ERAGON by Christopher Paolini may very well be one of my favorite books of all time. It is a steadily fast-paced (which is saying something, considering the book is approximately 500 pages long) story about a young Dragon Rider, Eragon, and his faithful and surprisingly intelligent dragon, Saphira. Early in the book, Eragon is sent on a quest for revenge against the evil and magical Ra'zac who had murdered his uncle and guardian, Garrow. He is aided and trained by the town, Carvahall's, ancient and mysterious storyteller, Brom. He soon learns to wield the magic of the Riders through the gedway ignasia, a silver welt on his hand.
The book contains an unusual troop of characters including Ajihad the leader of the rebellion known as the Varden, Orik the dwarf, Solembum the werecat, Angela the witch, Durza the evil Shade, Murtagh the mysterious warrior, and Arya the elf who was captured by the king, Galbatorix, who was a dragon rider gone evil.
Eragon and Murtagh, whom he had met on his journey, had freed the unconscious Arya from her imprisonment. This occurence triggered a change in the direction of their journey, as they had to go to the Varden's great fortress city, Tronjheim, to attain the antidote to Arya's poison. Murtagh was unusually persistant to stay away from the Varden for reasons later to be revealed. The closer they came to the mountain citadel, the more evident the promise of epic battle became.
Paolini's writing quality was significantly above the norm. I would never expect such a masterpiece to come from an author even twice Paolini's age. It is truly a waste of a summer if you do not read this book. I am dying to read the next book in The Inheritance Trilogy, ELDEST.