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Christopher Paolini

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Christopher Paolini
Paolini in 2019
Paolini in 2019
BornChristopher James Paolini
(1983-11-17) November 17, 1983 (age 40)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenreFantasy, science fiction
Notable worksThe Inheritance Cycle
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Christopher James Paolini[1] (born November 17, 1983)[2] is an American author. He is best known for The Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon (2002), Eldest (2005), Brisingr (2008), Inheritance (2011), and the follow-up short story collection The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm (2018). His first science fiction novel, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, was published on September 15, 2020.[3] He lives in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he wrote his first book.

Early life[edit]

Paolini was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in the area of Paradise Valley, Montana. His family members include his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, and his younger sister, Angela Paolini. He is of Italian descent; his paternal grandfather was born in Rome and Paolini still has relatives there.[4] Home schooled for the duration of his education, Paolini graduated from high school at the age of 15 through a set of accredited correspondence courses from the American School of Correspondence in Lansing, Illinois.[5]


He started his work on his first novel, Eragon, at the age of 15. This novel would become the first of a four-book series (six, including the spinoffs) set in the mythical land of Alagaësia.

In 2002, Eragon was published for the first time by Paolini International LLC, his parents' publishing company. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap." He drew the cover art for the first edition of Eragon, which featured Saphira's eye, along with the maps on the inside covers of his books.[6]

In mid-2002, the stepson of author Carl Hiaasen found Eragon in a bookstore and loved it; this led to Hiaasen bringing it to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.[7][8] Knopf subsequently made an offer to publish Eragon and the rest of The Inheritance Cycle. The second edition of Eragon was published by Knopf in August 2003. At the age of 19, Paolini became a New York Times-bestselling author.[9]

In December 2006, Fox 2000 released the film adaptation of Eragon in theaters around the world. It received mostly negative reviews from critics,[10] and made a combined domestic and international gross of $249,488,115 USD against a production budget of $100,000,000.[11]

Eldest, the sequel to Eragon, was released August 23, 2005. The third book in the cycle, Brisingr, was released on September 20, 2008. Although The Inheritance Cycle was originally planned as a trilogy, a fourth book, Inheritance, was released on November 8, 2011, in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the EU, and India, and was subsequently translated and published in 53 countries. The Inheritance Cycle has sold more than 41 million copies.

On December 31, 2018, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, the first book in a series called Tales of Alagaësia, was published and released to the public.

Paolini's new science fiction novel, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, was released on September 15, 2020, by Tor Books.[12]

In October 2021, Christopher released Unity, an interactive Fractalverse story on his science fiction website Fractalverse.net.[13]

On October 8, 2022, it was announced that To Sleep in a Sea of Stars has been optioned by Made Up Stories and Snoot Entertainment.[14]

On July 25, 2022, Variety reported that Paolini was co-writing a live action television series adaptation of Eragon for Disney+, with Bert Salke executive producing.[15]

On October 3, 2022, Paolini announced Fractal Noise, the second installment in the Fractalverse and a prequel to To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. It was published on May 16, 2023.[16]

On November 7, 2023, Murtagh was released as the latest installment in Paolini's world of Alagaësia.[17]


Paolini's literary inspirations include the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and E. R. Eddison, as well as the epic poem Beowulf.[7] Paolini has said that Eragon was "specifically inspired" by Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville.[18] Other literary influences include David Eddings,[18] Andre Norton,[18] Brian Jacques,[18] Anne McCaffrey,[18] Raymond E. Feist,[18] Mervyn Peake,[18] Ursula K. Le Guin and Frank Herbert.[18] Other favorite books include works by Jane Yolen, Philip Pullman,[18] and Garth Nix.[7]

Nature influences much of Paolini's writing. In an interview with Philip Pullman and Tamora Pierce, Paolini said that Paradise Valley, Montana, is "one of the main sources" of his inspiration.

In the acknowledgments of Brisingr, Paolini acknowledged the influence of Leon and Hiroko Kapp's The Craft of the Japanese Sword for his description of the forging of Eragon's sword.[19] Additionally, Paolini has admitted that he is a Doctor Who fan, which inspired his reference to the "lonely god" (the epithet given to the Doctor by the Face of Boe in the episode "New Earth"),[20][21] to "rooms that are bigger on the inside than the outside" (from "Questions Unanswered" in Inheritance), as well as to Raxacoricofallapatorius, the home of the Slitheen ("Blood Price" in Inheritance).[22]


Paolini's books have topped the charts of The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestsellers lists.[23][24][25]

The Guinness World Records recognized Christopher Paolini as the "youngest author of a bestselling book series" on January 5, 2011.[26]

In 2024, the American Library Association chose Fractal Noise for the Listen List (2024).[27]


The Inheritance Cycle[edit]

Main series[edit]

  1. Eragon (2002)
  2. Eldest (2005)
  3. Brisingr (2008)
  4. Inheritance (2011)

Companion books/Side novels[edit]



  1. ^ Paolini, Christopher (May 16, 2013). "Somewhere on Mars is a CD with my name on it. #smug #love_living_in_the_future". Twitter. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  2. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At familytreelegends.com.
  3. ^ "To Sleep in a Sea of Stars - Christopher Paolini - Paolini.net". Paolini. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  4. ^ Paolini, Christopher. "Paolini about his last name on 'goodreads.com'". goodreads.com. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  5. ^ Strauss, Valerie (November 10, 2014). "The education of a best-selling teenage author". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  6. ^ Paolini, C., Eragon, Paolini International LLC, 2002.
  7. ^ a b c Spring, Kit (January 25, 2004). "Elf and efficiency (Interview)". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  8. ^ Welch, David (September 29, 2005). A Kinder, Gentler Carl Hiaasen, Still Pissing People Off Archived December 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, Powells.com. Retrieved January 20, 2008.
  9. ^ Rosenberg, Liz (November 16, 2003). "'Eragon': The Egg and Him". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
  10. ^ "Eragon (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Eragon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  12. ^ Paolini, Christopher (May 18, 2016). "The Sci-fi Project" Archived June 30, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Paolini.net.
  13. ^ "Unity - an Interactive Fractalverse Story by Christopher Paolini".
  14. ^ "To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Film Adaptation - Christopher Paolini". October 8, 2020.
  15. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 25, 2022). "'Eragon' TV Series Adaptation in Development at Disney+ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  16. ^ Chappell, Holly (October 3, 2022). "Fractal Noise - Fractalverse Novel - Christopher Paolini - Paolini.net". Paolini. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  17. ^ Meijer, Immanuela (November 7, 2023). "Now Available! Murtagh + Eragon Illustrated Edition". Paolini. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i Paolini, Talita, Christopher Paolini Q&A, Shurtugal.com. Retrieved January 20, 2008.
  19. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Acknowledgments". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 761. ISBN 978-0-375-82672-6.
  20. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Shadows of the Past". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-375-82672-6. Bending over, Eragon read, Adrift upon the sea of time, the lonely god wanders from shore to distant shore, upholding the laws of the stars above.
  21. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Acknowledgments". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 761. ISBN 978-0-375-82672-6. Also, for those who understood the reference to a 'lonely god' when Eragon and Arya are sitting around the campfire, my only excuse is that the Doctor can travel everywhere, even alternate realities. Hey, I'm a fan too!
  22. ^ Paolini, Christopher (November 8, 2011). "Blood Price". Inheritance (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 814. ISBN 978-0-375-85611-2. Raxacori- Oh, never mind. It wouldn't mean anything to you anyway.
  23. ^ "USA Today Best-Selling Books". USA Today. 2011.
  24. ^ "The New York Times Best-Sellers: Children's Books". The New York Times. October 12, 2008.
  25. ^ "Publishers Weekly Best-Sellers". Publishers Weekly. November 28, 2011.
  26. ^ "Youngest author of a bestselling book series". Guinness Book of World Records. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  27. ^ Moore, Ninah.(2024). Paolini, Christopher,Fractal Noise.Narrated by Jennifer Hale. Macmillan Audio. 2024 RUSA Listen List Revealed. American Library Association, January 20, 2024.

External links[edit]