book-loving kids!
Date published: 2005-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent This book is one of my favourite books its emmotional and its just awsome words cannot describe how great this book is. I think Paolini is a very talented auther and if I were to be a vote on best auther he would get mine.
Date published: 2005-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon I bought this book for my 9 year old son at the school book fair. Needing something to read one afternoon I picked up Eragon and could not put it down. I strongly recommend it for young and the young at heart. It was TERRIFIC!
Date published: 2005-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow. My little sister showed me this book ,and I figured that since I liked dragons, I would read it. Well, I was blown out of the water. This book is in the same level as Harry Potter. I can't wait for the sequel, nor for the movie that is coming out soon. Also, for those parents who think sheltering their child from a little fantasy violence will protect them from life, stick it up your nose. The evening news is more violent, the Bible itself has more profanity. (Sorry to the good religous people) This book is so incredible, I think it should be snuck into beds at night to be read. WOW!
Date published: 2005-10-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not that great Anyone else getting Terry Brooks vibes? The only thing that made me keep reading was Paolini's excellent writing style. The plot and characters are groaners with every seterotype you can think of: ophan boy saves world, dragon riders, mysterious mentor, elf girl, desturbed sidekick... ugh. The characters are totally untouchable and nothing in this book is very realistic... If you're any kind of fantasy reader you know that the plot has been used a thousand zillion times and it is DULL. I can only hope that Paolini comes up with something more original... With his amazing writing anything original would be a great read!!
Date published: 2005-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceeding This book is good! Even though I'm only on the first 40 or 50 pages, I'm already planning on buying Eldest. I hope there are a whole series coming soon! Say, what is the book after Eldest?
Date published: 2005-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whoever has not read this book you should its great read it if your into fantasy then buy it and read it and read it
Date published: 2005-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon As a reader I enjoy fantasy novels, and this is one of the best novels that has ever been written by a young writer. Paolini did an exellent job. I love the way the characters were so secretive, it kept me holding on and wanting to know the answers. All the characters were unique and just dismal. I enjoyed this novel to a great extent and have already began the 2nd and waiting for the 3rd to be released.
Date published: 2005-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spellbinding This book is a mix of Harry Potter magic with a bit of a twist and The Lord of the Rings put together to form an excellent book.
Date published: 2005-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting This book is difficult to put down...if you are interested in Fantasy books it is an interesting read. It is true that there are snippets of it that seem to be borrowed from Lord of the Rings or others but it doesn't seem to matter once you dragon has hatched. It is a compelling story and even more so for the fact that it was written by a 15 year old!! Good read.
Date published: 2005-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, solid debut This book was a pretty good debut for this author. I liked reading this book. It was a little on the cheesy side and it was also similar to many others in this genre. However, I am happy to say that it had a great plot and intrigueing characters. A friend told me that the ending was one the best he has read and left him wanting more. I agree with this because it was definetely a great cliffhanger. Great book; I reccomend this to anyone who is into fantasy stuff. :) !
Date published: 2005-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon: the awsomest book ever That book is great! its got romance, action, thrills and mystery; everything you could want in a book! Im always telling my friends that they have got to read it and i cant wait for the second one to come out!
Date published: 2005-08-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Flush, dead. This book took forever to take off, at page sixty he had just got the dragon egg, which does lead to the dragon, if you read the back cover. Nothing happens! Dullsville! good potential, but needs to start sooner.
Date published: 2005-08-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Terrible. This book is extremely difficult to finish because it’s so horrible. The vast majority of it is just rehashed from other fantasy books, but that's not the worst part of Eragon. The book would have been so much better if the characters weren't so dull. No matter what happens to them it's hard to care because they don’t seem real. I wouldn't mind that the plot has been done before if there were some original ideas along with some original characters.
Date published: 2005-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eldest will be so cool.... This is a great book! Paolini created a great fantasy world with dragons, dwarves, and evil emporers. I find it so interesting when I found out that the elf-women ERagon had seen in his dreams, was responsible for him getting the egg! The only problem is this book left you wanting to know what happend next.. I think everyone should at least TRY to read this book.
Date published: 2005-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!!! IT WAS THE BEST BOOK IF YOU DON'T READ IT YOUR REALLY MISSING OUT!! EVERYBODY READ IT
Date published: 2005-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Good not Quite Great I really enjoyed Eragon but found a lot of similarities to Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series. Can't wait to read Eldest. Hopefully it compares only to it self.
Date published: 2005-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon Eragon is one of the most wonderous, exciting, descriptive and captivating books Ive ever read! It was so wonderful, I couldnt wait until 'Eldest', the sequel was released! Its finally here, and I can only imagine what wonders Christopher Paolini will create this time.
Date published: 2005-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MOST AWESOMEST BOOK IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this book rocks,it's exciting, adventure, and dragons! *loves dragons* you got to check out this book,at the begining it's a bit slow, a bit of a breeze, but then it's so awesome it'll blow you away! nothing shall stop Eragon and Saphira from stoping the evil Galbotrix! i can't wait for the new book to come out, i'm even going to reserve a copy! and i never do that!
Date published: 2005-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book will be the best book in history!!!!! This is the best book I have ever read in all my life! Way better than Harry Potter. I literally dove into this book!! It was so cool. Of course my fave character is Saphira...oh and of course can't forget Eragon. I can't wait until Eldest comes out I'll read it all day and night, cause I couldn't even put the book Eragon down it was too good to be true! Hopefully more action to come in the book Eldest.OOHHH...I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2005-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Inheritance Series Eragon was a fine book, it was well written. Most people either dislike this book or adore it. I am with the few people amust us whom is in the center. Yes it was great and made you never wish it to finish. At times though I felt I was re-reading a previous book I had recently read. I do agree with most people and I shall say it is an excellent book and I recommend it for everyone. The only reason I gave it four stars was because it was very original I felt like I was reading Lord of the Rings. Ah well. I still say, EXCELLENT JOB!!! I still cannot wait to read Eldest though... this book is up with HP and LR and Series of Unfotunate Events.... I already pre-ordered Eldest. ^.^ I just didn't like the way the author used some other author's ideas. I am very confusing at times o.O WAY TO GO CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI!!! (SP?)
Date published: 2005-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masterpiece!!! Eragon is a wonderful, well written tale of a young boy who finds himself growing up and taking part in riveting adventures with the discovery of a dragon's egg that will change his life forever. Eragon is a must read for any Fantasy lover. Full of adventure, suspense and everything that a wonderful fantasy book should contain. Paolini is an excellent author in his first novel. I'm sure Eldest will be just as interesting and absolutely fantastic as the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy. You have to read Eragon!!!!
Date published: 2005-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon This absolutely has to be the best book I have read in my life and i have read alot of books! I can't wait until the next one comes out!!!!!
Date published: 2005-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon I read this book and it made me think wow. It has inspired me to write my own book, which i am currently working on. I thought it compared with probably my favorite author, David Eddings. Im now a very big fan of Christophers writing and I very badly want his next book to come soon. Please finish quickly. A great fan, Colin
Date published: 2005-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's the Best of the best! When I started reading this book, I just couldn't put it down until I finished. It's the most exciting book I've ever read, so good in fact, that I read it 21 times! I encourage all readers that haven't read this book, to read it now. 99.9% of the people will absoultley love this book after reading it. I can't wait for Eldest and Empire to come out.
Date published: 2005-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GrEaT BoOk This is a really good book about a boy names eragon and finds an egg. When the egg hatches he finds a blue dragon. Wanting to know more about the dragon, he figures out that him and his dragon are chosen to save the world. What i did not like about it was i wanted it to be longer, i could not put it down! And also i read it when it came out so i am STILL waiting for the Eldest (the newest book) to come out in Augest 2005..... Christifer Paoloni (i dont think i have Christifer spelled right) you made a great book and you have a talent for writing books......
Date published: 2005-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This is one of the best books I have ever read, and trust me, I've read a lot, all going from the Da Vinci Code, to Harry Potter. I can't wait until Eldest comes out, Eragon was such a great book, I'm sure Eldest will be too. To all you readers out there, who don't know what to read, I highly reccomend eragon, trust me, you'll enjoy it, no matter what age you are.
Date published: 2005-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the best book ever There are know words for how good this book is. I could not put it down. The best part is when the war breaks out. if your are look for a good medeviel book this is the one.
Date published: 2005-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heavily Influenced Epic While this book is not as poor as some say, it is also not the awesome, original book as exclaimed by some of the reviewers. A child, or someone not familiar with the fantasy genre, would be the only one to think the storyline of this book is a new concept. Typical orphan boy discovers only he has the power to save the world kind of plot. The writing is obviously heavily influenced by the author's favorite authors: Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Etc. I applaud Paolini's efforts, as the book was written in his mid teens (a very impressionable age), and I hope as he is now beyond that stage, that in his sequel 'Eldest' his writing has matured as well.
Date published: 2005-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eragon wow!! what a great book. it is the best book i have ever read. one of my friends was reading it and said it was good. pretty soon he lent the book to me and holy cow!!!!! it was awsome!!!!! i now have my own one and have read it over and over again. i have read the other reviews and some say that it is the worst book ever!!!! what liers!!!!!!!!!! when the Eldest comes out i will be first in line to get it!!!!!!! Nice one Chris!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2005-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the best book i ever read(^_^) this book has a gripping story line and loads of deatails clearly the best book u will ever read
Date published: 2005-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER How can people not see that this book was written so great i was glued to it it even got me into trouble because i wasnt doing my chores the best part was when Eragon slayed the Shade! ECCELeNT BOOK CHRIS!!
Date published: 2005-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AAAAAAAAWWWWWWSSSSOOOMMMMEEEEEE This is a great book!
Date published: 2005-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This book is AWESOME! at first i kept wondering why it kept popping up all over the place, but then i read it and it's GREAT! it don't get why a few people think it's boring... Because they're totally WRONG!
Date published: 2005-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT This book had me stuck to my couch for hours-i just could NOT put it down. I suggest it for all readers, especially those who love medieval fantasy-it's filled with magic, dragons, swords, and, and epic battles. INCREDIBLE book, i can't wait until Eldest is out!
Date published: 2005-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Watch out boys and girls!! an exciting new read with a combination of the magical harry potter and the irresistable dragon rider. This tale of a young boy who loses everything because of his pet dragon is admirable and breath taking. Its one of those books which you want to read over. BUY THIS BOOK ITS WORTH THE COST!. Fantasy lovers will be pleased.
Date published: 2005-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not too shabby Even though it reads like several authors all backed into one book, I recommend it to those who enjoy this genre of writing.
Date published: 2005-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It Im not really into fantasy books but I loved Harry Potter and thought I would Eragon a chance. I absolutely loved it! I couldnt put it down at all! Its definitely a book for all ages as well.
Date published: 2005-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Bad at All The book kept me interested right through to the end, even though I found the beginning a little slow and hard to read. The book flows relatively well even though it is divided into a whole bunch of little chapters. The plot in itself was concrete and I found very few discrepencies, the only thing was the timeline was hard to follow, you think a huge amount of time had to of passed and then the author gives you a time frame of which everything happened and it is almost unbelievable. All in all I read it in 2 days because I couldn't put it down, so that in itself says all the relevant stuff that needs to be said.
Date published: 2005-01-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Yuk. What a bad book! Why does everybody love it? Can't they see that it's poorly written? That it's not original in the slightest? That it's boring? I weep for the state of our nation when Eragon is as wildly successful and popular as it has been. The only reason I finished this book was because I was fooled into thinking it was THE GREATEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (as you will read in many of the reviews for it on this website, among other places), and shelled out a wad of cash to buy the hardcover. Please, for your own sake, do not be as easily conned as I was.
Date published: 2004-11-17

Extra Content

Read from the Book

DISCOVERYEragon knelt in a bed of trampled reed grass and scanned the tracks with a practiced eye. The prints told him that the deer had been in the meadow only a half-hour before. Soon they would bed down. His target, a small doe with a pronounced limp in her left forefoot, was still with the herd. He was amazed she had made it so far without a wolf or bear catching her.The sky was clear and dark, and a slight breeze stirred the air. A silvery cloud drifted over the mountains that surrounded him, its edges glowing with ruddy light cast from the harvest moon cradled between two peaks. Streams flowed down the mountains from stolid glaciers and glistening snowpacks. A brooding mist crept along the valley’s floor, almost thick enough to obscure his feet. Eragon was fifteen, less than a year from manhood. Dark eyebrows rested above his intense brown eyes. His clothes were worn from work. A hunting knife with a bone handle was sheathed at his belt, and a buckskin tube protected his yew bow from the mist. He carried a wood-frame pack.The deer had led him deep into the Spine, a range of untamed mountains that extended up and down the land of Alagaësia. Strange tales and men often came from those mountains, usually boding ill. Despite that, Eragon did not fear the Spine–he was the only hunter near Carvahall who dared track game deep into its craggy recesses. It was the third night of the hunt, and his food was half gone. If he did not fell the doe, he would be forced to return home empty- handed. His family needed the meat for the rapidly approaching winter and could not afford to buy it in Carvahall.Eragon stood with quiet assurance in the dusky moonlight, then strode into the forest toward a glen where he was sure the deer would rest. The trees blocked the sky from view and cast feathery shadows on the ground. He looked at the tracks only occasionally; he knew the way.At the glen, he strung his bow with a sure touch, then drew three arrows and nocked one, holding the others in his left hand. The moonlight revealed twenty or so motionless lumps where the deer lay in the grass. The doe he wanted was at the edge of the herd, her left foreleg stretched out awkwardly.Eragon slowly crept closer, keeping the bow ready. All his work of the past three days had led to this moment. He took a last steadying breath and–an explosion shattered the night.The herd bolted. Eragon lunged forward, racing through the grass as a fiery wind surged past his cheek. He slid to a stop and loosed an arrow at the bounding doe. It missed by a finger’s breadth and hissed into darkness. He cursed and spun around, instinctively nocking another arrow.Behind him, where the deer had been, smoldered a large circle of grass and trees. Many of the pines stood bare of their needles. The grass outside the charring was flattened. A wisp of smoke curled in the air, carrying a burnt smell. In the center of the blast radius lay a polished blue stone. Mist snaked across the scorched area and swirled insubstantial tendrils over the stone.Eragon watched for danger for several long minutes, but the only thing that moved was the mist. Cautiously, he released the tension from his bow and moved forward. Moonlight cast him in paleshadow as he stopped before the stone. He nudged it with an arrow, then jumped back. Nothing happened, so he warily picked it up. Nature had never polished a stone as smooth as this one. Its flawless surface was dark blue, except for thin veins of white that spiderwebbed across it. The stone was cool and frictionless under his fingers, like hardened silk. Oval and about a foot long, it weighed several pounds, though it felt lighter than it should have.Eragon found the stone both beautiful and frightening. Where did it come from? Does it have a purpose? Then a more disturbing thought came to him: Was it sent here by accident, or am I meant to have it? If he had learned anything from the old stories, it was to treat magic, and those who used it, with great caution.But what should I do with the stone? It would be tiresome to carry, and there was a chance it was dangerous. It might be better to leave it behind. A flicker of indecision ran through him, and he almost dropped it, but something stayed his hand. At the very least, it might pay for some food, he decided with a shrug, tucking the stone into his pack.The glen was too exposed to make a safe camp, so he slipped back into the forest and spread his bedroll beneath the upturned roots of a fallen tree. After a cold dinner of bread and cheese, he wrapped himself in blankets and fell asleep, pondering what had occurred.PALANCAR VALLEYThe sun rose the next morning with a glorious conflagration of pink and yellow. The air was fresh, sweet, and very cold. Ice edged the streams, and small pools were completely frozen over. After a breakfast of porridge, Eragon returned to the glen and examined the charred area. The morning light revealed no new details, so he started for home.The rough game trail was faintly worn and, in places, nonexistent. Because it had been forged by animals, it often backtracked and took long detours. Yet for all its flaws, it was still the fastest way out of the mountains.The Spine was one of the only places that King Galbatorix could not call his own. Stories were still told about how half his army disappeared after marching into its ancient forest. A cloud of misfortune and bad luck seemed to hang over it. Though the trees grew tall and the sky shone brightly, few people could stay in the Spine for long without suffering an accident. Eragon was one of those few–not through any particular gift, it seemed to him, but because of persistent vigilance and sharp reflexes. He had hiked in the mountains for years, yet he was still wary of them. Every time he thought they had surrendered their secrets, something happened to upset his understanding of them–like the stone’s appearance. He kept up a brisk pace, and the leagues steadily disappeared. In late evening he arrived at the edge of a precipitous ravine. The Anora River rushed by far below, heading to Palancar Valley. Gorged with hundreds of tiny streams, the river was a brute force, battling against the rocks and boulders that barred its way. A low rumble filled the air.He camped in a thicket near the ravine and watched the moonrise before going to bed.It grew colder over the next day and a half. Eragon traveled quickly and saw little of the wary wildlife. A bit past noon, he heard the Igualda Falls blanketing everything with the dull sound of a thousand splashes. The trail led him onto a moist slate outcropping, which the river sped past, flinging itself into empty air and down mossy cliffs.Before him lay Palancar Valley, exposed like an unrolled map. The base of the Igualda Falls, more than a half-mile below, was the northernmost point of the valley. A little ways from the falls was Carvahall, a cluster of brown buildings. White smoke rose from the chimneys, defiant of the wilderness around it. At this height, farms were small square patches no bigger than the end of his finger. The land around them was tan or sandy, where dead grass swayed in the wind. The Anora River wound from the falls toward Palancar’s southern end, reflecting great strips of sunlight. Far in the distance it flowed past the village Therinsford and the lonely mountain Utgard. Beyond that, he knew only that it turned north and ran to the sea.After a pause, Eragon left the outcropping and started down the trail, grimacing at the descent. When he arrived at the bottom, soft dusk was creeping over everything, blurring colors and shapes into gray masses. Carvahall’ s lights shimmered nearby in the twilight; the houses cast long shadows. Aside from Therinsford, Carvahall was the only village in Palancar Valley. The settlement was secluded and surrounded by harsh, beautiful land. Few traveled here except merchants and trappers.The village was composed of stout log buildings with low roofs–some thatched, others shingled. Smoke billowed from the chim neys, giving the air a woody smell. The buildings had wide porches where people gathered to talk and conduct business. Occasionally a window brightened as a candle or lamp was lit. Eragon heard men talking loudly in the evening air while wives scurried to fetch their husbands, scolding them for being late.Eragon wove his way between the houses to the butcher’s shop, a broad, thick-beamed building. Overhead, the chimney belched black smoke.He pushed the door open. The spacious room was warm and well lit by a fire snapping in a stone fireplace. A bare counter stretched across the far side of the room. The floor was strewn with loose straw. Everything was scrupulously clean, as if the owner spent his leisure time digging in obscure crannies for minuscule pieces of filth. Behind the counter stood the butcher Sloan. A small man, he wore a cotton shirt and a long, bloodstained smock. An impressive array of knives swung from his belt. He had a sallow, pockmarked face, and his black eyes were suspicious. He polished the counter with a ragged cloth.Sloan’s mouth twisted as Eragon entered. “Well, the mighty hunter joins the rest of us mortals. How many did you bag this time?”“None,” was Eragon’ s curt reply. He had never liked Sloan. The butcher always treated him with disdain, as if he were something unclean. A widower, Sloan seemed to care for only one person–his daughter, Katrina, on whom he doted.“I’m amazed,” said Sloan with affected astonishment. He turned his back on Eragon to scrape something off the wall. “And that’s your reason for coming here?”“Yes,” admitted Eragon uncomfortably.“If that’s the case, let’ s see your money.” Sloan tapped his fingers when Eragon shifted his feet and remained silent. “Come on–either you have it or you don’t. Which is it?”“I don’t really have any money, but I do–”“What, no money?” the butcher cut him off sharply. “And you expect to buy meat! Are the other merchants giving away their wares? Should I just hand you the goods without charge? Besides,” he said abruptly, “it’s late. Come back tomorrow with money. I’m closed for the day.”Eragon glared at him. “I can’ t wait until tomorrow, Sloan. It’ll be worth your while, though; I found something to pay you with.” He pulled out the stone with a flourish and set it gently on the scarredcounter, where it gleamed with light from the dancing flames.“Stole it is more likely,” muttered Sloan, leaning forward with an interested expression.Ignoring the comment, Eragon asked, “Will this be enough?”Sloan picked up the stone and gauged its weight speculatively. He ran his hands over its smoothness and inspected the white veins. With a calculating look, he set it down. “It’s pretty, but how much is it worth?”“I don’t know,” admitted Eragon, “but no one would have gone to the trouble of shaping it unless it had some value.”“Obviously,” said Sloan with exaggerated patience. “But how much value? Since you don’t know, I suggest that you find a trader who does, or take my offer of three crowns.”“That’s a miser’s bargain! It must be worth at least ten times that,” protested Eragon. Three crowns would not even buy enough meat to last a week.Sloan shrugged. “If you don’t like my offer, wait until the traders arrive. Either way, I’m tired of this conversation.”The traders were a nomadic group of merchants and entertainers who visited Carvahall every spring and winter. They bought whatever excess the villagers and local farmers had managed to grow or make, and sold what they needed to live through another year: seeds, animals, fabric, and supplies like salt and sugar.But Eragon did not want to wait until they arrived; it could be a while, and his family needed the meat now. “Fine, I accept,” he snapped.“Good, I’ll get you the meat. Not that it matters, but where did you find this?” “Two nights ago in the Spine–”“Get out!” demanded Sloan, pushing the stone away. He stomped furiously to the end of the counter and started scrubbing old bloodstains off a knife.“Why?” asked Eragon. He drew the stone closer, as if to protect it from Sloan’s wrath.“I won’t deal with anything you bring back from those damned mountains! Take your sorcerer’s stone elsewhere.” Sloan’s hand suddenly slipped and he cut a finger on the knife, but he seemed not to notice. He continued to scrub, staining the blade with fresh blood.“You refuse to sell to me!”“Yes! Unless you pay with coins,” Sloan growled, and hefted the knife, sidling away. “Go, before I make you!”The door behind them slammed open. Eragon whirled around, ready for more trouble. In stomped Horst, a hulking man. Sloan’s daughter, Katrina–a tall girl of sixteen–trailed behind him with a determined expression. Eragon was surprised to see her; she usually absented herself from any arguments involving her father. Sloan glanced at them warily, then started to accuse Eragon. “He won’t–”“Quiet,” announced Horst in a rumbling voice, cracking his knuckles at the same time. He was Carvahall’s smith, as his thick neck and scarred leather apron attested. His powerful arms werebare to the elbow; a great expanse of hairy muscular chest was visible through the top of his shirt. A black beard, carelessly trimmed, roiled and knotted like his jaw muscles. “Sloan, what have youdone now?”“Nothing.” He gave Eragon a murderous gaze, then spat, “This . . . boy came in here and started badgering me. I asked him to leave, but he won’t budge. I even threatened him and he still ignored me!” Sloan seemed to shrink as he looked at Horst.“Is this true?” demanded the smith.“No!” replied Eragon. “I offered this stone as payment for some meat, and he accepted it. When I told him that I’d found it in the Spine, he refused to even touch it. What difference does it make where it came from?”Horst looked at the stone curiously, then returned his attention to the butcher. “Why won’t you trade with him, Sloan? I’ve no love for the Spine myself, but if it’s a question of the stone’s worth, I’ll back it with my own money.”The question hung in the air for a moment. Then Sloan licked his lips and said, “This is my own store. I can do whatever I want.”Katrina stepped out from behind Horst and tossed back her auburn hair like a spray of molten copper. “Father, Eragon is willing to pay. Give him the meat, and then we can have supper.”Sloan’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “Go back to the house; this is none of your business. . . . I said go!” Katrina’s face hardened, then she marched out of the room with a stiff back.Eragon watched with disapproval but dared not interfere. Horst tugged at his beard before saying reproachfully, “Fine, you can deal with me. What were you going to get, Eragon?” His voice reverberated through the room.“As much as I could.”Horst pulled out a purse and counted out a pile of coins. “Give me your best roasts and steaks. Make sure that it’s enough to fill Eragon’s pack.” The butcher hesitated, his gaze darting betweenHorst and Eragon. “Not selling to me would be a very bad idea,” stated Horst.Glowering venomously, Sloan slipped into the back room. A frenzy of chopping, wrapping, and low cursing reached them. After several uncomfortable minutes, he returned with an armful ofwrapped meat. His face was expressionless as he accepted Horst’s money, then proceeded to clean his knife, pretending that they were not there.Horst scooped up the meat and walked outside. Eragon hurried behind him, carrying his pack and the stone. The crisp night air rolled over their faces, refreshing after the stuffy shop.“Thank you, Horst. Uncle Garrow will be pleased.”Horst laughed quietly. “Don’t thank me. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time. Sloan’s a vicious troublemaker; it does him good to be humbled. Katrina heard what was happening and ran to fetch me. Good thing I came–the two of you were almost at blows. Unfortunately, I doubt he’ll serve you or any of your family the next time you go in there, even if you do have coins.”“Why did he explode like that? We’ve never been friendly, but he’s always taken our money. And I've never seen him treat Katrina that way,” said Eragon, opening the top of the pack.Horst shrugged. “Ask your uncle. He knows more about it than I do.”Eragon stuffed the meat into his pack. “Well, now I have one more reason to hurry home . . . to solve this mystery. Here, this is rightfully yours.” He proffered the stone.Horst chuckled. “No, you keep your strange rock. As for payment, Albriech plans to leave for Feinster next spring. He wants to become a master smith, and I’ m going to need an assistant. You can come and work off the debt on your spare days.”Eragon bowed slightly, delighted. Horst had two sons, Albriech and Baldor, both of whom worked in his forge. Taking one’s place was a generous offer. “Again, thank you! I look forward to working with you.” He was glad that there was a way for him to pay Horst. His uncle would never accept charity. Then Eragon remembered what his cousin had told him before he had left on the hunt. “Roran wanted me to give Katrina a message, but since I can’t, can you get it to her?”“Of course.”“He wants her to know that he’ll come into town as soon as the merchants arrive and that he will see her then.”“That all?”Eragon was slightly embarrassed. “No, he also wants her to know that she is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen and that he thinks of nothing else.”Horst’s face broke into a broad grin, and he winked at Eragon.“Getting serious, isn’t he?”“Yes, sir,” Eragon answered with a quick smile. “Could you also give her my thanks? It was nice of her to stand up to her father for me. I hope that she isn’t punished because of it. Roran would befurious if I got her into trouble.”“I wouldn’t worry about it. Sloan doesn’t know that she called me, so I doubt he’ll be too hard on her. Before you go, will you sup with us?”“I’m sorry, but I can’t. Garrow is expecting me,” said Eragon, tying off the top of the pack. He hoisted it onto his back and started down the road, raising his hand in farewell.The meat slowed him down, but he was eager to be home, and renewed vigor filled his steps. The village ended abruptly, and he left its warm lights behind. The pearlescent moon peeked over themountains, bathing the land in a ghostly reflection of daylight. Everything looked bleached and flat.Near the end of his journey, he turned off the road, which continued south. A simple path led straight through waist-high grass and up a knoll, almost hidden by the shadows of protective elm trees. He crested the hill and saw a gentle light shining from his home.The house had a shingled roof and a brick chimney. Eaves hung over the whitewashed walls, shadowing the ground below. One side of the enclosed porch was filled with split wood, ready for the fire. A jumble of farm tools cluttered the other side.The house had been abandoned for half a century when they moved in after Garrow’s wife, Marian, died. It was ten miles from Carvahall, farther than anyone else’s. People considered the distancedangerous because the family could not rely on help from the village in times of trouble, but Eragon’s uncle would not listen.A hundred feet from the house, in a dull-colored barn, lived two horses–Birka and Brugh–with chickens and a cow. Sometimes there was also a pig, but they had been unable to afford one thisyear. A wagon sat wedged between the stalls. On the edge of their fields, a thick line of trees traced along the Anora River.He saw a light move behind a window as he wearily reached the porch. “Uncle, it’s Eragon. Let me in.” A small shutter slid back for a second, then the door swung inward.Garrow stood with his hand on the door. His worn clothes hung on him like rags on a stick frame. A lean, hungry face with intense eyes gazed out from under graying hair. He looked like a man who had been partly mummified before it was discovered that he was still alive. “Roran’s sleeping,” was his answer to Eragon’s inquiring glance.A lantern flickered on a wood table so old that the grain stood up in tiny ridges like a giant fingerprint. Near a woodstove were rows of cooking utensils tacked onto the wall with homemade nails. A second door opened to the rest of the house. The floor was made of boards polished smooth by years of tramping feet.Eragon pulled off his pack and took out the meat. “What’s this? Did you buy meat? Where did you get the money?” asked his uncle harshly as he saw the wrapped packages.Eragon took a breath before answering. “No, Horst bought it for us.”“You let him pay for it? I told you before, I won’t beg for our food. If we can’t feed ourselves, we might as well move into town. Before you can turn around twice, they’ll be sending us used clothes and asking if we’ll be able to get through the winter.” Garrow’s face paled with anger.“I didn’t accept charity,” snapped Eragon. “Horst agreed to let me work off the debt this spring. He needs someone to help him because Albriech is going away.”“And where will you get the time to work for him? Are you going to ignore all the things that need to be done here?” asked Garrow, forcing his voice down.Eragon hung his bow and quiver on hooks beside the front door. “I don’t know how I’ll do it,” he said irritably. “Besides, I found something that could be worth some money.” He set the stone on the table.Garrow bowed over it: the hungry look on his face became ravenous, and his fingers moved with a strange twitch. “You found this in the Spine?”“Yes,” said Eragon. He explained what had happened. “And to make matters worse, I lost my best arrow. I’ll have to make more before long.” They stared at the stone in the near darkness.“How was the weather?” asked his uncle, lifting the stone. His hands tightened around it like he was afraid it would suddenly disappear.“Cold,” was Eragon’s reply. “It didn’t snow, but it froze each night.”Garrow looked worried by the news. “Tomorrow you’ll have to help Roran finish harvesting the barley. If we can get the squash picked, too, the frost won’t bother us.” He passed the stone toEragon. “Here, keep it. When the traders come, we’ll find out what it’s worth. Selling it is probably the best thing to do. The less we’re involved with magic, the better. . . . Why did Horst pay for the meat?”It took only a moment for Eragon to explain his argument with Sloan. “I just don’t understand what angered him so.”Garrow shrugged. “Sloan’s wife, Ismira, went over the Igualda Falls a year before you were brought here. He hasn’t been near the Spine since, nor had anything to do with it. But that’s no reason to refuse payment. I think he wanted to give you trouble.”Eragon swayed blearily and said, “It’s good to be back.” Garrow’s eyes softened, and he nodded. Eragon stumbled to his room, pushed the stone under his bed, then fell onto the mattress. Home. For the first time since before the hunt, he relaxed completely as sleep overtook him.DRAGON TALES At dawn the sun’s rays streamed through the window, warming Eragon’s face. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up on the edge of the bed. The pine floor was cold under his feet. He stretched his sore legs and rubbed his back, yawning.Beside the bed was a row of shelves covered with objects he had collected. There were twisted pieces of wood, odd bits of shells, rocks that had broken to reveal shiny interiors, and strips of drygrass tied into knots. His favorite item was a root so convoluted he never tired of looking at it. The rest of the room was bare, except for a small dresser and nightstand.He pulled on his boots and stared at the floor, thinking. This was a special day. It was near this very hour, sixteen years ago, that his mother, Selena, had come home to Carvahall alone and pregnant. She had been gone for six years, living in the cities. When she returned, she wore expensive clothes, and her hair was bound by a net of pearls. She had sought out her brother, Garrow, and asked to stay with him until the baby arrived. Within five months her son was born. Everyone was shocked when Selena tearfully begged Garrow and Marian to raise him. When they asked why, she only wept and said, “I must.” Her pleas had grown increasingly desperate until they finally agreed. She named him Eragon, then departed early the next morning and never returned.Eragon still remembered how he had felt when Marian told him the story before she died. The realization that Garrow and Marian were not his real parents had disturbed him greatly. Things that had been permanent and unquestionable were suddenly thrown into doubt. Eventually he had learned to live with it, but he always had a nagging suspicion that he had not been good enough for his mother. I’m sure there was a good reason for what she did; I only wish I knew what it was. One other thing bothered him: Who was his father? Selena had told no one, and whoever it might be had never come looking for Eragon. He wished that he knew who it was, if only to have a name.It would be nice to know his heritage.He sighed and went to the nightstand, where he splashed his face, shivering as the water ran down his neck. Refreshed, he retrieved the stone from under the bed and set it on a shelf. Themorning light caressed it, throwing a warm shadow on the wall. He touched it one more time, then hurried to the kitchen, eager to see his family. Garrow and Roran were already there, eating chicken. As Eragon greeted them, Roran stood with a grin.Roran was two years older than Eragon, muscular, sturdy, and careful with his movements. They could not have been closer even if they had been real brothers.Roran smiled. “I’m glad you’re back. How was the trip?”“Hard,” replied Eragon. “Did Uncle tell you what happened?” He helped himself to a piece of chicken, which he devoured hungrily.“No,” said Roran, and the story was quickly told. At Roran’s insistence, Eragon left his food to show him the stone. This elicited a satisfactory amount of awe, but Roran soon asked nervously, “Were you able to talk with Katrina?”“No, there wasn’t an opportunity after the argument with Sloan. But she’ll expect you when the traders come. I gave the message to Horst; he will get it to her.”“You told Horst?” said Roran incredulously. “That was private. If I wanted everyone to know about it, I could have built a bonfire and used smoke signals to communicate. If Sloan finds out, he won’t let me see her again.”“Horst will be discreet,” assured Eragon. “He won’t let anyone fall prey to Sloan, least of all you.” Roran seemed unconvinced, but argued no more. They returned to their meals in the taciturn presence of Garrow. When the last bites were finished, all three went to work in the fields.The sun was cold and pale, providing little comfort. Under its watchful eye, the last of the barley was stored in the barn. Next, they gathered prickly vined squash, then the rutabagas, beets, peas,turnips, and beans, which they packed into the root cellar. After hours of labor, they stretched their cramped muscles, pleased that the harvest was finished.The following days were spent pickling, salting, shelling, and preparing the food for winter.Nine days after Eragon’s return, a vicious blizzard blew out of the mountains and settled over the valley. The snow came down in great sheets, blanketing the countryside in white. They only daredleave the house for firewood and to feed the animals, for they feared getting lost in the howling wind and featureless landscape. They spent their time huddled over the stove as gusts rattled the heavy window shutters. Days later the storm finally passed, revealing an alien world of soft white drifts.“I’ m afraid the traders may not come this year, with conditions this bad,” said Garrow. “They’re late as it is. We’ll give them a chance and wait before going to Carvahall. But if they don’t showsoon, we’ll have to buy any spare supplies from the townspeople.” His countenance was resigned.They grew anxious as the days crept by without sign of the traders. Talk was sparse, and depression hung over the house.On the eighth morning, Roran walked to the road and confirmed that the traders had not yet passed. The day was spent readying for the trip into Carvahall, scrounging with grim expressions for saleable items. That evening, out of desperation, Eragon checked the road again. He found deep ruts cut into the snow, with numerous hoofprints between them. Elated, he ran back to the house whooping, bringing new life to their preparations. ✷ ✷ ✷They packed their surplus produce into the wagon before sunrise. Garrow put the year’s money in a leather pouch that he carefully fastened to his belt. Eragon set the wrapped stone between bags of grain so it would not roll when the wagon hit bumps.After a hasty breakfast, they harnessed the horses and cleared a path to the road. The traders’ wagons had already broken the drifts, which sped their progress. By noon they could see Carvahall.In daylight, it was a small earthy village filled with shouts and laughter. The traders had made camp in an empty field on the outskirts of town. Groups of wagons, tents, and fires were randomly spread across it, spots of color against the snow. The troubadours’ four tents were garishly decorated. A steady stream of people linked the camp to the village.Crowds churned around a line of bright tents and booths clogging the main street. Horses whinnied at the noise. The snow had been pounded flat, giving it a glassy surface; elsewhere, bonfires had melted it. Roasted hazelnuts added a rich aroma to the smells wafting around them.Garrow parked the wagon and picketed the horses, then drew coins from his pouch. “Get yourselves some treats. Roran, do what you want, only be at Horst’s in time for supper. Eragon, bring that stone and come with me.” Eragon grinned at Roran and pocketed the money, already planning how to spend it.Roran departed immediately with a determined expression on his face. Garrow led Eragon into the throng, shouldering his way through the bustle. Women were buying cloth, while nearby their husbands examined a new latch, hook, or tool. Children ran up and down the road, shrieking with excitement. Knives were displayed here, spices there, and pots were laid out in shiny rows next to leather harnesses. Eragon stared at the traders curiously. They seemed less prosperous than last year. Their children had a frightened, wary look, and their clothes were patched. The gaunt men carried swords and daggers with a new familiarity, and even the women had poniards belted at their waists.What could have happened to make them like this? And why are they so late? wondered Eragon. He remembered the traders as being full of good cheer, but there was none of that now. Garrow pushed down the street, searching for Merlock, a trader who specialized in odd trinkets and pieces of jewelry.They found him behind a booth, displaying brooches to a group of women. As each new piece was revealed, exclamations of admiration followed. Eragon guessed that more than a few purses would soon be depleted. Merlock seemed to flourish and grow every time his wares were complimented. He wore a goatee, held himself with ease, and seemed to regard the rest of the world with slight contempt.The excited group prevented Garrow and Eragon from getting near the trader, so they settled on a step and waited. As soon as Merlock was unoccupied, they hurried over.“And what might you sirs want to look at?” asked Merlock. “An amulet or trinket for a lady?” With a twirl he pulled out a delicately carved silver rose of excellent workmanship. The polished metalcaught Eragon’s attention, and he eyed it appreciatively. The trader continued, “Not even three crowns, though it has come all the way from the famed craftsmen of Belatona.”Garrow spoke in a quiet voice. “We aren’t looking to buy, but to sell.” Merlock immediately covered the rose and looked at them with new interest.“I see. Maybe, if this item is of any value, you would like to trade it for one or two of these exquisite pieces.” He paused for a moment while Eragon and his uncle stood uncomfortably, then continued, “You did bring the object of consideration?”“We have it, but we would rather show it to you elsewhere,” said Garrow in a firm voice.Merlock raised an eyebrow, but spoke smoothly. “In that case, let me invite you to my tent.” He gathered up his wares and gently laid them in an iron-bound chest, which he locked. Then he ushered them up the street and into the temporary camp. They wound between the wagons to a tent removed from the rest of the traders’.It was crimson at the top and sable at the bottom, with thin triangles of colors stabbing into each other. Merlock untied the opening and swung the flap to one side.Small trinkets and strange pieces of furniture, such as a round bed and three seats carved from tree stumps, filled the tent. A gnarled dagger with a ruby in the pommel rested on a white cushion.Merlock closed the flap and turned to them. “Please, seat yourselves.” When they had, he said, “Now show me why we are meeting in private.” Eragon unwrapped the stone and set it between the two men. Merlock reached for it with a gleam in his eye, then stopped and asked, “May I?” When Garrow indicated his approval, Merlock picked it up.He put the stone in his lap and reached to one side for a thin box. Opened, it revealed a large set of copper scales, which he set on the ground. After weighing the stone, he scrutinized its surfaceunder a jeweler’s glass, tapped it gently with a wooden mallet, and drew the point of a tiny clear stone over it. He measured its length and diameter, then recorded the figures on a slate. He considered the results for a while. “Do you know what this is worth?”“No,” admitted Garrow. His cheek twitched, and he shifted uncomfortably on the seat.Merlock grimaced. “Unfortunately, neither do I. But I can tell you this much: the white veins are the same material as the blue that surrounds them, only a different color. What that material might be, though, I haven’t a clue. It’s harder than any rock I have seen, harder even than diamond. Whoever shaped it used tools I have never seen–or magic. Also, it’s hollow.”“What?” exclaimed Garrow.An irritated edge crept into Merlock’ s voice. “Did you ever hear a rock sound like this?” He grabbed the dagger from the cushion and slapped the stone with the flat of the blade. A pure note filled the air, then faded away smoothly. Eragon was alarmed, afraid that the stone had been damaged. Merlock tilted the stone toward them. “You will find no scratches or blemishes where the dagger struck. I doubt I could do anything to harm this stone, even if I took a hammer to it.”Garrow crossed his arms with a reserved expression. A wall of silence surrounded him. Eragon was puzzled. I knew that the stone appeared in the Spine through magic, but made by magic? What for and why? He blurted, “But what is it worth?”“I can’t tell you that,” said Merlock in a pained voice. “I am sure there are people who would pay dearly to have it, but none of them are in Carvahall. You would have to go to the southern cities tofind a buyer. This is a curiosity for most people–not an item to spend money on when practical things are needed.” Garrow stared at the tent ceiling like a gambler calculating theodds. “Will you buy it?”The trader answered instantly, “It’s not worth the risk. I might be able to find a wealthy buyer during my spring travels, but I can’t be certain. Even if I did, you wouldn’t be paid until I returned next year. No, you will have to find someone else to trade with. I am curious, however . . . Why did you insist on talking to me in private?”Eragon put the stone away before answering. “Because,” he glanced at the man, wondering if he would explode like Sloan, “I found this in the Spine, and folks around here don’t like that.”Merlock gave him a startled look. “Do you know why my fellow merchants and I were late this year?” Eragon shook his head.“Our wanderings have been dogged with misfortune. Chaos seems to rule Alagaësia. We could not avoid illness, attacks, and the most cursed black luck. Because the Varden’s attacks have increased, Galbatorix has forced cities to send more soldiers to the borders, men who are needed to combat the Urgals. The brutes have been migrating southeast, toward the Hadarac Desert. No one knows why and it wouldn’t concern us, except that they’re passing through populated areas. They’ve been spotted on roads and near cities. Worst of all are reports of a Shade, though the stories are unconfirmed. Not many people survive such an encounter.”“Why haven’t we heard of this?” cried Eragon.“Because,” said Merlock grimly, “it only began a few months ago. Whole villages have been forced to move because Urgals destroyed their fields and starvation threatens.”“Nonsense,” growled Garrow. “We haven’t seen any Urgals; the only one around here has his horns mounted in Morn’s tavern.”Merlock arched an eyebrow. “Maybe so, but this is a small village hidden by mountains. It’s not surprising that you’ve escaped notice. However, I wouldn’t expect that to last. I only mentioned thisbecause strange things are happening here as well if you found such a stone in the Spine.” With that sobering statement, he bid them farewell with a bow and slight smile.Garrow headed back to Carvahall with Eragon trailing behind. “What do you think?” asked Eragon.“I’m going to get more information before I make up my mind. Take the stone back to the wagon, then do what you want. I’ll meet you for dinner at Horst’s.”Eragon dodged through the crowd and happily dashed back to the wagon. Trading would take his uncle hours, time that he planned to enjoy fully. He hid the stone under the bags, then set out into town with a cocky stride.He walked from one booth to another, evaluating the goods with a buyer’s eye, despite his meager supply of coins. When he talked with the merchants, they confirmed what Merlock had said about the instability in Alagaësia. Over and over the message was repeated: last year’s security has deserted us; new dangers have appeared, and nothing is safe.Later in the day he bought three sticks of malt candy and a small piping-hot cherry pie. The hot food felt good after hours of standing in the snow. He licked the sticky syrup from his fingers regretfully, wishing for more, then sat on the edge of a porch and nibbled a piece of candy. Two boys from Carvahall wrestled nearby, but he felt no inclination to join them.As the day descended into late afternoon, the traders took their business into people’ s homes. Eragon was impatient for evening, when the troubadours would come out to tell stories and perform tricks. He loved hearing about magic, gods, and, if they were especially lucky, the Dragon Riders. Carvahall had its own storyteller, Brom–a friend of Eragon’s–but his tales grew old over the years, whereas the troubadours always had new ones that he listened to eagerly.Eragon had just broken off an icicle from the underside of the porch when he spotted Sloan nearby. The butcher had not seen him, so Eragon ducked his head and bolted around a corner toward Morn’s tavern.The inside was hot and filled with greasy smoke from sputtering tallow candles. The shiny-black Urgal horns, their twisted span as great as his outstretched arms, were mounted over the door. The bar was long and low, with a stack of staves on one end for customers to carve. Morn tended the bar, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The bottom half of his face was short and mashed, as if he had rested his chin on a grinding wheel. People crowded solid oak tables and listened to two traders who had finished their business early and had come in for beer.Morn looked up from a mug he was cleaning. “Eragon! Good to see you. Where’s your uncle?”“Buying,” said Eragon with a shrug. “He’s going to be a while.”“And Roran, is he here?” asked Morn as he swiped the cloth through another mug.“Yes, no sick animals to keep him back this year.”“Good, good.” Eragon gestured at the two traders. “Who are they?”“Grain buyers. They bought everyone’s seed at ridiculously low prices, and now they’ re telling wild stories, expecting us to believe them.” Eragon understood why Morn was so upset. People need that money. We can’t get by without it. “What kind of stories?” Morn snorted. “They say the Varden have formed a pact with the Urgals and are massing an army to attack us. Supposedly, it’s only through the grace of our king that we’ ve been protected for so long–as if Galbatorix would care if we burned to the ground. . . .Go listen to them. I have enough on my hands without explaining their lies.”The first trader filled a chair with his enormous girth; his every movement caused it to protest loudly. There was no hint of hair on his face, his pudgy hands were baby smooth, and he had pouting lips that curled petulantly as he sipped from a flagon. The second man had a florid face. The skin around his jaw was dry and corpulent, filled with lumps of hard fat, like cold butter gone rancid. Contrasted with his neck and jowls, the rest of his body was unnaturally thin.The first trader vainly tried to pull back his expanding borders to fit within the chair. He said, “No, no, you don’t understand. It is only through the king’s unceasing efforts on your behalf that you are able to argue with us in safety. If he, in all his wisdom, were to withdraw that support, woe unto you!”Someone hollered, “Right, why don’t you also tell us the Riders have returned and you’ve each killed a hundred elves. Do you think we’ re children to believe in your tales? We can take care of ourselves.” The group chuckled.The trader started to reply when his thin companion intervened with a wave of his hand. Gaudy jewels flashed on his fingers. “You misunderstand. We know the Empire cannot care for each of uspersonally, as you may want, but it can keep Urgals and other abominations from overrunning this,” he searched vaguely for the right term, “place.”The trader continued, “You’re angry with the Empire for treating people unfairly, a legitimate concern, but a government cannot please everyone. There will inevitably be arguments and conflicts. However, the majority of us have nothing to complain about. Every country has some small group of malcontents who aren’t satisfied with the balance of power.”“Yeah,” called a woman, “if you’re willing to call the Varden small!”The fat man sighed. “We already explained that the Varden have no interest in helping you. That’s only a falsehood perpetuated by the traitors in an attempt to disrupt the Empire and convince usthat the real threat is inside–not outside–our borders. All they want to do is overthrow the king and take possession of our land. They have spies everywhere as they prepare to invade. You never know who might be working for them.”Eragon did not agree, but the traders’ words were smooth, and people were nodding. He stepped forward and said, “How do you know this? I can say that clouds are green, but that doesn’t meanit’s true. Prove you aren’ t lying.” The two men glared at him while the villagers waited silently for the answer.The thin trader spoke first. He avoided Eragon’s eyes. “Aren’t your children taught respect? Or do you let boys challenge men whenever they want to?”The listeners fidgeted and stared at Eragon. Then a man said, “Answer the question.”“It’s only common sense,” said the fat one, sweat beading on his upper lip. His reply riled the villagers, and the dispute resumed.Eragon returned to the bar with a sour taste in his mouth. He had never before met anyone who favored the Empire and tore down its enemies. There was a deep-seated hatred of the Empire in Carvahall, almost hereditary in nature. The Empire never helped them during harsh years when they nearly starved, and its tax collectors were heartless. He felt justified in disagreeing with the traders regarding the king’s mercy, but he did speculate about the Varden.The Varden were a rebel group that constantly raided and attacked the Empire. It was a mystery who their leader was or who had formed them in the years following Galbatorix’s rise to powerover a century ago. The group had garnered much sympathy as they eluded Galbatorix’s efforts to destroy them. Little was known about the Varden except that if you were a fugitive and had to hide, or if you hated the Empire, they would accept you. The only problem was finding them.Morn leaned over the bar and said, “Incredible, isn’t it? They’re worse than vultures circling a dying animal. There’s going to be trouble if they stay much longer.”“For us or for them?”“Them,” said Morn as angry voices filled the tavern. Eragon left when the argument threatened to become violent. The door thudded shut behind him, cutting off the voices. It was early evening, and the sun was sinking rapidly; the houses cast long shadows on the ground. As Eragon headed down the street, he noticed Roran and Katrina standing in an alley.Roran said something Eragon could not hear. Katrina looked down at her hands and answered in an undertone, then leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him before darting away. Eragon trotted to Roran and teased, “Having a good time?” Roran grunted noncommittally as he paced away.“Have you heard the traders’ news?” asked Eragon, following.Most of the villagers were indoors, talking to traders or waiting until it was dark enough for the troubadours to perform.“Yes.” Roran seemed distracted. “What do you think of Sloan?”“I thought it was obvious.”“There’ll be blood between us when he finds out about Katrina and me,” stated Roran. A snowflake landed on Eragon’ s nose, and he looked up. The sky had turned gray. He could think of nothingappropriate to say; Roran was right. He clasped his cousin on the shoulder as they continued down the byway.Dinner at Horst’s was hearty. The room was full of conversation and laughter. Sweet cordials and heavy ales were consumed in copious amounts, adding to the boisterous atmosphere. When theplates were empty, Horst’s guests left the house and strolled to the field where the traders were camped. A ring of poles topped with candles had been stuck into the ground around a large clearing.Bonfires blazed in the background, painting the ground with dancing shadows. The villagers slowly gathered around the circle and waited expectantly in the cold.The troubadours came tumbling out of their tents, dressed in tasseled clothing, followed by older and more stately minstrels. The minstrels provided music and narration as their younger counterparts acted out the stories. The first plays were pure entertainment: bawdy and full of jokes, pratfalls, and ridiculous characters. Later, however, when the candles sputtered in their sockets and everyone was drawn together into a tight circle, the old storyteller Brom stepped forward. A knotted white beard rippled over his chest, and a long black cape was wrapped around his bent shoulders, obscuring his body. He spread his arms with hands that reached out like talons and recited thus:“The sands of time cannot be stopped. Years pass whether we will them or not . . . but we can remember. What has been lost may yet live on in memories. That which you will hear is imperfect and fragmented, yet treasure it, for without you it does not exist. I give you now a memory that has been forgotten, hidden in the dreamy haze that lies behind us.”His keen eyes inspected their interested faces. His gaze lingered on Eragon last of all.“Before your grandfathers’ fathers were born, and yea, even before their fathers, the Dragon Riders were formed. To protect and guard was their mission, and for thousands of years they succeeded. Their prowess in battle was unmatched, for each had the strength of ten men. They were immortal unless blade or poison took them. For good only were their powers used, and under their tutelage tall cities and towers were built out of the living stone. While they kept peace, the land flourished. It was a golden time. The elves were our allies, the dwarves our friends. Wealth flowed into our cities, and men prospered. But weep . . . for it could not last.” Brom looked down silently. Infinite sadness resonated in his voice.“Though no enemy could destroy them, they could not guard against themselves. And it came to pass at the height of their power that a boy, Galbatorix by name, was born in the province ofInzilbêth, which is no more. At ten he was tested, as was the custom, and it was found that great power resided in him. The Riders accepted him as their own.“Through their training he passed, exceeding all others in skill. Gifted with a sharp mind and strong body, he quickly took his place among the Riders’ ranks. Some saw his abrupt rise as dangerous and warned the others, but the Riders had grown arrogant in their power and ignored caution. Alas, sorrow was conceived that day. “So it was that soon after his training was finished, Galbatorix took a reckless trip with two friends. Far north they flew, night and day, and passed into the Urgals’ remaining territory, foolishly thinkingtheir new powers would protect them. There on a thick sheet of ice, unmelted even in summer, they were ambushed in their sleep. Though his friends and their dragons were butchered and hesuffered great wounds, Galbatorix slew his attackers. Tragically, during the fight a stray arrow pierced his dragon’s heart. Without the arts to save her, she died in his arms. Then were the seeds of madness planted.”The storyteller clasped his hands and looked around slowly, shadows flickering across his worn face. The next words came like the mournful toll of a requiem.“Alone, bereft of much of his strength and half mad with loss, Galbatorix wandered without hope in that desolate land, seeking death. It did not come to him, though he threw himself without fear against any living thing. Urgals and other monsters soon fled from his haunted form. During this time he came to realize that the Riders might grant him another dragon. Driven by this thought, hebegan the arduous journey, on foot, back through the Spine. Territory he had soared over effortlessly on a dragon’s back now took him months to traverse. He could hunt with magic, but often- times he walked in places where animals did not travel. Thus when his feet finally left the mountains, he was close to death. A farmer found him collapsed in the mud and summoned the Riders.“Unconscious, he was taken to their holdings, and his body healed. He slept for four days. Upon awakening he gave no sign of his fevered mind. When he was brought before a council convenedto judge him, Galbatorix demanded another dragon. The desperation of the request revealed his dementia, and the council saw him for what he truly was. Denied his hope, Galbatorix, through thetwisted mirror of his madness, came to believe it was the Riders’ fault his dragon had died. Night after night he brooded on that and formulated a plan to exact revenge.”Brom’s words dropped to a mesmerizing whisper.“He found a sympathetic Rider, and there his insidious words took root. By persistent reasoning and the use of dark secrets learned from a Shade, he inflamed the Rider against their elders. Together they treacherously lured and killed an elder. When the foul deed was done, Galbatorix turned on his ally and slaughtered him without warning. The Riders found him, then, with blood dripping from his hands. A scream tore from his lips, and he fled into the night. As he was cunning in his madness, they could not find him.“For years he hid in wastelands like a hunted animal, always watching for pursuers. His atrocity was not forgotten, but over time searches ceased. Then through some ill fortune he met a young Rider, Morzan–strong of body, but weak of mind. Galbatorix convinced Morzan to leave a gate unbolted in the citadel Ilirea, which is now called Urû’baen. Through this gate Galbatorix entered and stole a dragon hatchling.“He and his new disciple hid themselves in an evil place where the Riders dared not venture. There Morzan entered into a dark apprenticeship, learning secrets and forbidden magic that should never have been revealed. When his instruction was finished and Galbatorix’ s black dragon, Shruikan, was fully grown, Galbatorix revealed himself to the world, with Morzan at his side. Together they fought any Rider they met. With each kill their strength grew. Twelve of the Riders joined Galbatorix out of desire for power and revenge against perceived wrongs. Those twelve, with Morzan, became the Thirteen Forsworn. The Riders were unprepared and fell beneath the onslaught. The elves, too, fought bitterly against Galbatorix, but they were overthrown and forced to flee to their secret places, from whence they come no more.“Only Vrael, leader of the Riders, could resist Galbatorix and the Forsworn. Ancient and wise, he struggled to save what he could and keep the remaining dragons from falling to his enemies. In thelast battle, before the gates of Dorú Areaba, Vrael defeated Galbatorix, but hesitated with the final blow. Galbatorix seized the moment and smote him in the side. Grievously wounded, Vrael fledto Utgard Mountain, where he hoped to gather strength. But it was not to be, for Galbatorix found him. As they fought, Galbatorix kicked Vrael in the fork of his legs. With that underhanded blow,he gained dominance over Vrael and removed his head with a blazing sword.“Then as power rushed through his veins, Galbatorix anointed himself king over all Alagaësia.“And from that day, he has ruled us.”With the completion of the story, Brom shuffled away with the troubadours. Eragon thought he saw a tear shining on his cheek. People murmured quietly to each other as they departed. Garrowsaid to Eragon and Roran, “Consider yourselves fortunate. I have heard this tale only twice in my life. If the Empire knew that Brom had recited it, he would not live to see a new month.”

Bookclub Guide

US1. History and Beliefs- Compare the different historic traditions of Alagaësia as they are explained in Eldest. Why do the dwarves, the elves, and the humans all have such different mythologies? What do their stories tell us about each of their races?- What does Saphira tell Eragon about the dragons’ beliefs in Eldest? Compare what the dragons believe with what the dwarves and elves do. - After reading Eldest, explain the origins of the animosity among the races of dragons, elves, dwarves, and humans. What are the effects of those ancient wars on the present day situation in Alagaësia? - Why are the elves vegetarians? Why does Eragon become a vegetarian after living with them and studying with Oromis in Eldest?- Compare the ways the different races live–the elves in the forest, the dwarves in their caves, the humans in cities and towns. How does the habitat of each of these peoples affect their way of life and their connection with their environment?2. Family and Home- Discuss who his parents might be. Why is his father’s identity a mystery, and why did his mother bring him to her brother to raise and then disappear? How does the reader’s understanding change after reading Eldest?- What was Eragon’s life like before he found the dragon’s egg in the Spine in Eragon? How did his discovery of the egg change his life? - Why was Eragon comfortable exploring the Spine when everyone else in his village was afraid of the place? What does the Spine represent to the other inhabitants of Carvahall? How does Roran convince them to overcome those fears in Eldest?- Is it hard for Roran to convince the villagers to leave their homes in Eldest? What does he hope to find for them when they do leave? Why do some insist on staying behind?- Does Nasuada take control of the Varden because she is Ajihad’s daughter or because she has special qualities of leadership? Compare Nasuada’s relationship with her father in Eragon with Arya’s relationship with Islanzadí in Eldest.- Why does Hrothgar make Eragon a member of his clan before he leaves Farthen Dûr in Eldest? What does this mean to Eragon?- What feelings do Eragon and Roran experience when they meet again at the end of Eldest? Why is Roran so angry with Eragon? Can he forgive Eragon for Garrow’s death?- When Murtagh tells Eragon who he really is at the end of Eldest, what effect does it have on him? Do you think what Murtagh tells him is true? What does it mean for Eragon’s future?- In the last chapter of Eldest, Eragon thinks: “Fathers, mothers, brothers, cousins . . . It all comes down to family.” What does he mean? Who is Eragon’s true family? Where has he found his greatest sense of belonging?3. Destiny and Responsibility- The first line of Eragon reads: “Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.” What does this opening tell you about the meaning of destiny in the tale? What does the author mean by a “scent that would change the world”? - Discuss the importance of names in Christopher Paolini’s novels. How does it affect Eragon to learn that his name was also the name of the first dragon rider? How does he choose Saphira’s name in the first book? In Eldest, how is Eragon affected by others calling him “Shadeslayer”? How has Galbatorix gained control over Murtagh and why is that control so complete? - What does Saphira mean in Eragon when she says, “It is our destiny to attempt the impossible, to accomplish great deeds regardless of fear. It is our responsibility to the future.” Is this true for everyone? What is the responsibility of each of us to the future?- In Eragon, Angela the fortuneteller says, “To know one’s fate can be a terrible thing.” Would you want to know your future if someone could tell you? Why does Eragon decide to hear her predictions? What does she mean when she says, “That freedom [to choose your fate] is a gift, but it is also a responsibility more binding than chains”? Which of her predictions (in the chapter titled “The Witch and the Werecat”) actually come true as the story continues in Eldest?- How does it affect Roran when people start to call him “Stronghammer” in Eldest? Why does Roran take most of the village of Carvahall with him in his quest to rescue Katrina?- How does Eragon change in the course of his studies with Oromis in Eldest? Which of his new powers are the result of hard training and which are the result of learning more about the use of magic? Is he, indeed, fulfilling a destiny or responding to his sense of duty and responsibility–or both?4. Trust and Fear- In Eragon, how does Eragon know that he can trust Brom enough to travel with him? Why does he leave his home and all that is familiar to him?- Who are the Ra’zac and what do they represent to Eragon when he first encounters them in Eragon? Why do the Ra’zac return to Carvahall in Eldest? Why do they take Katrina away with them? Is it trust or fear that makes the people of Carvahall follow Roran into the wilderness?- In the first book, when Eragon realizes that Arya is an elf, does it change his feelings about her? Why does he rescue her from the prison even though it puts his own safety in jeopardy? What is it that keeps Arya from returning Eragon’s affection in Eldest? - When Eragon finds the stronghold of the Varden in the first book he is challenged and his mind probed by the Twins. Why did Ajihad trust the Twins? Are there clues in Eragon to indicate that the Twins were actually working for Galbatorix, as we discover in Eldest?- How does Eragon feel when he learns about Murtagh’s parentage in Eragon? Does the fact that Murtagh’s father was Morzan affect Eragon’s trust of him? Does it affect your feelings about his character? What does Eragon feel when he realizes who he is fighting at the end of Eldest? Will he ever be able to trust Murtagh again?- What is Eragon’s greatest fear? What is Roran’s greatest fear? Do their fears affect the way they act and interact with others? Discuss their reunion in the last chapter of Eldest. Why does Roran strike Eragon? How do they regain their trust for each other?5. Use and Abuse of Power- In Eldest, Oromis says: “As Galbatorix has demonstrated, power without moral direction is the most dangerous force in the world.” What does he mean by this? By the end of Eldest what other characters have “power without moral direction”? - Discuss the connection of magic to power in this story. Why does Eragon have to learn the use of magic so slowly, first from Brom (in Eragon) and then from Oromis (in Eldest)? Who are the other characters that can use magic and what are the limits on their magical powers? - Why does the use of magic drain the energy of the person performing the magic? What are the ways that Eragon learns to control his use of magic and his energy in Eldest?- In Eldest, is Murtagh able to use magic more effectively than Eragon? Why do you think this is so?6. Good and Evil- Many fantasy novels deal with the struggle between forces of good and evil. Discuss the ways in which the Inheritance books explore this theme and which characters represent good and which represent evil. Are there some characters that you are still not sure about by the end of Eldest?- Eragon begins with the Shade and his ruthless ambush of the elf we later learn is Arya. How did this Prologue affect your anticipation of the story to come? Why is the Prologue titled “Shade of Fear”? What do we learn of the Shade’s past when he is killed at the end of Eragon? - How did Galbatorix establish his rule of Alagaësia? According to the history Brom shares in Eragon, what experiences turned Galbatorix into a cruel and feared ruler? - The Urgals seem to be completely ruthless, yet Eragon is hesitant to kill them with his magic in Eragon. In the chapter called “A Costly Mistake,” why does he only use his magic to stun them? Why is he so upset when Murtagh kills Torkenbrand, the slave trader? By the end of Eldest, Eragon has different feelings about the Urgals. What has changed his mind?- In Eldest Roran commits crimes in his efforts to save the people of Carvahall who have placed their trust in him; he kills, steals, and uses trickery to get what he needs. Can he justify what he has done in the name of helping others? How does he feel about the men he has killed?- Why is Oromis so angry about the blessing that Eragon gave to the child in Farthen Dûr? What is the place of Elva in the story by the end of Eldest? Is her blessing/curse a force for good or for evil? How can it work both ways?7. Character Study- Compare Eragon and his cousin Roran. How do Eragon’s and Roran’s journeys in Eldest parallel each other and how are they different? Describe the changes in each of them from the beginning of Eragon to the end of Eldest. What influences are most important on their growth? Which people and events are most important to their development?- Compare Brom (in Eragon) and Oromis (in Eldest). How are they similar and how are they different? What does each of them contribute to Eragon’s training? Which of them, do you think, has the most influence on Eragon’s growth as a Rider?- How would you describe Arya? Why does Arya reject Eragon’s romantic feelings in Eldest? What aspects of her personality contribute to their friendship and what keeps them from having a romantic relationship? How does Arya feel about being the daughter of the queen?- Compare the magical qualities of Angela and Elva as we see them in Eldest. What do we know about each of them and how do their magical abilities contribute to the story? How do you feel about these characters–in terms of their trustworthiness? - Compare the leadership styles of Nasuada and Orrin, the king of Surda, in Eldest. Why do the Varden go to Surda, and what help do they expect from Orrin? - Describe the character of Saphira. How has she grown from the time she was a hatchling? What does she learn from Glaedr and how does she grow during her training? What are some of the difficult feelings and pain that Saphira and Eragon share? What are some of the joys that they share?8. One Step Beyond: Predictions- Do you think Eragon will ever be able to return to the Palancar Valley and Carvahall? He longs for his home in the midst of his adventures, but will he and Roran be able to return to the farm when their adventures are over? - At the end of the first book, Eragon hears a voice in his head, someone helping him to escape the horrors of Durza’s memories. In Eldest, we learn that person is Oromis, who will become Eragon’s trainer. What foreshadowing comes at the end of Eldest? Predict some of the plot of Book Three of Inheritance. What do you expect to happen?- Who are the characters that might play a major role in the next book? Will Eragon come face-to-face with Galbatorix? Will he fight Murtagh again? Will Eragon and Roran be able to rescue Katrina? Who will provide the most assistance to Eragon?- Why do you think Galbaltorix continues to gain strength, and how is he able to make Murtagh stronger than Eragon? How do you think Eragon and Saphira can develop the strength to combat the evil powers of Galbatorix?9. Connecting Fantasy to Real Life- What kinds of good and evil do you hear about in the news of our world? Discuss examples from news stories that report events representing the good and evil in our society and in international news.- What circumstances can bring people together to become friends and what can make those friendships grow and develop? What circumstances can hurt a friendship? What are some of the ways people have difficulty with family members?- Do you feel that some people have a destiny to fulfill or a special reason for living? Name people in history who had a strong responsibility to a cause for good or evil. (Possibilities might be Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King for good causes and Attila the Hun, Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin for evil.) - Name some characters from legend, literature, or film who represent the causes of good or evil. (Possibilities might be Luke Skywalker, King Arthur, Frodo for good; Darth Vader, Mordred, Sauron for evil.)Guide prepared by Connie Rockman, Children’s Literature Consultant, adjunct professor of literature for youth, and editor of the Junior Authors and Illustrators series (H.W. Wilson).

From Our Editors

Junior Booklover Contest Winner Bobby, 15, from Vancouver, BC After finding a mysterious blue stone, Eragon is throttled into a new life entirely. The stone, he later discovers, is in fact not a stone at all, but is that of legends; a dragon egg. The egg hatches, and a dazzling creature, complete with piercing blue eyes and shimmering scales emerges. While attempting to conceal his new found companion from his family, Eragon discovers that he and the dragon share a telepathic connection; theyre able to communicate without using a single word. As the newly named dragon, Saphira, grows, Eragons troubles do accordingly. Disaster strikes when Eragons family farm is destroyed, and his Uncle is brutally murdered. The culprits behind the heinous attack are an elusive duo of assassins, employed by the inhumanly evil King Galbatorix, ruler of all Algaiseia. Why such eminent figures would bother with a mere peasant family is a mystery to Eragon. Perhaps the attack is has something to do with the hatching of his dragon, Saphira? Enraged and confused, Eragon vows to avenge his Uncle. Eragon sets off in pursuit of the assassins, accompanied by Saphira, as well as an old man called Brom. Their epic adventure is chalk full of battle, fantasy, suspense, which ultimately changes Eragons life for ever. Wow, what a read! Eragon was written with eloquence and style, to be rivalled by a select few. The story is told in third person narrative, which is extremely effective in telling the complex story that Eragon is. The story ripped along at a fast pace, and never got boring. I loved the way the author let us peer inside the minds of Eragon and Saphira, as they communicated telepathically. It was much more effective than dialogue, in my opinion, as with this method emotion, more than words, were stressed. The characters throughout the novel were extremely believable, almost life-like. Eragon would have to be my favourite closely followed by his dragon, Saphira. Both characters go through immense developments, and I felt almost like a proud parent, as they overcame feats that would never have been able to before. Both are also very optimistic; even in the darkest of times, they never gave up hope. Saphira, more than Eragon, possess a quick wit, that at times hand me giggling. For those who enjoy staying up all night, engrossed in a tale a fantasy and adventure, I recommend Eragon to you. You won't be able to put this one down until you've read cover to cover! Junior Booklover Contest Winner Madeleine, 14, from Toronto, ON Eragon is a breathtaking, action-packed fantasy that captivates its readers the moment it begins in the howling wind of night. Set in the fictional, diversely spun world of Alagaesia, this novel is bursting with battles and crammed with well-crafted characters. It follows the adventures of a young man, Eragon, and his freshly acquired dragon, Saphira. As Eragon is coming to terms with his newfound magical abilities, he seeks knowledge, power and, most of all, an explanation for what has thrown his ordinary life into a whirlwind of extraordinary encounters. His dear old caregiver, Uncle Brom, assists and teaches Eragon, but refuses to reveal the rather dark secrets concerning his complicated past. After Eragons home is destroyed by an evil group of people known as the Razac, he sets out on a journey, determined and craving revenge. After an enthralling tragedy, Eragon grows as a person as he continues his quest to hunt down the Razac, his only assets being a sword with a doubtful past, his young dragon and the help of a kind new friend. While learning of Alagaesias riveting history, Eragon communicates telepathically with Saphira and learns to harness his astonishing supernatural powers. Christopher Paolinis wildly imaginative setting goes a long way to transport bookworms into an amazing realm. It contains everything from a scorching hot, dry desert to an underground city modeled entirely out of marble. I constantly poured over the map of Alagaesia, tracing my finger around Eragons dangerous yet fascinating expedition. I thought this book was an astonishing accomplishment for a 15-year-old author. Paolinis writing shines and his plot, radiant and strong, never dwindles even for a second. Eragon is an entrancing, talented, yet down to earth character, but I still felt that the author made the common mistake of refusing to give Eragon faults. He seemed to always squirm his way out of situations and constantly come out on top. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the carefully constructed visions, and the books descriptions were always deep and wealthy of words. Ever pictured yourself wielding a spectacular sword, flying higher than the clouds or battling a group of dark bandits? If so, then this is your book. Read it to escape the mundane! I loved it, and have now been thrust into the wonderful world of fantasy. This book encouraged me to broaden my horizons as a reader, widened my vocabulary, and also kept me excitingly occupied for hours at a time. I did think that the book was begging for romance (why not a kiss for Arya, Eragon?). It was hard relating to the young, almost perfect protagonist, but watching him react and triumph over all sorts of astounding events made up for just about everything. This novel could be compared to Tolkiens praised Lord of the Rings trilogy or J.K Rowlings Harry Potter series, but really, Eragon stands alone, as a truly original, spellbinding, fantastical tale of adventure.

Editorial Reviews

A #1 New York Times Bestseller2004 Book Sense Book of the YearA USA Today BestsellerA #1 Publishers Weekly BestsellerA Wall Street Journal BestsellerA Book Sense Bestseller“Full praise to Eragon, and I want more! A winner . . . tip of the hat to young master Paolini.”—Anne McCaffrey, author of The Dragonriders of Pern series“Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic with his precocious debut.”—People“An authentic work of great talent . . . I found myself dreaming about it at night, and reaching for it as soon as I woke.” ─Liz Rosenberg, The New York Times Book Review“Unusual, powerful . . . fresh and fluid. An impressive start to a writing career that’s sure to flourish.” —Booklist, Starred“An auspicious beginning to both career and series.”—Publishers Weekly“Will appeal to legions of readers who have been captivated by the Lord of the Rings trilogy.”—School Library Journal