The story of how Eragon (Knopf Books for Young Readers) came to print is as magical as anything that happens in this fantastical series.
Paolini and his family self-published the book in 2002, selling almost 10,000 copies through a concerted family effort to move the book. Then the big break: bestselling author Carl Hiassen was vacationing in Montana. A bookseller gave the author a copy for Hiassen’s then 12-year-old stepson. The kid loved the book, and said it was even better than Harry Potter. Hiassen called his editor at Knopf who didn’t waste a lot of time in signing this wunderkind with a pen to a publishing contract.
Knopf released their first edition of Eragon in 2003 when Christopher was 19. The rest, as they say, is history. Within six months, the Knopf edition had sold a million copies and his second novel, Eldest, sold close to half a million copies within a week of publication, making it the fastest selling title in Knopf’s history. Now not quite 30, Paolini is given rock star treatment when he makes public appearances: greeted by screaming fans in the thousands.
This 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Eragon was released in October of this year, very much with the holiday buying market in mind. The book is bound in faux-leather embossed with gold foil. Inside are six original colour illustrations by award-winning artists: Michael Hague, Donato Giancola, Ciurelo, John Jude Palancar and Raoule Vitale. It all makes for a pretty expensive package, but this is likely intended to be a gift for someone who already know and loves Paolini’s work and will cherish this special edition.