Eragon. Eldest. Brisingr. Inheritance. We of course know these titles as the four wonderful volumes of the Inheritance Cycle. Since the Cycle concluded nearly four years ago, fans have been anxiously waiting for a fifth book set in the world of Alagaësia. Author Christopher Paolini has already confirmed he plans to write a new story and has given it the codename of “Book V.”
But, did you know that Christopher has already written a fifth book about our beloved fantasy world travelled by Eragon? Today we’re going to take a look at Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia, a fascinating companion book to the world of the Cycle full of exciting art, history and even some secrets that might help us in our quest to unravel the mysteries of the aforementioned Book V. Shown from the perspective of Eragon, this beautiful hardback tome serves as a valuable resource of both visual and written information for any adventurer of Alagaësia.
From cover to cover, Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia treats us to a trove of incredible artwork and drawings, bringing words from the pages of the Inheritance Cycle to life before our eyes. Detailed drawings of the races of Alagaësia show us truly how much taller Urgals are than Dwarves. Portraits of Gods, Kings and Queens give a face to some of the most revered legends that the realm has known. We can even see what a set of the dwarven weapon Ascûdgamln, or “fists of steel” look like which were featured in our Top Ten Weapons list. The book also includes a bit of a bestiary for the creatures of Alagaësia, with information on size and abilities of little known animals such as the wind-viper Fanghur.
Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia is also loaded with artwork showing off beautiful landscapes and cities from the world. From the dark, dripping Dras-Leona to the docile greenery of Palancar Valley, the landscape of Alagaësia is both varied and detailed. Even mysterious natural phenomena such as the Boar’s Eye whirlpool are given imagery. Fun Fact: Christopher’s art directly inspired many of the illustrations in the guide. Another Fun Fact: Some of the art included in the book is used for the themes of this website and Paolini.net!
The valuable information in this book doesn’t just stop at the artwork. There is a significant amount of text and lore scattered across the wide and glossy pages which can educate even the most wizened of Inheritance Cycle readers. One can study Alagaësian botany with facts and properties of plants, herbs and roots of the world, including a detailed history and display of the ever-mysterious Menoa Tree. (One wonders how much of this vegetative content came from Angela!) Fans of all things elves will be introduced to lessons on elf weaponry, skills, music, clothing and celebrations! The same goes for the other three prime races of Alagaësia (dwarves, humans and Urgals). There are even fold out tip guides for learning important phrases in the Elvish and Dwarvish languages. A historical timeline also gives us a glimpse into the creation of civilization and Galbatorix’s formation of the Forsworn.
Beyond Word and Picture
Have you ever wondered what a Feldûnost’s fur feels like? How about a dragon’s wing? Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia is full of fun, creative three-dimensional goodies that are a delight for those looking for an even more immersive book experience. Throughout the sections of the guide, there are several bits of life around Alagaësia that allow us to use our imaginations to dive further into the fantasy setting of the Cycle. We are given our own sample of dust from the Isidar Mithrim star sapphire, a swatch of elven fabric, and even a secret token that Eragon took from Ellesméra to remind him of Arya! Perhaps the most fun added element is a “set” of dragon knucklebones and rune guide so you can tell a friend’s fortune just as Angela did for Eragon. There are even more special physical elements but to reveal them would ruin some of the surprise!
Tucked neatly inside the front and back covers of Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia are two letters written by the Shadeslayer himself. Serving as respective de facto introductions and conclusions to the book, Eragon’s letters to the reader help set the tone for the value of the information contained within its pages as well as word of the potential future of Alagaësia.
A theme of both of the letters is that Eragon and Saphira are off on an adventure of “utmost importance”, during an “unsettled time” leaving you, the reader, to study up on the book’s crucial information for later use as a Dragon Rider. One could even wonder, what if this book was written to a new Dragon Rider for Book V and beyond? Eragon even mentions that he will train this new Shur’tugal when he and Saphira return from their mysterious task. The first letter also speaks of an “unnamed shadow” that roams the realm. Could this possibly refer to the next big conflict in the world of Alagaësia that we could see in Book V? Christopher has even said in a recent Q&A session that the forces of light and shadow will again battle in the next story.
Eragon’s closing letter also contains a valuable gift from him to the new Rider that could potentially be needed to surge forward in the fight to protect Alagaësia.
If you’re interested in discovering this book for yourself, Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia can be found here.
Now we ask: Have you read Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia? If so, what are your favorite parts from the book? Do you think there are any other secrets hidden inside that might hint towards future books?