18. The Belgariad Volume Two: Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game by David Eddings
These last two novels only heightened my admiration for Eddings' writing. In the first book, we see a resolution of what has come before, the Quest for the Orb, as Garion takes his place as the Rivan King and Ce'Nedra seethes at being a lower rank than her intended husband. It also sets us up for the Final Battle between Garion, the Child of Light, and Torak, the Maimed God or Child of Darkness. We get to know the entire cast of major and minor characters much better here, which helps explain how they act later. I also like how each character, down to the most minor, could clearly have another book or legend written about them, and I hope Eddings does. I especially want to know what happens to Relg, the zealot, and Taiba, former slave and Mother of the Lost Race, and their future child, for whom the Gods have a special fate in store.
The second book details the parallel journeys of Garion and Ce'Nedra to Cthol Mishrak, lair of the evil, asleep but waking, Torak. Garion and his many-great grandfather, the sorcerer Belgarath, and the subtle Drasnian spy Silk, or Prince Kheldar, sneak through marshes and wasteland into the evil lands of Mallorea. Ce'Nedra, accompanied by Polgara the Sorceress, Belgarath's daughter and Garion's aunt-mother, and several other friends and allies including numerous kings, raises an army from among the lands of the West, to encounter Torak's Angarak peoples in battle.
Again, the depth of the characters, inventive terrible creatures, and diverse, well-developed cultures, distinguish Eddings from many of his peers in fantasy fiction. I will not hesitate to call the Belgariad literature on par with Lord of the Rings. This series is not only written in clear, cohesive language, but it is imaginative and reflective on human nature and society, and presents absolutely realistic characters, while appealing to the ancient mythic storylines that seem to be embedded in our biology.
I will seek out as much of Eddings' work as I can, The Malloreon is the sequel series to The Belgariad, and promote his work wherever and whenever possible.