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Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01)

by

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01) Cover

ISBN13: 9780375840548
ISBN10: 0375840540
Condition: Standard
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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 4 comments:

Sillyhead, February 16, 2007 (view all comments by Sillyhead)
This book took too long to get where it was going, though it impressed me a great deal as a first book by a very young writer. Now that I have read many fantasy genre books, I am disappointed to see how much of this, and even more of his second book, ELDEST, were outright plagerism (only the names have been changed, and at that, not much) taken directly from Star Wars by way of LOTR. Save your money. Go for something original, without a powerhouse machine set up to push it. I highly recommend FABLEHAVEN by Brandon Mull. It has had virtually no press or push, (a small publishing house) but is a far better read.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
my name is jonas, January 11, 2007 (view all comments by my name is jonas)
This was a great book. Actually, I listened to the unabridged book on tape (first time i've ever done that) and found it thoroughly enchanting. I looked forward to it every time I got in the car. I read it again much later, and while I still enjoyed it, it's not the best fantasy novel I've ever read (i.e. it's not LOTR). But, for a 15 year old, the writing is very good. The sequal (Eldest) is better than Eragon and I will be very curious to see how Paolini finishes out the series.
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(12 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
my name is jonas, January 11, 2007 (view all comments by my name is jonas)
what i like is that Mcknight689 (poster below) gives away some very big secrets. great help if you've never read the book. way to go. jerk.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375840548
Author:
Paolini, Christopher
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Dragons
Subject:
Movie Tie - In
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Movie / TV Tie-In
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Media Tie-In
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Magic
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
The Inheritance Cycle
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
20061024
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
7.96x5.32x1.14 in. .87 lbs.
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » General
Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #01) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780375840548 Reviews:
"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 , 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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 , 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...

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