Darkness falls . . . Despair abounds . . . Evil reigns . . .
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn't sure whom he can trust.
Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall - one that puts Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life . . .
This phone-book size second helping in Paolini's planned Inheritance Trilogy picks up with the battle-scarred but conquering hero, first introduced in Eragon, and his dragon, Saphira. As the novel opens, the two are neck-deep in political intrigue over choosing a successor to replace Ajihad, the Varden's slain leader. The scope of the story expands when Eragon and Arya, the elfin ambassador he not-so-secretly lusts after, head to Ellesm ra so he can complete his training as a Rider. Eragon's cousin, Roran, makes a more perilous journey, leading the townspeople of Carvahall in pursuit of the villain Galbatorix and his cronies, who have kidnapped Roran's fianc e hoping to bait Eragon and Saphira. The narrative shifts occasionally to follow the troubles plaguing Nasuada, Ajihad's daughter, who now leads the Varden. Fans of the first volume will find even more of the same here: a wealth of descriptive detail, mythic archetypes and prolonged battle sequences. Here, the inspiration sometimes seems less Tolkien than Star Wars (Eragon says "Yes, Master" frequently). The most affecting element remains the tender relationship between dragon and Rider, and teens will empathize as the object of Eragon's affection (repeatedly) spurns him, his teacher humbles him and he struggles with questions about God and vegetarianism. Readers who persevere are rewarded with walloping revelations in the final pages, including the meaning of the title and the identity of the red dragon on the cover. The story leaves off with a promise To Be Continued. Ages 12-up.