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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 11 comments:

BlackFairyDust01, February 3, 2008 (view all comments by BlackFairyDust01)
I loved the book! The movie sucks so if you haven't watched it yet, lucky you!
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(14 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)
Angel of Starlight, December 9, 2007 (view all comments by Angel of Starlight)
True though it is that Tolkien set the standard for modern fantasy, I have never encountered an author who borrowed so heavily from him as Paolini. Really, it is laughable that the publishers went ahead with this novel. Laughable, and also rather pathetic....
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(18 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)
naomi0040, November 23, 2007 (view all comments by naomi0040)
The plot was good and I liked how it twisted, but the book could have done with a little less tedious dialogue.Overall, the book was good...not great, but good.
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(23 of 40 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375826696
Author:
Paolini, Christopher
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author:
Jobling, Curtis
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:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;inheritance cycle;coming of age;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;science fiction;high fantasy;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;inheritance cycle;coming of age;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;science fiction;high fantasy;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;inheritance cycle;coming of age;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;science fiction;high fantasy;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;inheritance cycle;coming of age;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;science fiction;high fantasy;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;coming of age;inheritance cycle;movie;children;war;trilogy;action;quest;high fantasy;inheritance trilogy;science fiction;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;coming of age;inheritance cycle;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;high fantasy;science fiction;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;coming of age;inheritance cycle;movie;children;war;action;trilogy;high fantasy;inheritance trilogy;quest;science fiction;young adult ficti
Subject:
fantasy;fiction;dragons;young adult;magic;ya;adventure;dragon;elves;eragon;novel;dwarves;inheritance;teen;children s;coming of age;inheritance cycle;movie;war;children;trilogy;action;quest;inheritance trilogy;high fantasy;science fiction;young adult ficti
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st U.S. paperback e
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
The Inheritance Cycle
Series Volume:
3
Publication Date:
April 26, 2005
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
800
Dimensions:
34 x 10 x 10 in 17.2 lb
Age Level:
12-17

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Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 800 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780375826696 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the first volume in Paolini's planned Inheritance trilogy, 15-year-old Eragon discovers an odd blue gemstone while exploring an infamous stretch of forest. It is a dragon egg, fated to hatch in his care. Eragon quickly develops a psychic connection with the female dragon that emerges, whom he names Saphira ('His emotions were completely open to her mind, and she understood him better than anyone else'). Eragon narrowly escapes doom with Saphira's help, but the uncle who raised him is killed, setting up a robust revenge/adventure tale. The scope quickly expands: Eragon turns out to be the first of a new generation of Riders, a lodge of legendary dragon-riding warriors killed by the evil King Galbatorix. As a result, he becomes the focal point in a war between Galbatorix's forces and the resistance efforts of the Varden. Paolini, who was 15 years old himself when he began this book, takes the near-archetypes of fantasy fiction and makes them fresh and enjoyable, chiefly through a crisp narrative and a likable hero. He carries a substantial Tolkien influence — fanciful spellings of geographical names, the use of landscape as character, as well as the scale and structure of the story itself. But his use of language dispenses with the floral, pastoral touch in favor of more direct prose. The likeness does not end there: the volume opens with a detailed map of Paolini's world, and ends with a glossary and pronunciation guide for his invented language. An auspicious beginning to both career and series." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An authentic work of great talent."
"Review" by , "An impressive start to a writing career that's sure to flourish."
"Review" by , "[A] solid, sweeping epic fantasy..."
"Review" by , "Paolini manages to combine his own characters with prototypical plot developments in relatively original ways, and makes up for all the scene-setting with a rousing battlefield payoff. That should be enough to satisfy the insatiable appetites of hardcore fantasy readers..."
"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 , "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."
"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] 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 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 , "Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic with his precocious debut."
"Review" by , "The magical journey of Eragon...should appeal to Lord of the Rings fans and Harry Potter readers. Like many fans of fantasy books, I can't wait until Paolini's next book comes out."
"Synopsis" by , This deluxe edition of Eragon includes an excerpt from Eldest, the next volume in the Inheritance trilogy; an exclusive foldout map of Alagaesia; never-before-seen art by the author depicting Zar'roc, Eragon's sword; and an expanded pronunciation guide to the Ancient and Dwarf languages.
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback!

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.

"Synopsis" by , US
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