Fantasy novelist David Eddings died yesterday in Carson City, Arizona at the age of 77.
Eddings is best known for The Belgariad series, the first installment of which, The Pawn of Prophecy (1982), prompted Lester del Rey to tell him, "You’ve written a classic." The series introduced many to fantasy, and inspired some to write themselves (including Stephen Hunt, whose tribute to Eddings is here). Eddings was himself inspired by the success of The Lord of the Rings, which he was startled to discover was in its 78th printing when he encountered a display copy in a bookstore.
When asked in a recent interview what made his books so successful, Eddings replied with the same answer many of his fans would give: "Characters. My people are as real as I can make them."
I don’t read as much fiction these days, but Eddings has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered him back in college. Sorry to see him go.