The Inheritance Cycle
by Christopher Paolini -- of which Brisingr
is the latest -- shows every sign of becoming one of the most exuberant and entertaining fiction sequences in modern writing, with a scope and ambition that genuinely takes the breath away. This is a fantasy world which is cleverly designed to appeal to the widest possible range of readership; the inevitable echoes of JRR Tolkien are transformed into something rich and strange here, and the events of the earlier books are being drawn together in the later developments with masterly assurance.
After the massive, punishing battle against the Warriors of the Empire, Eragon and Saphira are licking their wounds, having barely survived. The Rider and his dragon have an oath to fulfil; they must aid Katrina in escaping the most terrible danger. What follows is an epic journey, quite as action-packed and vividly described as anything in fantasy fiction. As in all the best such literature, the odds are overwhelming, nothing can be taken at face value, and the evil forces ranged against the protagonists are as vile as one could wish.
Christopher Paolini clearly now feels that he has readers securely in his pocket, and is prepared to take his time to achieve some of his best effects -- a tactic that pays dividends. So often with fantasy fiction, outlandish situations are relied upon to carry the action, and there is no shortage of them here. But Paolini is canny enough to realise that the characterisation of an endangered protagonist is crucial to maintain our involvement, and (as in previous books), he always takes care of business in this regard. Don't be put off by the daunting length of this book -- Paolini justifies every word in Brisingr. You'll find yourself reading it as quickly as many a shorter book. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to the
PRAISE FOR ERAGON:
'A winner ... tip of the hat to young master Paolini'
" (Anne McCaffrey, author of The Dragonriders of Pern series
"'A compelling and action-filled adventure . . . a galloping good example of its genre'" (Daily Telegraph
"'This book is an achievement. Readers . . . will be transported'" (Sunday Times
"'A portrayal of true affection between boy and dragon ... Paolini writes like someone gripped by his own story'" (Guardian
"'A stirring fantasy of epic proportions'" (The Bookseller