Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, and illustrator John Jude Palencar. Paolini, born in 1983, wrote the novel while still in his teens. After writing the first draft for a year, Paolini spent a second year rewriting and fleshing out the story and characters. His parents saw the final manuscript and in 2001 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 farm boy named Eragon, who finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. Not knowing the stone's origin or worth, he attempts to use it as payment to a butcher. A dragon he later names Saphira hatches from the stone, which was really an egg. When the evil King Galbatorix finds out the general location of the egg he sends the Ra'zac to acquire it. By that time Saphira had been growing for a while and takes Eragon to the Spine after Ra'zac appear in their village Carvahall. Eragon and Saphira are forced to flee from their hometown, with a storyteller called Brom, and decide to search for the Varden, a group of rebels who want the downfall of Galbatorix.
Critics of Eragon often point out its similarities to other works such as Earthsea, Dragonlance, and Star Wars. Reviewers have 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 and was adapted as a feature film of the same name that was released on December 15, 2006.