Bestselling authors David and Leigh Eddings welcome readers back to the time before The Belgariad and The Malloreon series. Join them as they chronicle that fateful conflict between two mortally opposed Destinies, in a monumental war of men and kings and Gods.
When the world was young and Gods still walked among their mortal children, a headstrong orphan boy set out to explore the world. Thus began the extraordinary adventures that would mold that youthful vagabond into a man, and the man into the finely honed instrument of Prophecy known to all the world as Belgarath the Sorcerer. Then came the dark day when the Dark God Torak split the world asunder, and the God Aldur and his disciples began their monumental labor to set Destiny aright. Foremost among their number was Belgarath. His ceaseless devotion was foredoomed to cost him that which he held most dear--even as his loyal service would extend through echoing centuries of loss, of struggle, and of ultimate triumph.
David Eddings was an American author who wrote several best-selling series of epic fantasy novels. David Eddings' wife, Leigh Eddings, was an uncredited co-author on many of his early books, but he had later acknowledged that she contributed to them all.
They adopted one boy in 1966, Scott David, then two months old. They adopted a younger girl between 1966 and 1969. In 1970 the couple lost custody of both children and were each sentenced to a year in jail in separate trials after pleading guilty to 11 counts of physical child abuse. Though the nature of the abuse, the trial, and the sentencing were all extensively reported in South Dakota newspapers at the time, these details did not resurface in media coverage of the couple during their successful joint career as authors, only returning to public attention several years after both had died.
After both served their sentences, David and Leigh Eddings moved to Denver in 1971, where David found work in a grocery store.
David Eddings' first books (which were general fiction) sold moderately well. He later switched to writing epic fantasy, a field in which he achieved great success. In a recent interview with sffworld.com, he said: "I don't take orders from readers."
On January 26, 2007 it was reported that Eddings accidentally burned about a quarter of his office, next door to his house, along with his Excalibur sports car, and the original manuscripts for most of his novels. He was flushing the fuel tank of the car with water when he lit a piece of paper and threw into the puddle to test if it was still flammable.
On February 28, 2007, David Eddings' wife, Leigh Eddings (born Judith Leigh Schall), died following a series of strokes. She was 69.
David Eddings died on June 2, 2009 at the age of 77.
David Eddings has told one story really, really well...about eight times now. The Belgariad is the Mallorean is the Eleniad is the Tamuli is the Redemption of Althalus. If you've read his books, you know this story. You know who will live, who will die (usually) and who will show up during the introductory sequences.
That said, I heart every one of his books, and Belgarath the Sorcerer is no different. It's not edge-of-your seat reading, because you already know where this story will end (it's a prequel as well as being THAT story. So in a way, it's a prequel of itself. Kind of like being its own grandfather) but it does let you spend another few days (or weeks, depending on how fast you read brick) rubbing elbows with these characters. It's like coming across a pair of shoes already worn to your feet. You don't have the fun of breaking in a new pair, but you're going to be comfortable while Eddings takes you for a ride.
Belgarath the Sorcerer is best read after both the Belgariad and the Mallorean. Although it is a standalone novel, the prologue is built upon events that happen at the end of the Mallorean.
How to describe the novel? Calling it a history book is a grave injustice, on the scale of calling a Lamborghini a car (which it is, of course, but surely you can come up with far more dazzling ways to describe a Lamborghini.) "Belgarath the Sorcerer" is the story of one man's love--for his god, for his wife, for his "brothers", for his daughters, and for people. It is the story of duty and responsibility (and a sense of humor) that persists in spite of decade-long diversions, centuries-long sidetracks, and millennia-long grief.
Eddings manages pace very well--speeding through centuries in a paragraph, and then spending whole chapters on the events of a few weeks--without leaving the reader dizzy from wondering what just happened. The flow of the story seamlessly carries the reader along through detailed scenes. Characters are both vivid and memorable, and readers will enjoy seeing how all those insider jokes from the Belgariad started.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. When you're done with this, pick up his next book, Polgara the Sorceress.
So this is the second time I've read this book, mainly cause I was out of stuff and I *really* hated the follow-up. I'll get to that sooner or later, but what I might have found charming about the digressions this time, I just found irriating and "clever." And it was carried to extremes in Polgara.
I loved this series and perhaps it's been too long since I've read it, but I more think it's a matter of "you finished the series" let it go. The jokes that were sparkling are now tired.
But maybe I'm just in a pissy mood today.
Also, I find the reinforcement of gender roles to be annoying. I'm really on this kick lately about not believing in most male-female differences. That they are manufactured, but that's a rant for another day.
There are times when I mightily rue the sad fact that I am, by nature, a completist. Because this means I stick with book, movie and tv franchises long after these series have worn out their welcome - if you win my heart at all, you win it for good, apparently. That's great if the series remains consistently good, intelligent and surprising - not so great if it lapses into predictability, laziness and mediocrity.
The sad truth of the matter is that David and Leigh Eddings had been stretching my patience for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed the five-book series that kicked off this entire franchise, The Belgariad. The characters brought to life in that initial set of novels were bright, sparky creations with whom I was delighted to spend any amount of time - particularly the near-mythic figures of the hallowed Immortal Man, Belgarath, and his enchanting sorceress daughter Polgara. However, by the time I got around to reading the Eddings' attempt to retcon the Belgariad with the follow-up series, The Mallorean, I was already chafing a little bit from impatience with the repetitiveness of the narrative - actually a plot point in and of itself, if you can believe that! But the expansion and deepening of the various realms as well as the fantastically spiky, fun characters who continued to populate the Eddings' universe made the growing tedium of its cyclical, woefully deterministic view of history and magic easier to bear.
Belgarath (the book), I'm afraid, has all of the weaknesses of both series drawn out over an almost interminable 700-plus pages. It's told from the first-person perspective of the mighty Belgarath, which is a tricky enterprise in and of itself. Previously a supporting character in the unfolding story of Garion, the boy hero who would be king, Belgarath now takes centre stage. This means that there is less of an opportunity for the snarky wit and frequent comedic value that were hallmarks of Belgarath's presence in the main series to shine through. Instead, he must keep to a plodding narrative account of his very, very long life (seven thousand years and counting!)... Which, as the reader will discover, does not make for very lively reading.
Much of this novel consists of Belgarath wandering through the centuries, setting up his back story as he prepares for and participates in the numerous Events (please note the capital E) that repetitively bring the history of his universe to a head in The Belgariad. Sadly, no man's life is exciting every minute of every day, not even an immortal philosopher-sorcerer who can turn into a wolf - so the book veers haphazardly between taking shortcuts (shedding entire centuries in which Belgarath offhandedly says that 'nothing much happened') and dwelling at painful length on the minutiae of Belgarath's encounters with all the people whose lives he's had to manipulate in order to get things going the way history is supposed to go.
In fact, the book makes extremely, painfully clear the problems inherent in the Eddings' conception of this fictional universe. Nothing, it seems, happens by chance or through free will - everything must happen as per the plan of the Necessity, one of two duelling consciousnesses fighting for control of the path the universe will take hereafter. The cyclical, tightly predetermined nature of this universe was beginning to annoy me in The Mallorean, but told here from the first-person perspective, it gets even more frustrating. It can't help but feel like lazy writing when Belgarath continually says that he (and every single character in the series, really, including all the gods) suddenly knows what he has to do and where he has to go because the Necessity has deemed it the right time for him to have this knowledge.
Would I recommend this book? Well, not wholeheartedly, and not necessarily even to a completist like myself. There are definitely some elements that are worth the read - most notably, I felt the book more recognisably demonstrated the same spark of life and vigour to which I'd responded so strongly in The Belgariad when Polgara first came on the scene. The relationship between this endlessly snarky father and daughter is my favourite in the entire series, so getting to see this play out from the very beginning was a treat. The firsthand account of some of the larger Events hinted at throughout The Belgariad and The Mallorean was also quite fun, as was getting to know the beginnings of Belgarath's brother sorcerers Beldin, Belkira and Beltira. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure the absolutely tedious mass of detail and narrative that is packed around these better aspects of the book are worth the slog-through. I can't imagine it's a book that reads very smoothly for people new to Belgarath's universe either - it relies on a shorthand that I think would be pretty impenetrable for people who've never read The Belgariad or The Mallorean.
I'm almost afraid to pick up the next companion book, Polgara, for fear that it will frustrate me even more when it comes to a character I love even above Belgarath. But let's be real - I'm an insane completist and I'm deeply interested to see how the Eddings will describe Polgara's perpetually "flinty" gaze when SHE becomes the protagonist of the story...
This book has always felt a little incongruous on my top thirty shelf, but man do I love it. It's unique in that it's a prequel to a single generation of people that have their own stories broken into six books. This book, the book about what came before, spans uncountable generations. In the Belgariad and Mallorean Belgarath is already seven thousand years old. This book is about those first seven thousand years.
The concept of a character that has seen humanity drag itself up from the mud, and been at the forefront of every mythical and historical event in memory, never fails to fascinate me. The Eddings do a fantastic job of capturing how different a man has to be after living this type of life. Rather than a story about a boy prophesied to save the world this is the story of the man who has been ordering that world so the boy has something to stand on while he fulfills the prophecy. It's a brutal life that Belgarath has lead, even if the book itself is fairly light-hearted and snarky in its telling.
Further, it makes the series that came before - the series about Garion - far more powerful when the Old Wolf shows up. There's a whole layer of subtlety that gets added when you read those books after this one.
For it's unique insights, for it's fascinating and novel character, and for the smoothness of the writing, this book remains an old friend that I find myself coming back to over and over again.
Well, this book is complicated to review. Mainly, because I am not quite sure what to say about it. The first time I read it, a few years ago, I fell in love with it and subsequently read all other David Eddings books (that is, until I realized that each and every one was the same and that I was not discovering any new characters from saga to saga). I recently tried it again, and hated it for how shallow, unrealistic and purely useless the book was, and when I decided to review it wanted to put 1 star.
This book deserves the five stars I give it, however, as a great and fantastic children book, for ages 8-12 perhaps. The characters are all fun, well defined and the plot is clear but has some unexpected turns and twists. The world is, once again, clear, fun and simple, Manichean in a delightful and fantastical way. A must read for young fantasy readers.
HOWEVER! For any older and more serious fantasy reader, the lack of depth and reality make this book an insult to any and all fantasy, as the world is paper thin, the characters are lifeless overused cliches and the overall story plain boring.
Five stars for any younger readers, and a waste of time for all others.
To be honest, I had listened to this book about 3 times. The first couple of times, I listened to it at 2.35/2.55x speed, and I was not a fan of the way the narration changed the story. It bummed me out and I thought about downgrading the audiobook rating to 3 stars. This is one of my favorite series as a kid. I've read the book several times, because I love the characters & world.
For whatever reason, I decided to give the audiobook another try. 3rd time was the charm! At 2.75x speed, the narration fit the characters better. Woo! Still a fav book from a beloved series, and the rating will stand. Though, from my current rating range, it would be 4 stars vs 5. =P
Absolutely wonderful, riveting read! Belgarath is one of the most complex, entertaining and lovable characters in the Belgariad and the Malloreon, without whom none of the events in those books would have taken place, and it's extremely fitting that he would have his own story to tell! His own account is a nice background to the Belgariad and provides all the juicy details of the legendary characters and events that you've always been curious about but was never told in full. Eddings' trademark humour has always been particularly strong in the character of Belgarath, and this book reveals another, very human and vulnerable side to the Eternal Man that was seemlingly undefeatable, always in control and never very serious.
Ok, I will admit it, David Eddings is among my literary idols. His two book series of the Belgariad and the Mallorean along with Terry Brook's original Shannara trilogy and Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga all helped turn reading for me to something I had to do to something I enjoyed doing back in my high school days. Now none of these books I would put on my "I don't care if you don't like the genre, I highly recommend you read these books" list, but I would put them on my "If you enjoy fantasy books and want to enjoy some of the books which made this genre something special towards the end of the 20th century" list.
This book was written as if it was written by one of the major characters of the Belgariad and the Mallorean, Belgarath the Sorcerer. He is writing his autobiography which covers the 7000 or so years leading up to the events which occurred in the Belgariad.
The historian in me kept wanting to get irked at this book. Granted this book takes place in some fantasy world, but even so I look back at the last 7000 years of the Earth's history and see just how much the political climate has changed. Even our most ancient of civilizations such as China and Egypt are nothing like they were towards the beginning of their existence, however in this book many countries and people change little from their inception to the "modern day". Granted there are some changes, after all this is a rather thick book full of changes, but in my mind's eye they don't seem to be enough. But then I remind myself this is also a book which has characters who live for thousands of years and spend their lives manipulating events to take specific paths.
Fate vs. free will is another subject which has existed for millennia. One good example of this is the ancient Greek story Oedipus. Of course in a book like this in which prophecies play an important role, many of the characters and events are fated to occur. The author does try to put in his own twist of free will mixed in with the fate.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. While it is a prequel, it is probably best to read after reading the Belgariad and the Mallorean. If you enjoyed those books, then you will likely enjoy this one as well.
David Eddings was thé favorite author of my kids and i. His series were filled with magic,action and a lot of humor. I can still hear my son roaring with laughter as he came across another hilarious scene or conversation. These books have been read só often,it’s a miracle they’ve not fallen into pieces. And each time we read them,we found something else,like hidden treasures.
My daughter and i still treasure these series,and every couple of years,we take them out,dust them off,and read them again.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But after two weeks of chewing I had to quit. It's sooo long and sooo boring. Even narrator himself doesn't really want to be telling this story, why should I be interested in reading it? I'm just relieved I found the courage to say: "Enough!" :)
I have so many memories of the time I spent reading David and Leigh Eddings’ books as a teenager that I was almost afraid to go back to them as an adult.
When however, I returned to The Belgariad and Mallorean earlier this year, I was astonished to find that while my perceptions of some things had changed, my overall enjoyment of the series had not, indeed.
Belgarath the Sorcerer is not a prequel in the usual sense. The book opens literally the same night that Seeress of Kell finishes with Polgara having just given birth to twins and Belgarath and Garion, sitting in Polgara’s kitchen thalking about life and how things have come to where they are. This homely speculation quickly leads into a discussion of the events that lead up to Garion’s part in the story, and finishes with a cooperative browbeating of Belgarath into writing an account of his own history. One of the first things therefore that makes the book slightly unique from a prequal perspective, is its viewpoint. Belgarath is not just a usual first-person account of events, but a first-person account very much directed at others in the series. I think. This means the book is peppered with little asides, aspersions, comments to and about other characters or nations, as well as the old sorcerer’s musings on the workings of the world and indeed the future events of the series.
After having read every single book in the Belgariad-universe, I finally also finished Belgarath the Sorcerer. As was the case with Polgara the Sorceress, it was very interesting to get a look at the life of such a major character from the Belgariad series, especially one who has lived for so long. As a fan of the original series and its prequels and sequels, I enjoyed reading this book; however, I do believe that for someone who has not read the Belgariad, or has read it and did not enjoy it very much, Belgarath the Sorcerer would be a tough nut to crack.
Although getting a closer look at certain events was interesting, it is a very long story that tended to get dreary every now and then. Sometimes, a couple of (long) chapters were spent on describing certain events that, in my opinion, could have been explored much less thoroughly; while at other times, decades or centuries were skipped in the space of only a few pages. Personally, I especially liked reading about the characters I already know from the Belgariad, which made the final part, leading up to Garion's birth, my favourite. Some other major events, such as Belgarath's becoming a father, Polgara and Beldaran's childhood, and the battle of Vo Mimbre, were also very interesting to read about. However, there were also a lot of minor events that were less captivating, causing me to lose interest every now and then, which is partly why it took me so long to finish this book.
In short, Belgarath the Sorcerer provides a solid background on not just Belgarath's past, but some of the other characters' as well (most notably, of course, his fellow disciples of Aldur, including Polgara). It is a nice read for fans of the series, but I would not recommend it to others due to its many details and relatively slow pace, as well as the fact that most of my own enjoyment of this book came from recognising parts of it from the Belgariad and Malloreon and being able to puzzle things together.
First, David and Leigh Eddings gave us "The Belgariad" and "The Mallorean" (among many other books), and now Belgarath comes to tell his own story. Belgarath wasn't always "older" and wiser, nor did he always have the power he wields. In this book, he reaches back through the millennium to let the reader in on things like how he changed from Gareth to Belgarath, what his relationships with Poledra, Polgara, Beldin, and many others were like, and whether or not he has been lonely. This book revisits battles,conflicts, and political situations, ties the pieces together, and still leaves you wanting more. Come on! Take a trip with Belgarath. You won't be sorry.
I have been a fan of the Eddings' for many years, and while I have owned this book for a while, I hadn't found the right time to read it until now. Wow! It was truly like visiting old friends, and now I definitely want to pick up the series from the beginning again. If you like epic fantasies that live and breath, "Belgarath" and other works by David and Leigh Eddings are right for you!
I'm giving this 3.5 stars for the pure and simple fact it took me so long to read! As can be seen from the start date I actually started this book last year. I really enjoyed it at first, I loved Belgarath in the other books and so seeing his life was great. However with about 200/300 pages left I found I couldn't bring myself to read anymore. I was too bored. So I put the book down and then picked it back up about 4 days ago. I thought I'd get the last 200 or so pages read in a day but even they took me nearly 5! It was just so long. But overall interesting. I'm more excited to read the next one from Polgara because she was my ultimate favourite and I think it's going to be really sad. Hopefully it won't take me half a year to finish like this one!
This book defies the term, 'spoilers' reading it post Belgariad/ Mallorian you essentially already know the outcome of all the major events. This makes it no less brilliant. In fact so brilliant I am re-evaluating all the books I previously gave 5 stars. To understand this book you need to have read the other (10!) books but it is worth reading them just to truly appreciate this one (not that they aren’t fun on their own). Belgarath is fundamentally interesting, deeply flawed and certainly a petty thief and vagabond he is also principled, viscous and loveable. The sheer scale of his millennia long tale is breathtaking with unbelievably sad moments interspersed within the adventure and general mucking about. Probably one of the greatest ever characters in fantasy.
I enjoyed the journey of an old mans ramblings. The story of Garath's life over around seven thousands years was such an easy read, as it went from generation to generation of hiding his grandson's with the help of his daughter Polgara. From what I have read on other reviews each of David Eddings books follows the same story but from different peoples perspective. I can easily imagine him being able to do this as this book only touches on so many little stories without elaborating a great deal. I hope that one of the other books will have the ending as this only covers the beginning and the middle. I was a little disappointed that after all that reading there was no conclusion :(
This was just kind of a fun little pre-history of the Belgariad and Malloreon series. I really liked it because it showed where the main characters had come from and what their importance was in the series (just incase you didn't already figure it out). The only thing that was hard for me to get used to was the style of writing. Unlike the rest of the series, "Belgarath the Sorcerer" was written in first person from the perspective of Belgarath, and just like the character, it was a bit long winded.
It's a rehash of the Belgariad & Mallorean with a bit extra from Belgarath's point of view. I read it once, just to see if there were any startling revelations. None. Not worth buying or reading unless you are just crazy about this series. I thought the Belgariad was very good & read it several times. The Mallorean was OK & I've read it maybe twice. This book, along with Polgara & the Mrin Codex are only for the fanatics, though.
Some readers get snobby and look down on the fantasy/science fiction genre as a whole. I believe these readers are simply close minded, but it would be easier to convince them that fantasy has integrety if books like Belgarath didn't exist. This is a superb example of absolute trash fantasy lit. Reading this book probably knocks 5 points off your IQ.
Завръщам се в топлия свят на магиите и приказките с гарантирано добър финал, където хилядолетни вещици се изчервяват като хлапета пред поразголени юнаци, малките руси принцове се мусят над разранените си колене след като спасили света от сигурна погибел, а боговете се дърлят като бабички пред блока за това кой им е любимия народец от кресливи човеченца. Клиширано, предвидимо, вървящо в намазаните с мед и катран релси на фентъзи канона. И освен това по детски чисто, стоплящо в спомените и усмихващо по отдавна забравения начин на хубавата непретенциозна книга, която може само да радва без да си слага табела за своята многозначителност.
Книжките се явяват вариация на прикуъли към Белгариад- Малореанския цикъл, обясняващи хилядолетия история и мистика с много хумор, човещина и логична божественост. Мемоарите на Белгарат и Поулгара ни запознават с човешкото лице на легендите, били те с неземен или придобил вечност произход, и всичките тегоби и малки радости от неувехващата младост и непрекъсваемия живот. Тук безсмъртието няма така характерната вампирска меланхоличност, нито пък покварява умовете до лудост пред лицето на нескончаемото време. Всички допълнителни часове живот се използват за внимателни проучвания, изучаване на езици и местни навици, и подготовка на света за апотеоза на битката между бялото и черното. Може би най-смисления начин да прекараш вечността и единствената причина да вдишаш от огъня на нетленността.
Битка на характери в едно магьосническо семейство, където човешкото отдавна е отстъпило на далеч по-правилното полу-божествено отношение към света и живота. Вечно отсъстващия баща, никога непростилата дъщеря, отговорността към вечното семейство, дългът към живота като цяло, душите страдащи в безвремието без любов… Образи от много други наречени „истински“ книги, тук в съвсем невъзможностен сетинг придобиват далеч по-разбираема идентичност без тежестта на реалността и паралелите с познати или със собствените ни грешки.
Чрез приказките се прераждаме и израстваме, а не чрез воайористичните словоблудства за ежедневието на разгулната съседка отгоре. За който смята друго – да опре ухо в тръбите на парното или в тънкото паркетче на панелчето, а може и просто да си пуснете някоя пожълтяла телевизия – простотии се случват всяка секунда и ги наричате живот. А аз предпочитам онова неслучилото се, където правилата на битието са далеч по-силни от ограниченията на техническия прогрес или извращаването на мултикултурните етноси в глобалистиката. Белгарат, Гарион, Поулгара – почакайте ме.
Belgarath the Sorcerer is another one of those Del Rey series-padding specials - there were a whole bunch of these in the early 90s, where authors rewrote their successful work from the point of view of another character. I adored the Garion books, and I was quite fond of this one, but its charm has worn off - even more than the original series.
Part of the problem is that Eddings's worldbuilding is just sloppy. He doesn't seem to care all that much for consistency, and alters things in later books with no apparent regard for the earlier ones. Belgarath is a particularly dense example of this, and the result is that the reader either has to either take it as canon and assume the narration of the original series is unreliable, or throw it out as barely-true blather. Neither make it an asset to the series.
The other part of the problem is that when the writing isn't a tedious rehash of expostion from the first ten books, it's gimmicky fourth-wall-breaking stunt writing. And that's charming for about a minute, and then you realize that the narrator is really kind of a self-satisfied asshole. There are some parts - the first few sections in particular - that really are new material and hold up reasonably well, but once we get to the oft-retold recovery of the Orb, it's downhill from there.
A disappointing revisit to a book I remembered liking, certainly.
This one as well as Polgara-book are written wonderfully by the Eddings-pair. You get to peek at the time before Garion and friends and even if the two books (Belgarath and Polgara) have some of the same "scenes" it only made me feel exited: "I remember this from the other book!" You can basically live some of the same events twise, by reading the two wonderful novels, but from a whole different perspective, making it still feel a totally different stories, which they are.
David and Leight Eddings have an amazing talent of telling a deep story with lovable characters even with a timeline of thousands of years. The plot is clear and you can live through all the centuries without feeling things going too fast, slow or complicated. This is fantasy on it´s best!
As always, Eddings holds the reader's attention extremely well. This story is a prequel to Eddings' wonderful series, the Belgariad. It is a great story and explains a lot from the Belgariad that the reader did not get in the earlier series. The only negative, as I see it, is the fact that this book is simply a long explanation of the life of Belgarath. If the reader did not read the aforementioned series, the reader would be lost. Still, it is a wonderful book that fills in a lot of holes. Darrel Blair
Run out if ideas? Why not rehash the same ones you’ve already done and extend it to a book. While the first part of the book was quite good in revealing the younger Belgarath it wasn’t exactly revelatory and just a rehash of the first 10 books. And Belgarath's constant ‘pulling of whiskers’ (if I remember the term correctly) did get very annoying. That said, it was still entertaining.
I read this before, because I was starved for more about these characters and had read "The Belgariad" and "The Mallorean" several times. So glad David Eddings is finally giving credit to his wife, Leigh. I was always impressed with how his female characters rang true, but now I know why! Another outstanding book, and a great prequel to "The Belgariad". I'll read it again and again.
This re-read was mostly pretty fun, and it's an interesting tale. There are a few inconsistencies with other books, which is distracting. Also, I would recommend re-reading the Mallorean before reading BtS and PtS (which I didn't do!).