Tag Archives: epic fantasy

Book Review: Pawn of Prophecy

Book Name: Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
First Published: 1982

Author David Eddings grew up in Snohomish, Washington, a small town near Seattle. He displayed a talent for drama and literature, winning a national oratorical contest and acting in lead roles in junior college plays. He graduated from Reed College of Portland, Oregon in 1954. He was working on a novel that he thought would be his thesis for the university when he was drafted into the US. Army. He served his country until 1956 and moved on to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle. He gained his MA in 1961 and moved on to a job in purchasing at Boeing Aircraft, a large company in the area. It is there that he met his wife Judith Leigh Schall and he and Leigh would remain married for 45 years until a stroke took her life.

Eddings moved on from Boeing to become a tenured college professor for seven years, but in a fit of frustration, he quit his job due to a lack of a pay raise. He and his wife moved to Denver, Colorado where he took a job at a grocery store to make a living. It was during this time that he turned to writing and began work on a series of novels. After a time in Denver, he moved back to Washington, this time to Spokane. It is here where Eddings turned his attention to writing in earnest.

In Spokane, Eddings came across a copy of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in a bookstore. He realized that the book was in its 78th printing and this fact made him sit up and re-evaluate his writing. He realized that there could be a larger market for fantasy novels than the coming of age books he had previously written. He pulled out an old doodle of a map he had scribbled a few years ago and this became the basis for the fantasy world of Aloria, the setting of the Belgariad Series.

The Belgariad is the first of Edding’s epic fantasy series. It has five volumes, each title a combination of a fantasy term and a chess term. Pawn of Prophecy is the first book. With the success of The Belgariad Series, Eddings went on to write another five volume sequel series called The Malloreon. Both series proved to be wildly popular and helped to shape the trope of epic fantasy that holds today.

Leigh Eddings is credited with being a co-author in the later novels concerning the Sorceress Polgara, but according to David Eddings, his wife was active as a co-author in all of his fantasy novels. He used her guidance with the female characters to make them more believable. He would have credited her sooner for her work, but Lester Del Rey allegedly did not like the idea, believing that a single author’s name on the books was a better selling point.

David Eddings continued to write his fantasy novels until his death of natural causes in 2009. His manuscripts and other written works have been donated to Reed University along with a sizable grant to fund “students and faculty studying languages and literature”.

“But there’s a world beyond what we can see and touch, and that world lives by its own laws. What may be impossible in this very ordinary world is very possible there, and sometimes the boundaries between the two worlds disappear, and then who can say what is possible and impossible?”
― David Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy begins with a prologue about the creation of the world Aloria by the seven gods. One of them fashions an orb and puts inside it a “living soul”. The Orb of Aldur is coveted by the god Torak. The Orb is guarded by King Cherek’s family, who have the ability to hold the object.

The story is told via the eyes of young Garion, a farm boy. An old man named Belgarath, nicknamed “the wolf” arrives at Faldor Farm and enlists the help of Garion, his Aunt Pol, and Durnik the blacksmith to go out in search of a missing object. Unknown to Garion, this is the Orb of Aldur, a powerful and magical object lost to the King’s family. The group has many adventures and eventually grows to include a Drasnian Prince, an Algarian Prince, and a Cherek Earl.

During the many trials that Garion experiences, he hears a dry voice in his mind. As time goes on, Garion learns that this is the Voice of Prophecy, or “Necessity”, which is taking action through him. He is but a pawn to its will. Who is Garion? What is his connection to Aunt Pol and to the thief known as Wolf? It seems that there is more to this farmboy than what meets the eye.

Book Cover Pawn of ProphecyBack in my school days, The Belgariad Series was considered one of those “must-reads” of the fantasy genre. Although today we would consider the storyline to be a classic “chosen one” Hero’s Journey with all the cliches of the genre, at the time, it was breaking fresh ground. I remember reading the series in junior high school with pleasure and went on to read the sequel series as well. It reminded me of Tolkien’s Lord of the Kings, but without the heavy literature quality.

I found the young farm boy Garion likable and the story engaging, with a good balance of humor and intricate world building. While Eddings prose is not particularly deep, it is still a good yarn that is clean enough to recommend to younger readers.

In particular, I like that Eddings created a strong female lead in “Aunt Polgara”. Polgara is a powerful sorceress and of good character. She was one of the first strong female lead characters to come out in the 1980s fantasy, but certainly was not the last! I had not realized at the time that Polgara was a particular creation of Edding’s wife since she was not given co-author credit during the 1980s, but her input is certainly felt with Polgara and her viewpoints.

If you are an adult and are considering reading this classic series, I believe that it holds its own for adults looking for a clean fantasy with less gratuitous violence. While more YA in nature, it is a good read for all ages.

The Belgariad Series

Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
Queen of Sorcery (1982)
Magician’s Gambit (1983)
Castle of Wizardry (1984)
Enchanters’ End Game (1984)

Author Interview: Pat Harris

She’s been called a “Dragon Writer” and has learned to embrace it with the heart of a dragon — bold, colorful and a bit mischievous. Pat Harris crafts epic high fantasy/science fiction tales, delving deep into the realm of fantasy while dancing on the blade’s edge of science—passionate, provocative, and faith-based. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Pat HarrisMy name is Pat Harris and I hail from Michigan. Besides being an author, I am vice president of my husband’s software development company, Harris Technologies, Inc. http://www.ht-audio.com and http://www.ht-locus.com I have been a presenter at women’s conferences and participated in inner city ministries. My passions are writing, hiking, cycling and toying with photography. I love exploring the outdoors and discovering secret places (and the magical creatures hiding in them). I also enjoy cooking and baking. I have hundreds of cookbooks and have collected thousands of recipes. I’ve even made a number of them. I have a love/hate relationship with gardening. I blame it on gnomes. Currently, I’m attempting to learn Irish Dancing, but it appears I may need to enlist the aid of a leprechaun.

When and why did you begin writing?

In Second Grade, I quickly became disenchanted with our basic reader: ‟See Spot. See Spot jump.” I thought, ‟I can do better than that!” But I didn’t start writing in earnest until High School as a requirement for a College-prep English class, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve written on and off ever since, mainly poetry and essays, but the passion of writing as a career gripped me only a few years ago—and it hasn’t let go since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer while working on my first book, Sheep Tales, What If We Really Were Sheep? Sheep Tales is a collection of short stories based on the parables of the Christian Bible. The book came about as a result of my involvement with an inner-city children’s ministry and was written in response to the difficult and heart-rending questions those precious children ask. Since it’s written for the young—and young-at-heart—I needed to incorporate a lot of humor while dealing with serious topics, which made the writing challenging. But the process was thoroughly enjoyable and inscribed in my mind that I was indeed an author.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

New Hope Chronicles is an epic fantasy/scifi novel series packed with spaceships that travel the galaxy by song, sorcerers, dragons, castles, mysterious new worlds, and dangerous and beautiful aliens. There are passionate love stories, terrifying alien beasts, good guys with pulse guns and—of course—swords. Book one of the series, Dragon Flame, is the story of Alin, who is desperately trying to escape his dark and dangerous past. He takes a lowly position aboard Earth’s premier starship hoping it will take him to the far side of the galaxy where he can hide forever. But someone knows exactly where he is and gives him a large, mysterious egg. The egg hatches, the bad guys catch up and danger explodes around him. He finds himself ensnared in the thick of things and facing impossible odds at the crux of a brutal war. New Hope, Dragon Flame is full of thrills, chills, tears and laugh-out-loud humor. It’s epic length, faith-based and written for the Young Adult age group. However, young teens to mature adults have enjoyed it.

What inspired you to write this book?

The concept of the New Hope series started as a dream—no, I mean a real dream—and as what my husband, David, and I call, ‟downloads” of inspiration. David is incredibly talented and contributes much to the inspiration and story of New Hope. We have always loved fantasy and science fiction and it seems only right to delve into the mysterious and mystical fantasy/scifi world to share inspiration and excitement with others.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer a conversational style. My characters prefer to win your heart themselves, so I try not to interfere. I also enjoy injecting humor since humor is a ‟window to the soul.” I like big, big books that lure you into the story and coax you into falling in hopeless love with the characters and their magical, dangerous worlds—and never let go. And New Hope Chronicles is exactly that.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

In the world of New Hope, the premier spaceship of the galaxy is called the Earth Ship (E.S.) New Hope. And as Trekkies say, ‟These are the voyages of…” the E.S. New Hope, chronicled for your enjoyment. Dragon Flame refers to a mysterious prophecy in book 1 that a hero would birth from the flame of a dragon in a blood sky.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

From one of my promos: When darkness covers the world and deep darkness covers the people, when power resides with evil men and all that is good draws to an end, there is still hope. There is always hope.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Heavens no! I’d loathe to endure what I put my characters through. (Grins mischievously.) And, unfortunately, space travel as chronicled in the New Hope series is still some time off. But someday… I believe the color of every character is stippled by the author’s own heart and soul, and that is true of my characters as well.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Christopher Paolini and Stephanie Meyer. But not the Grimm brothers—they’re freaky creepy. Definitely not the Grimms. Well, okay, and the Grimms. JK has won nearly every writing award there is. I like to study her style, and particularly the way she develops a big story over many pages. I admire Tolkien and Lewis for their unbridled imaginations and imagery; Twain for his humor and style; Paolini for his portrayal of dragons, dwarves Elves, and his use of the English language; and, Meyer for her voice and her portrayal of a ‟dangerous” love story. And the Grimms for their grimness. (Shuddering unabashedly.)

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

My high school English teacher, Helen Rendell, who was also an author, though not well known, was perhaps my most influential mentor. She inspired and encouraged me to start on my writing journey. I learned a lot of the basics from her.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

David Harris is my illustrator, and my husband. You can see some of his work at our website: http://www.NewHopeChronicles.com More will be forthcoming in the future.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn the mechanics of writing well. There’s more to storytelling than crafting a good story idea. Crafting the telling of the story is vital, too. Write your heart and write it well.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I am honored to to present New Hope Chronicles to you. I hope it touches your heart, makes you shiver, shudder, laugh and cry—and crave more. Lots more. (wink) And I hope you will come to see that no matter how bad things may become, there truly is hope. There is always hope.

Book Cover Dragon FlamePat Harris
Southwestern Michigan


New Hope Chronicles Book One: Dragon Flame

Cover Artist: David Harris