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Other titles in the Inheritance series:

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01)

by

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Prologue
Shade of Fear

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes.

He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here. Or was it a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, ?Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes. Stop whoever is coming . . . or die.?

Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.

The Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail. It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip between a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armor.

The Urgals could not see as well as the Shade; they groped like blind beggars, fumbling with their weapons. An owl screeched, cutting through the silence. No one relaxed until the bird flew past. Then the monsters shivered in the cold night; one snapped a twig with his heavy boot. The Shade hissed in anger, and the Urgals shrank back, motionless. He suppressed his distaste?they smelled like fetid meat?and turned away. They weretools, nothing more.

The Shade forced back his impatience as the minutes became hours. The scent must have wafted far ahead of its owners. He did not let the Urgals get up or warm themselves. He denied himself those luxuries, too, and stayed behind the tree, watching the trail. Another gust of wind rushed through the forest. The smell was stronger this time. Excited, he lifted a thin lip in a snarl. ?Get ready,? he whispered, his whole body vibrating. The tip of his sword moved in small circles. It had taken many plots and much pain to bring himself to this moment. It would not do to lose control now.

Eyes brightened under the Urgals? thick brows, and they gripped their weapons tighter. Ahead of them, the Shade heard a clink as something hard struck a loose stone. Faint smudges emerged from the darkness and came down the trail. Three white horses with riders cantered toward the ambush, their heads held high and proud, their coats rippling in the moonlight like liquid silver. On the first horse was an elf with pointed ears and elegantly slanted eyebrows. His build was slim but strong, like a rapier. A powerful bow was slung on his back. A sword pressed against his side opposite a quiver of arrows fletched with swan feathers.

The last rider had the same fair face and angled features as the other. He carried a long spear in his right hand and a white dagger at his belt. A helm of extraordinary craftsmanship, wrought with amber and gold, rested on his head. Between these two rode a raven-haired elven lady, who surveyed her surroundings with poise. Framed by long black locks, her deep eyes shone with a driving force. Her clothes were unadorned, yet her beauty was undiminished. At her side was a sword, and on her back a long bow with a quiver. She carried in her lap a pouch that she frequently looked at, as if to reassure herself that it was still there.

One of the elves spoke quietly, but the Shade could not hear what was said. The lady answered with obvious authority, and her guards switched places. The one wearing the helm took the lead, shifting his spear to a readier grip. They passed the Shade?s hiding place and the first few Urgals without suspicion. The Shade was already savoring his victory when the wind changed direction and swept toward the elves, heavy with the Urgals? stench. The horses snorted with alarm and tossed their heads. The riders stiffened, eyes flashing from side to side, then wheeled their mounts around and galloped away.

The lady?s horse surged forward, leaving her guards far behind. Forsaking their hiding, the Urgals stood and released a stream of black arrows. The Shade jumped out from behind the tree, raised his right hand, and shouted, ?Garjzla!? A red bolt flashed from his palm toward the elven lady, illuminating the trees with a bloody light. It struck her steed, and the horse toppled with a high-pitched squeal, plowing into the ground chest-first. She leapt off the animal with inhuman speed, landed lightly, then glanced back for her guards.

The Urgals? deadly arrows quickly brought down the two elves. They fell from the noble horses, blood pooling in the dirt. As the Urgals rushed to the slain elves, the Shade screamed, ?After her! She is the one I want!? The monsters grunted and rushed down the trail.

A cry tore from the elf?s lips as she saw her dead companions. She took a step toward them, then cursed her enemies and bounded into the forest.

While the Urgals crashed through the trees, the Shade climbed a piece of granite that jutted above them. From his perch he could see all of the surrounding forest. He raised his hand and uttered, ?Böetq istalri!? and a quarter-mile section of the forest exploded into flames. Grimly he burned one section after another until there was a ring of fire, a half-league across, around the ambush site. The flames looked like a molten crown resting on the forest. Satisfied, he watched the ring carefully, in case it should falter. The band of fire thickened, contracting the area the Urgals had to search. Suddenly, the Shade heard shouts and a coarse scream. Through the trees he saw three of his charges fall in a pile, mortally wounded. He caught a glimpse of the elf running from the remaining Urgals.

She fled toward the craggy piece of granite at a tremendous speed. The Shade examined the ground twenty feet below, then jumped and landed nimbly in front of her. She skidded around and sped back to the trail. Black Urgal blood dripped from her sword, staining the pouch in her hand.

The horned monsters came out of the forest and hemmed her in, blocking the only escape routes. Her head whipped around as she tried to find a way out. Seeing none, she drew herself up with regal disdain. The Shade approached her with a raised hand, allowing himself to enjoy her helplessness.

?Get her.?

As the Urgals surged forward, the elf pulled open the pouch, reached into it, and then let it drop to the ground. In her hands was a large sapphire stone that reflected the angry light of the fires. She raised it over her head, lips forming frantic words. Desperate, the Shade barked, ?Garjzla!?

A ball of red flame sprang from his hand and flew toward the elf, fast as an arrow. But he was too late. A flash of emerald light briefly illuminated the forest, and the stone vanished. Then the red fire smote her and she collapsed. The Shade howled in rage and stalked forward, flinging his sword at a tree. It passed halfway through the trunk, where it stuck, quivering. He shot nine bolts of energy from his palm?which killed the Urgals instantly?then ripped his sword free and strode to the elf.

Prophecies of revenge, spoken in a wretched language only he knew, rolled from his tongue. He clenched his thin hands and glared at the sky. The cold stars stared back, unwinking, otherworldly watchers. Disgust curled his lip before he turned back to the unconscious elf.

Her beauty, which would have entranced any mortal man, held no charm for him. He confirmed that the stone was gone, then retrieved his horse from its hiding place among the trees. After tying the elf onto the saddle, he mounted the charger and made his way out of the woods.

He quenched the fires in his path but left the rest to burn.

Copyright © 2003 by Christopher Paolini

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 14 comments:

Katherine Stuart, January 28, 2009 (view all comments by Katherine Stuart)
This book is everything a good fantasy/fairy tale/epic should be. Our young hero has a lot of growing up to do – toughening of both the body and mind. A beautiful woman is in need of rescue. There are good guys, and bad guys and those who may be somewhere in between, and of course those we’re just not sure of yet. Fantastic cities have been built and there are the requisite fairy tale creatures: elves, dwarves, a werecat, a dragon, magic and sorcery abound.

Paolini paces the work nicely and though his style lacks some maturity it does not drag the story down. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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(3 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
Horser8, October 15, 2008 (view all comments by Horser8)
all of the inhertance cycle is good personally i thought eragon was the best of the three but i havent read the third books so i dont know about brisingr
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(3 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
reignofchaos_frozen_123, June 14, 2007 (view all comments by reignofchaos_frozen_123)
Ireally enjoyed the story and its very exciting. I read 252 pages in 6 days!! I love this story and I think that the author is an example, because his book is very good
and to be honest, this is the most wonderful book I have ever read. I would appreciate if you give an e-mail to contact him. I'M A BIG FAN!!!!!!!!! I was so envolved in the story that i felt bad when I heard his uncle has died and mostly Brom...
Please contact me.
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(22 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375826689
Author:
Paolini, Christopher
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author:
Ch
Author:
Jobin, Matthew
Author:
ristopher Paolini
Subject:
General
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Dragons
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Magic
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Subject:
For fans of Ranger s Apprentice and the Chronicles of Narnia.
Subject:
The next great epic fantasy.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series:
The Inheritance Cycle
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
August 26, 2003
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects


Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Locked Case
Young Adult » General

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780375826689 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"This first novel is dynamite; it makes a great read for the young adult in you. This is a classic 'sword and sorcery novel' with a boy, a dragon, and a sword. Paolini's book is a little reminiscent of other books you may have read, but his own voice comes through. And I believe his voice will only get clearer as the trilogy progresses."

"Review" by , "[An] impressive epic fantasy....[Paolini's] use of language dispenses with the floral, pastoral touch in favor of more direct prose....An auspicious beginning to both career and series."
"Review" by , "An impressive start to a writing career that's sure to flourish."
"Review" by , "[A] vigorously written high fantasy epic....Legacies etched in stars and dreams guide his steps in this enchanting adventure. Eragon is highly recommended for dedicated fantasy enthusiasts."
"Review" by , "[A] solid, sweeping epic fantasy..."
"Review" by , "The empathetic characters and interesting plot twists will appeal to the legions of readers who have been captivated by the Lord of the Rings trilogy and are looking for more books like it."
"Review" by , "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
"Review" by , "A promising new author finds his literary legs in this engaging story....Overwritten action sequences and occasionally forced dialogue do not detract too much from the interesting and entertaining tale."
"Review" by , "Paolini takes a little Tolkien, a little McCaffrey, a coming-of-age quest, and combines them with some wicked good storytelling....Fantasy buffs will find themselves immersed in a world of magic and sword fighting...eagerly awaiting Book Two."
"Synopsis" by , One boy
One dragon
A world of adventure

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands...

"Synopsis" by ,
When magic sleeps, darkness awakens.
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