David Eddings is dead. He died on Tuesday, aged 77.
When I was way young, I read Eddings’s the Belgariad and the Malloreon (five books each) maybe three or four times in the Finnish translation; after that I went on to read all of his that I could get my hands on.
A few months back I came across original English versions of the first few books and peeked in, half scared to find them terrible; but they weren’t. After a few pages (eh, closer to fifty… ninety?) I had to force myself away with a promise of “Later!”; the old magic still worked.
I don’t know if I should call Eddings great, but he was a giant, and he wrote well. I think one of those many things that contributed to my drive to learn English beyond what the schools taught, and to make a habit out of reading books in that (er, this?) language was noticing the slowpoke publishers hadn’t translated Eddings’s Tamuli trilogy into Finnish yet. (Then: “Daddy, can you order me this book? And can I have a sno-cone? Pretty please? And the sequels, an’ a chocolate bar, an’ —”)
I myself wouldn’t hesitate a moment before offering the Belgariad (and all its various sequels) to any young one getting into the habit of reading; it’s a perfect book to suck the young ones in, if you pardon the slightly unsettling metaphor. For the slightly older ones I would recommend the Elenium trilogy (and its sequel-trilogy) — slightly older just meaning those that, though no grown-ups yet, can better relate to the grittiness brought by having a full-grown war-weary Pandion knight as the central hero instead of Belgariad’s farm boy of prophecy.
And now I think I will take up the Orb of Aldur and go looking for the road to Cthol Mishrak, the City of Night, where the dark god Torak sleeps, and has began to stir… because sometimes there’s nothing better than seeing again something you’ve almost forgotten.