Have you ever found a book or series that you have read so many times that you could nearly recite it word for word, yet still continue to reread it over and over?
Well for me, that is David Eddings The Elenium trilogy. I have read these books so many times since I was about 13 years old that the covers are wear worn and beginning to tear.
Starting with book one, The Diamond Throne, we are introduced to the main character, Sparhawk. An unusual name, yes, but as you read, it was a family name, and it would seem more of a last name in today's terms rather than a first name. Sparhawk is a larger man, and a veteran Knight of the Pandion Order (one of the orders of the Knights of the Chruch). He is also Queens Champion. He returns home after being exiled to Rendor, a desert country, for ten years. He comes back to find his Queen has been poisoned and is now hanging on to life by a magic spell that encased her in crystal. He must find a cure, otherwise the cunning Church Primate Annias and his underlings will take over not only the country of Elenia, but the entire church as well.
Through book one we are also introduced to several other characters. A few of my favorite are:
Sir Kalten: a Pandion who grew up with Sparhawk and is a blonde, womanizing, drinking, non-magical best friend.
Kurik: Sparhawk's squire. Kurik has the body of a blacksmith, big, muscled, and mean. He could easily have been knighted several years ago, but he refuses for a multitude of reasons, one being class distinction.
Sir Ulath: a Gendion Knight from frozen Thalesia. Tall, strong, and not very talkative, he is the one that provides muscle, and when everyone is jesting, he keeps back and mainly quiet, but when he does jest, it leaves everyone else silent for the genius in his remark has no comeback.
Talen: Talen is a young thief, not yet even a teen, who grew up on the streets. He is probably the sharpest mind in the group, and his nimble feet and hands get them out of more than one pinch.
Sephrina: Sephrina is the teacher of the Pandion Knights in the arts of magic. Magic, for the most part, is a Styric ( a race and religion) thing in this series. Mysterious and powerful, she is the reason the Queen is still living. But the spell means that each month one of the 12 knights that helped her with the spell will die, and then she will die as well. That is, unless Sparhawk and the group can find the cure.
The book continues into The Ruby Knight where they have found out that there is only one thing powerful enough to restore the Queen; the Sapphire Rose, Bhelliom. Created by a deformed troll Ghwerig before man came to the continent, this gem has the power of the Troll-Gods locked inside (and much more we find out later). But, the troll Ghwerig made two rings, as keys to unlocking the power. So Sparhawk and the crew set to find them. Sparhawk finds that he has one, and the ghost of the kings that exiled him speaks to him and tells him the other is in a spear. (there is a side story of the spear here as well)
Now, armed with the rings, we begin to enter into book 3, The Sapphire Rose. They must find the gem before the year is up, as if Sephrina dies, the spell is broken, and all is lost. There is more than that though; there are mass rumors and growing evidence that the evil Styric god Azash is mobilizing his armies to march and find the gem as well, and the conflict would put the entire continent into a mass famine, even if they won. So Sparhawk must act fast. They are assisted by a mysterious young Styric girl who they call Flute. She ends up being the goddess Aphrael and together they wrest the gem from the troll. They awaken the Queen, and restore her to the throne just in time to cut the evil Annias from his schemes to take over the church. But a war is brewing, and Sparhawk and his small crew must go directly into the heart of evil; he must take the powerful gem to the god Azash and destroy a god!
I know that this is not a popular thing to say, but to me, this trilogy trumps even the Lord of the Rings trilogy...
Eddings, who from Spokane WA, was born July 7th 1931. After serving two years in the Army from 1954 to 56, he later published his first book in 1973 High Hunt. This book did not catapult his career, so he got back to work and in 1982 he published the book that created his name in the fantasy realm, Pawn of Prophecy. This became the first book in his best selling series The Belgariad. This five book series has been said to have been Eddings best work. While good, it is not my personal favorite as it does drag on a little too long.
Eddings died July 2nd 2009 of natural causes, to meet his wife on the other side who passed away two years earlier. He will be missed.