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June 2004

Ah, another month, another newsletter. . . . I rather enjoy these.

I’m very pleased with how the story in Eldest is developing. I did plot out the entire trilogy before I began Eragon, but putting the scenes on paper is very different from seeing them in my head. A few of the topics that I’ve covered lately are mail, quicksilver, a vacuum (a void, not a machine), and bobbin lace. You heard right, lace.

Recently, I wanted to get out of the house, so a friend and I headed up into the mountains early one morning for a hike to Crystal Cave, where black crystals glitter in the walls. It was a beautiful walk. Stone cliffs hundreds of feet high lined the narrow valley; it looked like a location from Lord of the Rings. When the wind blew, curtains of golden pollen billowed out from the trees and flowers. The trail was covered with elk and bear tracks, and there’s supposed to be a wolf pack in the area. We ended up losing our way and completely missing the cave, but we still got in a fourteen-mile hike. . . . It’ll probably take a month for my blisters to heal.

I am absolutely blown away by the incredible, fantastic, and boggling response to the Eragon fan site (, no longer active) that Random House launched at the end of April. I’m delighted that so many of you have enjoyed it and contributed interesting content. I am in awe of how large it is and how fast it’s grown.

Several weeks ago, a producer and film crew from the BBC flew out to Montana to interview me for BBC 1’s Imagine series that will focus on the popularity of children’s literature in the United Kingdom. I met them at a local resort. After the usual sit-down Q & A session in the restaurant, I took them into the hills above my house, where I often walk and get story ideas. There, they filmed me brandishing my Viking sword—it’s so sharp that I was afraid I might cut off my ear—and working on my mail hauberk. In fact, I was in the middle of clipping two links together, when Mom cried, “There’s blood on your hand!” Sure enough, when I looked down, half my index finger was covered in blood. All the activity had opened up a day-old cut. The cameraman immediately zoomed in on it, so you may get to see it in the show. . . . As I told my publicist, I even give blood for my interviews.

The BBC crew also interviewed Philip Pullman, Jacky Wilson, Salman Rushdie, and Art Spiegelman. Pretty incredible company! I can’t wait to see the actual show when it airs this summer.

This July I get a small break from Eldest to attend my first Comic-Con International convention.  It’s in San Diego, California, from July 22-24, and I’ll be doing panels, book signings, and presentations. I’m looking forward to going as a fan as well as an author.  This is the first time that I’ll meet Terry Brooks, which is truly awesome. I mean, I grew up reading his books (his Magic Kingdom of Landover series is my favorite) and now I’m going to be talking with him as a fellow author. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the concept.

I finally got copies of the Japanese edition of Eragon. It really drove home to me that people all across the world have worked on my book and are reading my story, if not the exact words. It made me proud, amused, humble, and, I’ll admit, a bit intimidated.

The Japanese publisher pulled out all the stops in the design and production: blue foil outlines around the scales on the cover (they used the same cover art as the US version); a map on the inside of the dust jacket that traces Eragon’s journeys through Alagaësia, with marks where each chapter break occurs; a nifty cloth bookmark; and a print of a mountain range that runs along the bottom of each page, like an ancient scroll. Not to mention that the entire book is printed in Japanese characters. Very cool.

That’s it for now. All the best, look on the bright side of life, and—as always—may your swords stay sharp!

Christopher Paolini

p.s. In the ancient language, may your swords stay sharp is sé onr sverdar sitja hvass.

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Mike Macauley

About Mike Macauley

Mike Macauley is the founder of, editor in chief of, and author of The Inheritance Almanac. Mike can be found on Twitter at @mikemacauley.