Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, No 1)
Pawn of Prophecy is the first in a series of five books, titled the Belgariad, by David Eddings. The tale starts at Faldor's farm, in Sendaria, with our hero, Garion, a simple farm boy (fat chance!). Garion has been raised by his Aunt Pol in humble surroundings after his parents were killed in a fire while he was an infant.

Though happy in his bucolic lifestyle, it becomes evident fairly quickly that Garion is somehow the target of dark forces, and has a role to play in bigger and better things. There is a rather mysterious old man who shows up occasionally at the farm, to purloin choice tidbits from Aunt Pol's kitchen and tell tales of great deeds, such as the world-splitting battle between the forces of the West and the evil god-king, Kal Torak. We get the feeling that Aunt Pol and this charming rogue are more intimately acquainted than the common folk are aware.

When Garion is threatened by a shadowy figure, the old man and Pol decide it is time to move Garion from his refuge on the farm and to shepherd him towards his larger destiny. Garion is pretty much kept in the dark about his heritage and role in things to come for a while, but eventually he is informed that he is the Child of Light, who must face Kal Torak when the dark god once again awakens.

Along his journey, we meet quite an array of charming characters who will be Garion's companions on his quest. The well-developed personalities and interplay between these characters throughout the series is a lot of fun.
Eventually, we and Garion learn that his aunt is Polgara the Sorceress and the old man is Belgarath the Sorcerer, and that they both have been guardians of Garion's family for centuries. Garion, himself, has the potential to become a great sorcerer and we get to enjoy his coming-of-age in this and many other things.
Pawn of Prophecy, followed by the other four books of the Belgariad, is an excellent adventure, and I highly recommend them, as well as the next set of five books in a linked series called the Malloreon. There are certain books which I re-read every year or so, including the Lord of the Rings, Time Enough for Love and Zelazny's Amber series. This is another author whom I enjoy over and over again.

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