Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elves and Dragons

By: ... Christopher Paolini
3 books of the Inheritance Cycle

Just before Christmas, I was invited to watch the movie Eregon. That wasn't something I'd normally have looked forward to, but the Christmas spirit (literally), good company and a relaxed atmosphere made it something I was prepared to put up with.

How wrong could I be! The film drew me in and I was thereby introduced to the Inheritance Cycle of books. Having seen the film, I was offered the Eregon and Eldest Omnibus to read and I devoured them. They were rollicking reads and I couldn't put them down.

The stories are based on a traditional battle between good and evil and involves dragons, elves, dwarves, Urgals, humans and magic in a land that has a passing resemblance to Middle Earth. As far as I can tell, the author was 19 when his first novel was published so it's forgiveable that there are some echoes of Tolkein's major works in here (they dispel as the books mature).

Eregon finds a Dragon egg, which hatches for him. This binds them together forever and Eregon becomes a Dragon Rider. He is trained by Brom who we find out later is an ex-Dragon Rider and founder of the Varden - determined to bring down the evil Galbatorix, who has wiped out all of the other Dragon Riders and who holds the Empire under his thumb.

Elves and Dwarves and their histories are intertwined throughout these three books. I've just finished the third - Brisingr - and whilst it's a little bit drawn out, it finishes on a high note, setting us up for a fabulous fourth book - coming soon.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Source - James Michener

This book was first published in the 60's. It had completely passed me by until it appeared in my Amazon 'Wish List' last year. I don't remember putting it there but must have because there it was.

Gail (Sis in law), bought it me for my birthday last December stating that she'd worked on a kibbutz close to where this fictional history takes place. Although fictional, it is built around historical fact and those thing history suggest.

Starting with Ur, a caveman the history races through thousands of years to finish with Israeli Independence in 1948. Despite the very tiny print and the fact that Michener's prose is not the easiest to read, I could not put the book down. I learned so much about the development of land and religion in the middle East - things I would not have known (or believed) without reading the book. Did you know that the Greeks held sway over what we knew as Palestine long before the Romans? Or, that pretty much all of Judaism was wiped out in the area only to be repopulated by later expulsions from Europe?

Well worth a read.

Honour and the Sword - A. L. Berridge

This has been a cracking read.

Following my disappointment with the Kuzneski book, I was looking forward to something as entertaining and riveting as other previous reads, which I have still to blog about :-(

This is Lousie Berridge's first novel but it's a humdinger of a read. In the book, set in the 30 years war that ravaged Europe in the 17th Century, a young French landowner (I suppose we'd call him a squire) becomes orphaned at a young age and we follow him through his growth to manhood. He is rewarded for his tenacity by the love and admiration of his people (his peasants I suppose).

I also like the fact that she's English, has obviously been to France and spells words like honour with a 'u', and not a 'gotten' to be found.

It looks, from the Berridge web site, that this is only the first of a yet to be written and published series following the young squire though this dangerous period of European history.

I'm looking forward to the next.

Wordle from next book (with the publisher)