Exclusive Reveal: Christopher Paolini’s The Fork, The Witch, and the Worm

Christopher Paolini returns to the world of The Inheritance Cycle with this collection of original stories.

Christopher Paolini is returning to the world of his bestselling Inheritance Cycle books with The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, and we have an exclusive sneak peek!

The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm will give fans of Eragon,Eldest,Brisingr, and Inheritance a chance to “find out what their favorite characters have been up to since the end of Inheritance while also meeting several new ones,” said Paolini. 

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Paolini collaborated with his sister Angela on The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, who is making her publishing debut in the book, writing a section in the collection of original stories set in the world of Alagaësia. The contribution is particularly fitting as Angela serves at the inspiration for the world’s Angela the herbalist character.

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We’ve got an exclusive excerpt from the book of original stories. “It occurs about half-way through, when Eragon and the character of Angela are sitting down for an intense and somewhat cryptic conversation,” said Paolini, calling the excerpt one of his “favorite scenes in the book.”

Check it out…

Chapter IV

Rhymes and Riddles

Eragon stared across his desk at Angela the herbalist, studying her.

She was sitting in the dark pinewood chair the elves had sung for him, still clad in her furs and travel cloak. Flakes of melted snow beaded the tips of the rabbit-hair trim, bright and shiny by the light of the lanterns.

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On the floor next to the herbalist lay the werecat, Solembum, in his feline form, licking himself dry. His tongue rasped loudly against his shaggy coat.

Billows of snow swirled past the open windows of the eyrie, blocking the view. Some slipped in and dusted the sills, but for the most part, the wards Eragon had set kept out the snow and cold.

The storm had settled on Mount Arngor two days past, and it still showed no signs of letting up. Nor was it the first. Winter on the eastern plains had been far harsher than Eragon expected. Something to do with the effects of the Beor Mountains on the weather, he suspected.

Angela and Solembum had arrived with the latest batch of traders: a group of bedraggled humans, travel-worn and half frozen to death. Accompanying the herbalist had also been the dragon-marked child Elva—she who carried the curse of self-sacrifice Eragon had inadvertently laid upon her. A curse instead of a blessing, and every time he saw her, he still felt a sense of responsibility.

They’d left the girl on the lower levels, eating with the dwarves. She’d grown since Eragon had last seen her, and now she looked to be nearly ten, which was at least six years in advance of her actual age.

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“Now then, where’s the clutch of bouncing baby dragons I was expecting?” said Angela. She pulled off her mittens and then folded her hands over her knee and matched his gaze. “Or have they still not hatched?”

Eragon resisted the urge to grimace. “No. The main part of the hold is far from finished— as you’ve seen—and stores are tight. To quote Glaedr, the eggs have already waited for a hundred years; they can wait one more winter.”

“Mmm, he might be right. Be careful of waiting too long, though, Argetlam. The future belongs to those who seize it. What about Saphira, then?”

“What about her?”

“Has she laid any eggs?”

Eragon shifted, uncomfortable. The truth was Saphira hadn’t, not yet, but he didn’t want to admit as much. The information felt too personal to share. “If you’re so interested, you should ask her yourself.” 

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Further reading: Best New Fantasy Books

Paolini also shared some of the original art he created for The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm

“This drawing is one of four pieces I created for the book. It fronts the third major story in the novel (the ‘Worm’ from the title). Since I didn’t have any physical reference for the horn, I sculpted it in clay before starting the drawing, which was a great help. Overall, I’m quite pleased with how the image turned out. I really wanted it to feel like an artifact from another world. The horn itself plays an important role in the story, as I hope you’ll see.”

Check it out…

Here’s the full official synopsis for the book:

The internationally bestselling fantasy sensation is back, with brand-new stories set in the world of Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle!

A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course. Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia.

It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective.

This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure. Included is an excerpt from the memoir of the unforgettable witch and fortune-teller Angela the herbalist . . . penned by Angela Paolini, the inspiration for the character, herself!

Relish the incomparable imagination of Christopher Paolini in this thrilling new collection of stories based in the world of the Inheritance Cycle. Includes four new pieces of original art by the author.

For more information about THE FORK, THE WITCH, AND THE WORM, please click on the following link: https://www.paolini.net/2018/10/10/preorder-fork-witch-worm/

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Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.