The Inheritance Cycle is a young adult tetralogy of epic fantasy novels written by American author Christopher Paolini. Set in the fictional world of Alagaësia (/æləˈɡeɪziə/), the novels focus on the adventures of a teenage boy named Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, as they struggle to overthrow the evil king Galbatorix. The series was originally intended to be a trilogy (named the “Inheritance Trilogy”) until Paolini announced on October 30, 2007, while working on the third novel, that he believed the story was too complex to conclude in just three books.
The first book in the series, Eragon, was originally self-published by Paolini in 2001, and subsequently re-published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers in 2003. Eldest was published by Knopf 2 years after its prequel, Eragon, in 2005. Both were New York Times bestsellers. The third book in the series, Brisingr, was published on September 20, 2008, and the fourth and final book, Inheritance, was released on November 8, 2011. The series has sold 33.5 million copies worldwide.
Eragon was originally self-published by Paolini’s family in 2001, as Paolini LLC, and re-published in 2003 by Knopf. In 2006, a feature film was released based on the first book in the cycle, Eragon, starring Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Djimon Hounsou. The film received generally negative reviews and closed as the 13th highest grossing fantasy-live action film within the United States.
Summary of Inheritance Cycle Book:
Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1:
Soon after the strange stone he found in the forest hatches a dragon, Eragon finds that his life has changed forever; his home is destroyed, the uncle who raised him is killed, and he and the dragon, Saphira, are forced to flee the minions of Galbatorix’s evil Empire. Accompanied by Brom the storyteller, Eragon discovers that he is the last of the Riders, who once kept the peace and were wiped out by Galbatorix.
While pursuing revenge against those who killed his uncle, Eragon learns to communicate telepathically with Saphira, and Brom begins teaching him the skills of fighting and magic. But soon Eragon realizes he is a pawn in a vast power struggle that is tearing the Empire apart, and that he and his dragon may be the ones to change the balance of power — if only they can find out whom to trust.
Includes map, pronunciation guide, and language glossary.
Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2:
Eldest picks up where Eragon left off, at the end of the battle between the Varden, aided by Eragon, Saphira, and their friends, and the evil emperor Galbatorix’s forces in Farthen Dûr. With barely time to mourn his fallen friends Eragon is first caught up in political intrigue among the humans, and between the humans, elves, and dwarves, and then sent across the empire to complete his training as a Rider with the elves in the vast forest of Du Weldenvarden.
At the same time, Eragon’s cousin Roran is sought by Galbatorix, who sends soldiers and two of the vicious Ra’zac to Carvahall, Eragon’s home. Roran leads the villagers in holding them off, but Roran’s fiancé is captured and the villagers are force to flee across the mountains, pursued all the way, to try to make their way by land and sea to Surda, the stronghold of the rebels.
As the story flips back and forth between Eragon and Roran we get to see both of them grow in maturity and power, Eragon as a result of his training with the last survivor of the old Riders, and Roran in a trial by fire as the de facto leader of his villagers fighting their way across the empire. These parallel streams, of course, converge in a climactic battle which once again ends the book.
Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3:
Eragon and Saphira struggle to fulfill the promises they have made: to help Roran rescue Katrina from the Ra’zac, to keep the Varden united and obey Nasuada, to complete their training with the elves, to repair the Dwarves’ star sapphire, to undo their spell on Elva, to support Orik, and to avenge Hrothgar, Garrow, and Kvistor.
Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4:
On the warpath with the Varden, determined to finally overthrow the evil King Galbatorix, Eragon and his bonded dragon, Saphira, find that they still have challenges to overcome before they’ll get their chance to confront the powerful monarch. The most important may be solving the cryptic words of the werecat Solembum, which send the pair on a side quest to the Dragon Riders’ ancestral (and long-destroyed) home after a strike at the heart of the Varden’s leadership puts the whole army in jeopardy. It will take all of Eragon’s skills — plus help from his many allies, including his cousin Roran, the elf maiden Arya, and the wise dragon Glaedr — to succeed against Galbatorix and his chief henchman, Eragon’s half-brother Murtagh.