cover image The Rivan Codex: Ancient Texts of the Belgariad and the Malloreon.

The Rivan Codex: Ancient Texts of the Belgariad and the Malloreon.

David Eddings, Leigh Eddings. Del Rey Books, $27.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-345-42402-0

Though full of treasures, this farewell to the world of the authors' bestselling Belgariad and Mallorean sagas is rather a mixed bag. The book contains an autobiographical foreword, explaining the roots of the double saga in David Eddings's reading of medieval epics, the editorial influence of the late Lester del Rey, the longstanding but only recently acknowledged role of the author's wife as ""unindicted collaborator"" and the perils of writing high fantasy in general. The volume then presents a variety of well-crafted pseudobiblia, such as Belgarath's autobiography and many of the Holy Books. It goes on to the historical, economic and ethnographic background of the major nations of the sagas. There are many other pieces that reflect well on the Eddingses' world-building skills--as if the novels themselves had not already demonstrated their craft. This book may be unintelligible to those who are not Eddings fans, but it will be irresistible to those who are. It is also of some scholarly interest in revealing the roots of one of the founding megasagas in modern English-language fantasy. Science Fiction Book Club alternate selection. (Oct.)