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Christopher Paolini Books In Order

Publication Order of Inheritance Cycle Books

Eragon (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eldest (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Brisingr (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Inheritance (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Growing up in the majestic beauty of Paradise Valley, Montana, it is easy to see how a young imaginative mind would be influenced to write of a mythical community bound by natural surroundings. This is how Christopher Paolini emerged as a writer, coupled with his love of adventurous epic stories. All his life he was raised in this idyllic setting. Christopher and his younger sister Angela were homeschooled by their parents: Talita Hodgkinson and Kenneth Paolini, and at the young age of fifteen, Christopher graduated from high school through correspondence education.

About Christopher Paolini

Early Writing

Christopher’s love of literature developed from J.R.R. Tolkien, well acclaimed author of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the author of the epic poem Beowulf E.R.Eddison. Paolini’s first book, Eragon, was specifically inspired by the work of Bruce Coville. Stories about elves raising dragons is inherent in Frank Herbert’s influences as well. For setting, Paolini only had to look at his natural surroundings, as he hand drew the maps that would grace his books and become the mythical land of Alagaesia.

When Christopher realized he really wanted to write like his favorite authors, he studied everything he could about the craft of good writing, particularly fantasy fiction for young adults. He planned out the whole series in a few months and started on his first draft of the first book, which would set the tone, scope and theme of the entire trilogy he had in mind. After a year, he was ready to show his parents; his first editors and critics.

Before finishing high school 2002, Paolini began his reworking on the first in a series of fantasy stories set in his imaginative kingdom. What eventually emerged was Eragon, a story deliberately set with the archetypal ingredients of a fantasy book. What began at age 14 grew into the first book in a series he finally named The Inheritance Tetrology. Through rewriting, often by hand, and meticulous historical research and referencing, Christopher stirred up all the elements of a great book – a quest, revenge, betrayal, romance, experiences of adventure, a unique ancient language, and a “special” sword. Throw in a perfect best friend companion, a female of another species, as loyal as any young reader would relish, and the ingredients are all there for literary success.

“Write what you know” is the mantra of successful authors. And Christopher Paolini developed his main character, Eragon, much after himself, an adolescent boy growing up in a beautiful landscape. In the story, Eragon is a young farmboy living in a mountainous region. He finds a mysterious stone and from it emerges a dragon he names Saphira, who becomes his best friend. Together they learn that an evil King sent his servants to try and capture them, but instead the two flee and search out a group of rebels, the Varden, they believe will help them escape King Galbatorix and his claim on them.

Publishing

Many emerging authors, particularly young ones know, that getting published can be the greatest challenge after completing a work. But Christopher Paolini, and his family, was very determined to see his book succeed. With his parents’ help, they self-published the novel in their own small company. Sister Angela drew the artwork for the first edition cover and was sure to include Saphira’s eye. The hand- drawn maps were included as well because readers needed to follow the adventure in a visual way. Christopher was particularly proud of Eragon’s name. Not only does it draw on “dragon” except for one letter, but in two parts it is “era” and “gone” which invoke images of a time long ago. Coming up with clever names for places and characters plagued Christopher as he wrote, and he would spend days playing with a concept before deciding on a moniker.

Once the book emerged as an entity, the promotion began. Christopher wanted to attract attention in the schools, libraries and bookstores he and his family attended, so he did so in medieval costume – black billowy pants, lace up leather boots, red shirt and a jaunty black cap. At each stop he discussed writing and reading, and worked diligently at selling his book one copy at a time. Exhausting…but it paid off. One of his customers was the stepson of bestselling author Carl Hiaasen. The young reader loved the book and brought it to Carl’s attention, who in turn, brought it to his own publishers. In 2003, Alfred A. Knopf published a second edition of Eragon, with new artwork on the cover, and an offer to publish the rest of the Inheritance cycle. By age 19, Christopher Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author.

The Inheritance Cycle

Christopher went back to writing. With great vigor he completed the next book in the series, Eldest in 2005, and a few years later in 2008, Brisingr. What began as a trilogy, actually grew to a fourth book, Inheritance as Paolini had more story to tell, loose ends of plot to tie up, and characters who had grown and developed. He continued to draw on inspiration from other authors of this genre. Eragon’s powerful sword theme comes from The Craft of the Japanese Sword, by Hiroko Kapp, and as a huge “Doctor Who” fan, he references the “lonely god” and settings from the popular series.

Films

In 2008, Christopher Paolini sold the rights for Eragon to be made into a film. Fans of the book however, agreed that the film kept closely to the story and Paolini himself enjoyed it, particularly the portrayals by actors Jeremy irons and Ed Speleers. Film critics found it unoriginal, drawing too much on previous similar films such as Star Wars, but audiences felt it was full of what young boys adventurers are made of. It grossed approximately $173 million worldwide, and made it the second highest grossing film featuring a dragon as a main character.

Future Plans

Paolini’s drive, creativity and determination have paid off. By 2011 his books had sold over 33 million worldwide, which makes him a young author or considerable merit. Critics sometimes discuss Paolini’s work as derivative, being too influenced by popular fantasy fiction, but find the achievements of such a young first time author remarkable. In 2003, Eragon was the third bestselling children’s book which led to awards for young authors of children’s literature.

He continues to write, and has been discussing plans for more science fiction novels in recent interviews.

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