Today is a sad day.
David Eddings, author of more than 20 fantasy novels and cornerstone of the genre, passed away yesterday at the age of 77.
It is quite difficult writing this post.
I began my foray into fantasy reading with The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks but upon finishing it I went looking for something else to read. I quickly found a dozen books bearing the Del Rey icon. I didn’t know at the time that one man, Lester del Rey, was responsible for finding and publishing the fantastic writers I was about to start reading who included Stephen R. Donaldson, Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Hambly—and David Eddings.
Eddings is known by most fantasy readers, many reading the genre because of him. In 1982, he published Pawn of Prophecy, Book One in the five-book Belgariad series, and it became an overnight success. With wonderfully realized characters like Belgarath, Polgara, Barak, Silk, Garion, Ce’Nedra and so many more, Eddings injected humor and wit into his stories and truly made them unforgettable. The Belgariad series is one of the foundational bricks in the fantasy genre, a series everyone should read—not only for its importance in the history of the genre but because it’s also one fine tale.
Collaborating with his wife Leigh and acknowledging that fact with class, Eddings would spend the next 25 years writing books in long hand that would influence readers and future writers alike.
After publishing The Belgariad, Eddings published its sequel series, The Malloreon. He then went on to create the memorable knight Sparhawk in the three-book Elenium series. Other fantasy works include The Tamuli series, The Redemption of Althalus, and the four-book series The Dreamers. He also published The Losers and a thriller, Regina’s Song.
Proof of Eddings’ popularity can be found in twenty-seven languages.
Sadly, I never had the chance to meet Eddings, but his work influenced my development as a reader and ultimately therefore as a writer. Those who did know Eddings knew an interesting man. He was educated at Reed College, the United States Army and the University of Washington. He worked for Boeing in Seattle. He spent time teaching literature and writing. He never wanted awards; he never wanted praise. All he wanted was to write fun books that might put someone on the path to reading for a lifetime.
He did that for many. He definitely did that for me.
So David Eddings, thank you. You will be sadly missed.
And may your Orb of Aldur shine brightly forever in your stead.
Today is a sad day.