Inheritance (Paolini novel)

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The English cover of Inheritance, featuring the green dragon Fírnen
AuthorChristopher Paolini
Cover artistJohn Jude Palencar
CountryUnited States
SeriesInheritance Cycle
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
November 8, 2011
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, and e-book
Preceded byBrisingr

Inheritance is a 2011 novel written by American author Christopher Paolini. It is the fourth novel in the Inheritance Cycle.

The Inheritance Cycle was originally intended to be a trilogy, but Paolini has stated that during writing, the length of Brisingr grew, and the book was split into two parts to be published separately. Because of this, many plot elements originally intended for Brisingr are in Inheritance.[2]

Since the release of Inheritance, Paolini has expressed his future interest in expanding upon Alagaësia and the Inheritance Cycle. In an interview, he talked about a potential "book five," a prequel centering on Brom, and said that he has planned "around seven more stories set in Alagaësia — and one of those is in fact a series."[3]


Decision for a fourth book[edit]

In a video that was released on October 30, 2007, Christopher Paolini stated that during the work on the third book, he realized it would become too long and so he decided to split it into two separate books. His explanation is as follows:[2]

Publication announcement[edit]

On March 23, 2011, Random House announced the title, cover artwork, and release date of Inheritance. It was released on November 8, 2011 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Australia, and New Zealand.[4] It was released with a first print of 2.5 million copies.


Inheritance starts when the Varden attack Belatona, a city of the Empire. In the battle, Saphira, Eragon's dragon, is nearly killed by a Dauthdaert (death spear) called Niernen —a spear from the Dragon Wars intended to destroy magical wards and kill dragons. Belatona is soon captured by the Varden, and an alliance is later formed between the Varden and the werecats.

Afterwards, Eragon's cousin Roran is sent on a mission to capture Aroughs, which proves to be a difficult task. He comes up with a risky plan and Aroughs is taken, although Roran's men suffer many injuries. Roran rejoins the Varden at Dras-Leona when they are in the process of making plans to attack the city. Murtagh and his dragon Thorn are occupying the city, therefore not allowing a chance to attack the city directly. Jeod finds information on the entrance to a sewer system that was never completed under the city. Assuming the existence of a secret tunnel into the city, Eragon leads a small group (himself, Arya, Angela, the werecat Solembum, and an elf named Wyrden) into the city to open the gates for the Varden. It turns out that the tunnels are used by the priests of Helgrind, and Eragon and Arya are captured after being separated from Angela and Solembum and witnessing the death of Wyrden. Because the priests are angry at Eragon for killing their gods (which are revealed to be the Ra'zac themselves), they intend to feed Eragon and Arya to Ra'zac hatchlings. Eragon and Arya struggle and injure themselves while being held captive until Angela and Solembum save them. Eragon is then able to open the city gates and defeat Murtagh and Thorn, allowing the Varden to take control of the city. In the middle of the night, Murtagh and Thorn attack the Varden’s camp and capture Nasuada. In her absence, Eragon is appointed as the leader of the Varden as they march on to Urû'baen in hope of overtaking the city.

Eragon remembers Solembum's advice (from the first book Eragon) telling about the Vault of Souls and the Rock of Kuthian. He invites Solembum to his tent and questions Solembum's knowledge of the Rock of Kuthian, of which the werecat has none at all. During the conversation, Solembum loses himself as a new voice talks to Eragon before abruptly ending, bringing Solembum back from a trance he cannot remember. Eragon eventually discovers that the Vault is on Vroengard Island. Eragon then talks with Glaedr about the Vault of Souls but Glaedr is unable to remember the conversation. Eragon realises that very powerful magic is causing everyone in Alagaesia —except for Saphira and himself— to forget about the Vault of Souls and the Rock of Kuthian after they hear of it. After Eragon finds a way (by special words) to remind and let Glaedr understand him, Glaedr believes that Eragon is telling the truth and advises him and Saphira to immediately find the source of and reason for the powerful magic, as it could help them in the fight against Galbatorix. Eragon and Saphira take Glaedr's Eldunarí as a guide.

After a while on the island, Eragon and Saphira learn that they must speak their true names in order for the Rock of Kuthian to allow them to enter. After days, they find their true names and the rock opens. Inside, the three of them find a hoard of Eldunarí and dragon eggs that were hidden away before Galbatorix destroyed the Riders. Umaroth, the dragon of Vrael (the last leader of the Dragon Riders) who speaks for all of the Eldunarí, says that the time has come for them to reveal themselves and to help Eragon and the Varden to overthrow Galbatorix. Eragon and the others leave Vroengard with all the Eldunarí save five, who volunteer to stay and guard the eggs, and as they pass through the rock back onto the surface to open land, their knowledge of the existence of the stored dragon eggs is removed from their minds. They make their way to Urû'baen, where the combined forces of the Varden, the elves (led by Queen Islanzadí), the werecats (led by Grimmr Halfpaw), the Urgals (led by Nar Garzhvog) and the dwarves (led by King Orik) are preparing to attack Urû'baen.

Eragon and Saphira reach Urû'baen as the siege begins. The Eldunarí are revealed to the leaders of the Varden and all of them form a plan to attack the city. The forces of the Varden attack Urû'baen while Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva, and eleven elven spellcasters led by Blödhgarm break into Galbatorix's citadel. They cautiously make their way to the throne room after progressing through a series of traps, during which the elven spellcasters assigned to protect Eragon are taken captive. In the throne room, Galbatorix subdues Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and Elva and informs them that he has learned the true name of the ancient language, which he referred to as the Word. With the Word he is able to control the usage of magic with the ancient language. Galbatorix orders Murtagh and Eragon to fight using only their swords; Eragon eventually defeats Murtagh. Murtagh, whose oath to Galbatorix was broken due to a recent change in his true name, uses the Word to strip Galbatorix of his wards. Enraged, Galbatorix renders Murtagh unconscious and attacks Eragon with his mind, while Saphira and Thorn attack Shruikan. Using energy from the Eldunarí, Eragon casts a spell to make Galbatorix understand his crimes, and experience every piece of pain and suffering that he has caused from the last 100 years. Meanwhile, Arya kills Shruikan using the Dauthdaert. When the pain and agony he has caused becomes unbearable, Galbatorix utters an incantation for unmaking himself, which results in an explosion that destroys most of the citadel. Eragon, using energy from the Eldunarí, is able to protect those in the citadel.

Murtagh and Thorn, being freed from their oaths of loyalty to Galbatorix, retreat to somewhere in the north to have some time to themselves to do some thinking and to heal from their ordeal. Before leaving, Murtagh teaches the Word to Eragon and then bids him farewell - the two Riders forgiving and acknowledging each other as brothers -. Nasuada, after a heated debate with the leaders of the Varden, becomes the High Queen of Human Alagaësia and King Orrin of Surda grudgingly pledges his allegiance to her. Arya returns to Du Weldenvarden to help choose a new queen for the elves after the death of Queen Islanzadí, her mother, in battle, and is chosen. She takes with her the rescued green dragon egg, which soon hatches for her. Thus, Arya becomes a Rider with her dragon named Fírnen.

Eragon reworks and rephrases the magic of the original pact between Riders and dragons to include both dwarves and Urgals, allowing the dragon eggs to hatch for members of their races. Eragon, coming to the decision that there is no safe place to raise the dragons and train new Riders in Alagaësia, begins planning to sail away with the Eldunarí and the eggs to a region far east of Alagaësia. He leaves two eggs in Alagaësia: one is to be sent to the dwarves, and the other to the Urgals. Those future Riders will travel to Eragon's new home for training, while new eggs will be sent back to Alagaësia to hatch for new Riders. Eragon and Saphira are sad to say farewell to their friends and family, but look forward to their future with the new dragons and their riders.

Critical reception[edit]

Inheritance has received mixed to negative reviews, criticised due to unresolved plot threads, derivative characteristics of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, and heavy use of deus ex machina. Richard Marcus of the Seattle PI said that "Paolini clutters up the book with page upon page of battles that could just as easily taken place off stage" and that "the last hundred or so pages of the book are spent in a very awkward attempt to tie up all the loose ends". He also says that the main resolution is that "In fact by wasting so much time on insignificant details along the way, the final confrontation with Galbatorix when it comes feels rushed. Even worse, discovering the location of the Rock of Kuthian and the Vault of Souls feels incredibly contrived."[5] However Shelby Scoffield of Deseret News called the book "a sophisticated novel" and "a sense of closure to a truly great series", but criticized Paolini's use of "long and boring details".[6] It debuted at No. 1 on the USA Today's "Best-Selling Books" list.[7] It sold nearly half a million copies on the first day in the United States.

On Goodreads, it has a score of 4.01 out of 5, as of October 1, 2018.[8]


  1. ^ Macauley, Mike (September 27, 2011). "Inheritance (Book 4) Official Page Count Exclusively Confirmed!". Shurtugal. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Series will be expanded to include a fourth full-length novel" (PDF). Retrieved October 31, 2007.
  3. ^ "First Post-Inheritance Interview with Christopher Tackles Book 4′s "Hot Topics" and More!". December 10, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "Book 4 News Release". March 23, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Richard Marcus (19 November 2011). "Book Review: Inheritance". Seattle Pi. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  6. ^ Shelby Scoffield (26 November 2011). "Book Review: Inheritance is sophisticated but overly long". Deseret News. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  7. ^ "'Inheritance' by Christopher Paolini debuts at No. 1". USA Today. November 17, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4)". Retrieved 2018-10-01.

External links[edit]