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The novel takes place in a land known as Alaga, which is ruled by the evil king, Galbatorix, once a dragon rider who became corrupted upon denial of a second dragon. It begins with a 15 year old boy, Eragon, who is hunting in the Spine, a range of mountains near the village Carvahall, in hope of selling the meat to aid his family. Upon pursuit of a deer, he is led to a mysterious blue stone, which he takes thinking it would be worth some money when traded.
After being unable to sell or trade his find, Eragon soon witnesses a baby dragon hatch from inside the “stone.”
In this world dragons are a species that had been thought of to be extinct, with the exception of Galbatorix’s dragon. He raises the dragon in secret, until two hooded figures, the Ra’zac, enter the town looking for the mysterious blue stone. Eragon and Saphira, as he names the dragon, manage to escape unharmed by hiding in the forest, but Eragon’s uncle is not as fortunate.
The Ra`zac kill his uncle and completely destroy the house. Remembering tales of the past, Eragon believes it is his responsibility to become a dragon rider, ancient warriors who were slaughtered by Galbatorix in his rise to power. Accompanied by Brom, a mysterious storyteller of the village who knows much about dragon riders, magic and sword fighting, Eragon learns the ways of a dragon rider as they track down the Ra`zac for revenge.
With the help of an old friend in the town known as Teirm, Brom is led to the conclusion that the Ra’zac are in Dras-Leona. However, they do not get revenge in Dras-Leona; he Saphira and Brom instead fall into the Ra`zac’s ambush. Once captured, they are rescued by a stranger, Murtagh. Unfortunately, Brom is gravely injured, protecting Eragon from a fatal blow in the chest before the rescue. He soon dies, but not before revealing himself to dragon first. Eragon is shocked to know that Brom was a dragon rider who had lost his dragon in battle. With a new companion, Murtagh, the three travel in search of the hidden Varden, a strong rebel group which Brom had mentioned to him earlier.
On the way, Eragon has many dreams about an elf, all of which show her suffering great pain. Eragon is soon captured, and luckily, imprisoned in the same prison where the elf is being held captive. Murtagh and Saphira attempt a daring rescue and Eragon manages to escape with the elf but it doesn’t happen without an incident. Eragon and Murtagh have a face off with a Shade – one of the most powerful creatures in the land. The fact that a Shade is walking freely through the land leads Eragon to believe that Galbarotix is up to a horrible plan, allying himself with the one of the foulest creatures of the land.
The young dragon rider, Eragon faces many perils on his way to Varden, especially an army of Urgals that chase them. Once inside the Varden’s fortress Eragon learns of the pact between the elfs, dwarves and the Varden, and exactly how Saphira’s egg was transported to the Spine. The group is able to rest for a few days, but attack from the army of Urgals is expected. An intercepted message from Galbarotix confirms their worries that the king is involved. In the battle that follows, an endless army of Urgals seem certain to capture the fortress, before Eragon has a chance to destroy the Shade, Durza but with a price. He is given a terrible wound on his back that leaves him disfigured. With the death of the Shade, a spell from the Urgals seems to have lifted, and the armies of Urgals begin to attack each other, making it much easier for the Varden to step in and ultimately win the fight. As the novel comes to an end, we learn that Eragon will be sent under training of the elves, in the sequel, Eldest.
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