Rising Star: Christopher Paolini, author

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The Independent Culture

Potter-deprived retailers and readers have seized on Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance" cycle of fantasy sagas with all the voracious glee of a scaly-tailed dragon spying a bunch of plump elves. Still only 24, the Montana-based prodigy sold 15 million copies of 'Eragon' and 'Eldest'.

Last weekend, 'Brisingr', the third in his series, went on sale. British bookshops tried to drum up a Potter volume of hype and, even if nothing will ever match the little wizard, it sold 45,000 in a day. 'Brisingr' (meaning "fire" in the world in which Eragon and his benign dragon battle an evil Empire) duly tops the Amazon charts. Paolini owes such a hefty debt to JRR Tolkien, and navigates his intricate scenery with such dogged passion, that the cycle will go on selling by the creaking cartload to fantasy fans for whom more, and fatter, never means worse.

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