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Eragon is the first novel in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, who began writing at the age of 15. After writing the first draft for a year, he spent a second year rewriting it and fleshing out the story and characters. Paolini's parents saw the final manuscript and decided to self-publish Eragon. Paolini spent a year traveling around the United States promoting the novel. By chance, the book was discovered by Carl Hiaasen, who got it re-published by Alfred A. Knopf. The re-published version was released on August 26, 2003.
The book tells the story of a young farm boy named Eragon, who finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. A dragon he later names Saphira hatches from the stone, which was really an egg. When the evil King Galbatorix finds out about Eragon and his dragon, he sends his servants, the Ra'zac, after them in an effort to capture them. Eragon and Saphira are forced to flee from their hometown, and decide to search for the Varden, a group of rebels who want to see the downfall of Galbatorix.
Critiques of Eragon often pointed out the similarities to other works such as Earthsea and Dragonlance. Reviews also called the book a notable achievement for such a young author as Paolini. Eragon was the third-best-selling children's hardback book of 2003, and the second-best-selling paperback of 2005. It placed on the New York Times Children's Books Best Seller list for 121 weeks. Eragon was adapted into a feature film of the same name that was released on December 15, 2006.