Belgarath the Sorcerer

David and Leigh Eddings

Del Rey. $25.95
(paper $6.99)


Return once again to the world of "The Belgariad."

Some seven thousand years ago, when the world was young and the gods still walked the earth, a young man fell in with the god Aldur. Aldur housed the man, taught him, and gave him a new name, the name by which the whole world now knows him -- Belgarath the Sorcerer. And ever since, whenever world-shaking events happen, Belgarath is there in the middle.

Partly this is because Belgarath is naturally meddlesome. More importantly, though, Belgarath and his brother sorcerers have been charged to assist in the fulfillment of the Prophecy -- the same Prophecy involved in Eddings' first two series. Where "The Belgariad" and "The Malloreon" tell of the culmination of the Prophecy, the tale of Belgarath the Sorcerer presents the entire history of the Prophecy -- the first theft of the Orb and Torak's cracking of the world when he tries to use it, the dictation and interpretation of the prophetic codexes, the massacre which sends Garion's Rivan ancestors into a thousand years of hiding, everything -- through the eyes of one of a man who saw it all.

Belgarath the Sorcerer ends where Pawn of Prophecy, first book of "The Belgariad," begins. The story, however, is not quite finished, suggesting that Belgarath's daughter Polgara still needs to tell her part. We know this mainly because one of the characters, having read Belgarath's version, is preparing to ask Polgara for hers.

The best part of an Eddings book is the humor. Whether the characters are "too serious" or self-acknowledged wits, the Eddings definitely have a knack for lively, quirky conversation.

"Well," Anrak said, choosing his words carefully, "Lady Polgara was just a little indifferent to appearances when I first saw her. I think she's a sorceress -- like her father. Of course, he's a sorcerer, not a sorceress, but you know what I mean. Anyway, all sorcerers are very deep, you know, and she'd probably been thinking about something for several million years, and --"

"I'm only sixteen, Anrak," Pol reminded him gently.

"Well, yes, I know, but time doesn't mean the same thing to you people as it does to us. You can make time stop and start again any time you want, can't you?"

"Can we do that, father?" she asked me with some curiosity.

"I don't know." I looked at Beldin. "Can we?"

"Well, theoretically, I suppose," he replied. "Belmakor and I discussed the possibility once, but we decided that it wouldn't be a good idea...[We] weren't sure what that might do to the universe -- rip it to pieces, maybe, or just make it vanish."

"It wouldn't do that."

"I wasn't going to try to find out."

"You see what I mean about how deep these people are?" Anrak said to his cousin. "Anyway, the Lady Polgara had flown up into a tree, and she was doing sorceress things. I sort of suggested that I might consider marrying her -- since her sister was going to marry you, and twins always like to do things together. She didn't think too much of the idea, I guess, so I didn't press the issue. To be honest about it, she wasn't very tidy when I first saw her." He stopped, looking at Pol with a certain consternation.

"I was in disguise, Anrak," she helped him out.

"Really? Why was that?"

"It was one of those sorceress things you mentioned."

"Oh, one of those. It was a very good disguise, Lady Polgara. You were an absolute mess."

 

Another amusing conceit in the current book is Belgarath's frequent asides to the other characters he presumes to be his audience. When describing the god Belar and some girls whose admiration does not "seem to be entirely religious," for instance, Belgarath interrupts himself to add, "All right, Polgara, just let it lie, will you?"

The problem with the Eddings' work is length. Belgarath the Sorcerer is almost a stand-alone novel, but is still closely associated with "The Belgariad" and "The Malloreon." I love having a shelf full of Eddings' books, but wish it were possible to read a single novel without committing to a series five or ten books long!

 

Read a sample chapter from Belgarath the Sorcerer at the Del Rey Internet site.

Other books set in Belgarath's world:

The Belgariad

Pawn of Prophecy. Ballantine, 1982
Queen of Sorcery. Ballantine, 1982
Magician's Gambit. Ballantine, 1983
Castle of Wizardy. Ballantine, 1984
Enchanters' End Game. Ballantine, 1984

The Malloreon:

Guardians of the West. Ballantine, 1987
King of the Murgos. Ballantine, 1988
Demon Lord of Karanda. Ballantine, 1988
Sorceress of Darshiva. Ballantine, 1989
The Seeress of Kell. Ballantine, 1991

and finally!

Belgarath the Sorcerer. Ballantine, 1995
Polgara the Sorceress. Ballantine, 1997
The Rivan Codex. Ballantine, 1998

This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated January 17, 1999


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