David Eddings

David Eddings portrait image to appear alongside the David Eddings biography.

David Eddings is an American born author best know for his epic fantasy novels. The Belgariad and the Mallorean are his most loved works and two characters in particular; Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress have entered into fantasy folklore.

Childhood and education

David Eddings was born in Spokane, Washington on the 7th July 1931. The son of George Wayne and Theone Eddings spent his formative years in the Puget Sound area of Seattle, approximately 285 miles from Spokane.

David Eddings attended the Everett Junior College between the years of 1950 and 1952 before enrolling at Reed College in Portland where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954. In 1961, Eddings received a Master of Arts from the University of Washington.

Life before writing

David Eddings served in the United States Army between 1954 and 1956 and also worked as a purchaser for the Boeing Company. Other jobs included grocery clerk and English teacher.

It is believed that Eddings always wanted to be an actor.

Marriage and co-authorship

David Eddings married Judith Leigh Schall on the 27th October 1962, he was 31 years old. David and Leigh Eddings were married for over 45 years until, sadly, Leigh Eddings died, aged 69, on the 28th February 2007 following a series of strokes.

Leigh Eddings first appeared as a co-author on the Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress publications. However, as David Eddings was always keen to point out, her influence and participation went back to the very beginnings of his work and it was Lester Del Rey who believed that multi-authorships were a problem and that it would be better if David Edding's name alone appeared on the books.

Leigh Eddings largest contribution was with the female characters within the books. If she felt that a woman would not behave or speak in a certain manner then the sections would be rewritten.

Question - what does Eddings feel that he and Leigh have brought to the fantasy genre?
Open QuoteQuite probably, our major contribution has been gritty reality. Our people get hungry; after a week of strenuous activity, they stink; they do argue with each other; the boy-people do notice the girl-people (and the girl-people notice them right back.) We tried our best to ignore Alfred Lord Tennyson and Tolkien and to return to Malory - which is where the good stuff is.Closing Quote
Voyager interview in 1999

Career

His first published novel was a contemporary adventure novel called High Hunt that was published in 1973. However it was with the fantasy series called The Belgariad that he achieved worldwide success. The Belgariad consisted of five novels, Pawn Of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle Of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game. These five books, written between 1982 and 1984, tell of the journey of an orphaned farm boy called Garion and his adventures, along with his Aunt Pol and a the mysterious Mister Wolf.

N.B. Clap on the back for anyone who deduced the chess theme running through the entire series.

The sequel to The Belgariad, entitled The Mallorean was set in the same world and once again focused on Garion, Aunt Pol and Mister Wolf. The Mallorean is also made up of five books, these being Guardian Of The West, King Of The Murgos, Demon Lord Of Karanda, Sorceress Of Darshiva and The Seeress Of Kell. The books were published between 1988 and 1992 and were also a great success for Eddings.

The three books that were mentioned earlier, Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polgara the Sorceress and The Rivan Codex, written by David and his wife Leigh all relate to the events that occur in The Belgariad and The Mallorean.

David Eddings went on to write another series of books, this time based on a Knight called Sparhawk and set in an entirely different word to that of The Belgariad. The first series, consisting of three books was called The Elenium. The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight and The Sapphire Rose comprised it. The follow up was The Tamuli, and once again was three books called Domes Of Fire, The Shining Ones and The Hidden City. All these books once again proved to be very popular and David Eddings became regarded as one of the most influential fantasy authors of his time.

After the release of The Tamuli, Eddings released a stand-alone book called The Redemption Of Athalus, which met with good reviews from critics and fans alike. At the moment David Eddings is currently writing another fantasy series with his wife Leigh. The Dreamers, made up so far of The Elder Gods, The Treasured One, Crystal Gorge and The Younger Gods. The story revolves around Dahlaine, Veltan, Zelena and Aracia, the four Elder Gods of the first books title.

David Eddings' love with the fantasy genre began whilst at graduate school when he discovered medieval romance by Geoffrey Chaucer. After graduation, Eddings taught English literature and it was at this time that he created his 10 point guide to a fantasy novel...

  • A theological arena
  • A quest
  • A magical element
  • A hero
  • A resident wizard
  • A heroine
  • A villain
  • A group of companions
  • A group of ladies attached to the companions
  • Kings, Queens and Emperors to rule

Although millions enjoy his books, Eddings comes in for more criticism than any other author in his field. The main reasons for the criticism are his formulaic approach to each book (sometimes described as Lego-style), and his stereotyping of real races within his novels. For example, the horse loving Algars could well just be Genghis Khans' Mongolian tribe. Eddings himself doesn't seem too concerned about the critique and states that he doesn't take orders from readers.

Open QuoteBut it isn't only younger readers who write to me. I'm getting the middle range, too, and some of them are naming their children after the characters in these books. I'm also getting people of advanced years. Even more advanced than mine, which is a little hard to accept. Some days I feel like I'm older than dirt.Closing Quote
David Eddings interview with Stan Nicholls

Towards the end of the 1990's David's wife Leigh began to be credited alongside him as an author on their joint works. Although Leigh Eddings had been collaborating on the works for many years, Lester Del Rey, their publisher, thought that multiple authors were a problem and only the name of David Eddings graced the cover of most of the Eddings' work.

David Eddings spent two decades with Del Rey before moving to Time Warner Books with The Dreamers series.

Writing style

Often described as formulaic, the writing in his books certainly does follow linear paths. This is to be expected when the author himself accepts that he follows a ten point guideline to his stories.

Eddings tries to make his characters as believable as possible and have them speak in a way that is realistic. Leigh Eddings has a large bearing on how the female characters speak and behave.

David Eddings books reviewed

Bibliography

The Belgariad

  • Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
  • Queen of Sorcery (1982)
  • Magician's Gambit (1983)
  • Castle of Wizardry (1984)
  • Enchanters' End Game (1984)

The Malloreon

  • Guardians of the West (1987)
  • King of the Murgos (1988)
  • Demon Lord of Karanda (1988)
  • Sorceress of Darshiva (1989)
  • The Seeress of Kell (1991)

The Elenium

  • The Diamond Throne (1989)
  • The Ruby Knight (1990)
  • The Sapphire Rose (1991)

The Tamuli

  • Domes of Fire (1992)
  • The Shining Ones (1993)
  • The Hidden City (1994)

The Dreamers

  • The Elder Gods (2003)
  • The Treasured One (2004)
  • Crystal Gorge (2005)
  • The Younger Gods (2007)