This is a marvelous addition to the major works of David Eddings, which include The Belgariad and The Mallorean as well as the companion volumes Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress. In this companion volume are the background tales that Eddings wrote to establish his fantasy world and its history before he wrote his 12-volume series. There is the personal history of Belgarath, the history of the Twelve Kingdoms, various holy books (including The Book of Alorn, The Book of Torak, Testament of the Snake People, Hymn to Chaldan, and The Book of Ulgo), and The Mallorean Gospels (including The Book of Ages, The Book of Fates, and The Book of Visions). In addition to the wealth of background information that will be most interesting to those familiar with Eddings' engaging fantasy narratives, Eddings gives helpful advice to those who want to write in the fantasy genre in his introduction. The Rivan Codex is best considered as part of Eddings' series rather than as a stand-alone fantasy collection. KLIATT Codes: JSARecommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Ballantine/Del Rey, 468p, 18cm, 99-90778, $6.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Hugh M. Flick, Jr.; Silliman College, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
Eddings is back again, with Belgarion, Belgarath, Polgara, et al., in tow. This time is different, though. Instead of the expected fantasy, this is a history book-actually, it is the background material that Eddings used to create the world presented in the Belgariad and Mallorean series. The prologue, a good chapter for aspiring writers, outlines the step-by-step process Eddings used to create his popular series. According to him, to write one should "get an education first . . . write a million or so words. Then burn them. Now you're almost ready to start."
The remainder of the book reads like a historian's account of the world Eddings created. It includes the holy books as well as a history of each of the societies peopling his world. Like any writer creating a new world, Eddings includes the mode of dress, class structure, monetary units, as well as customs and mores. This is an excellent study in how to create a believable society from the ground up. If you have the Belgariad or Mallorean (and hopefully both) series, this would be a good behind-the-scenes addition. If you do not have the series, this is not the place to start, but it makes a good how-to book for beginning writers.
VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12 and adults).
Already a smash hit in the UK, this latest addition to the Belgariad and Malloreon cycles (most recently, Polgara the Sorceress, 1997), featuring evil gods, kings, sorcerers, orbs, and whatnots, comprises a wretched jumble of unreconstructed notes together with gnarled, gnomic utterancesþthat is to say, background material accumulated before the authors wrote the stories themselves. It consists of an introduction, a preface, six headed sections, and an afterword ("This collection provides a kind of running description of a process") that's a sort of "how-to" for budding fantasists. The headed sections weigh in, variously, as: "The Holy Books" (of Alom, of Torak, etc.: "And so passed the companions again unto the north and returned they unto the west"); "The Histories" (of The Alorn Kingdoms, of Sendaria, of Ulgoland, and so forthþluckily, "The caves of the Ulgos are naturally heated by geothermal forces"); "The Battle of Vo Mimbre" ("And great was the wrath of the Accursed One, and fire was in his right eye and also in the eye that was not"); "Preliminary Studies to the Malloreon" ("When speaking of this era, some confusion is possible"); "The Malloreon Gospels" ("Sit no more upon the earth in vain and foolish lamentation"); and "A Summary of Current Events." Fanatics only. (Science Fiction Book Club alternate selection)