Brisingr (Inheritance, Book 3)
by Christopher Paolini
read by Gerard Doyle
Produced by Listening Library, 2008

Well I thought I was finishing the last of the Christopher Paolini “Inheritance” series featuring, Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular (Brightscales), but no, there seems to be another in the works.  This is completely fine by me, because reading or listening to this series has been a lot of fun.  I still find it amazing that Paolini started writing this series while in his teens.  The language used in these books is every bit as much an equivalent to any of Tolkien’s works, or any other fantasy novel.  In fact just like many fantasy writers Paolini, took the time to create a couple of languages to make the Dwarves and Elves speak in an more realistic manner.

The “Inheritance” series follows the life of Eragon, a dragon rider, and Saphira, his dragon, as they grow together learning what it means to be a dragon rider, while at the same time fighting the evil King Galbatorix, who wants to be the only rider and ruler of the world.   In this book especially Eragon and Saphira learn what it means to be loyal, and to keep your promises.  In fact, the subtitle of this book was going to be, “The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular.”

The reader, Gerard Doyle, does a superb job reading this book and letting the listener know the difference between different characters talking or thinking as well as voicing the dragons.  I have to admit that I felt sorry for the abuse to Doyle’s throat when he voiced the dragons but I sure he can recover in time for the next book.  Doyle also provides the interesting pronunciation for the Elvish and Dwarvish language.  So if you read the book and wondered just how you could pronounce some of those words, get the audio book.

Brisingr focuses on the story of Eragon and his dragon Saphira  as they continue their quest to overthrow the corrupt ruler of the Empire, Galbatorix. Eragon is one of the last remaining Dragon Riders, a group that governed and protected the land of Alagaësia. Brisingr  begins just 4 days after the preceding novel “Eldest” concludes, finding Eragon, newly reunited with his cousin, Roran, just outside of  Helgrind, the sanctuary of the Ra’zac. There they rescue Roran’s fiance, Katrina, who was being held prisoner, and kill one of the Ra’zac. Saphira, Roran, and Katrina return to the Varden, while Eragon stays behind to kill the remaining Ra’zac and to deal with Katrina’s traitorous father. Once he returns to the Varden, Eragon discovers that Katrina is pregnant with Roran’s child and a wedding is arranged, which Eragon is to conduct. Just before it begins, a small force of enchanted troops, that feel no pain, attack alongside Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn. Elven spell-casters aid Eragon and Saphira and cause Murtagh and Thorn to flee, winning the battle. After the fight, Roran marries Katrina. The leader of the Varden, Nasuada, then orders Eragon to attend the election of the new dwarf king in the Beor Mountains. Once among the dwarves, Eragon is the target of a failed assassination, found to be the work of the dwarf clan Az Sweldn rak Anhûin, whom the dwarf Orik then forces into exile. Having earned the sympathies of the dwarves, Orik is elected the new king.

After Orik’s coronation, Eragon and Saphira return to the elven capital Ellesméra to train. There, the elf Oromis and his dragon Glaedr reveal that Eragon’s deceased mentor, Brom, is Eragon’s father. Glaedr also reveals the source of Galbatorix’s power: Eldunarí, or heart of hearts. While not a dragon’s actual heart, an Eldunarí allows the holder to communicate with or draw energy from the dragon it belongs to, even if the dragon is deceased. Galbatorix spent years collecting Eldunarya, and forcing the deceased dragons to channel their energy to him through their Eldunarí thus the reason Galbatorix is so powerful. After training, Eragon visits an Elven blacksmith, Rhunön, who helps Eragon forge a Rider sword. Before Eragon and Saphira depart to the Varden, Oromis says that the time has come for him and Glaedr to openly oppose the Empire in combat alongside the queen of the elves, Islanzadí. Thus, Glaedr gives his Eldunarí to Eragon and Saphira before they part.

Meanwhile, Roran is sent on various missions as part of the military force of the Varden. One of the targets is a convoy of supply wagons guarded by enchanted soldiers. The unit suffers extreme casualties, and the commander is replaced after losing his hand. During a mission to take back a Surdan city, plans made by the new commander almost cause the operation to fail, but Roran gives new orders. Despite saving the mission, Roran is charged with insubordination and is flogged as a punishment. After the public whipping, Nasuada promotes Roran to commander and sends his unit on a mission. He leaves in command of a group of both men and Urgals to enforce the idea of men and Urgals working together. When his squad returns to the Varden, they join the siege of Feinster, a city in the Empire.

The battle ensues and as I said in the beginning what I thought was the final book is not, and Paolini leaves the final battle between the Varden and the Empire, and, of course, between Galbatorix and Eragon for the next book.

In this audio book is a bonus interview between Paolini and his editor, in which he reveals that this book was originally planned as the final but that the adventures just could not all be told in one volume.  Hopefully we’ll have the next book soon.

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