have to say, I love the cover of the new book.
I think that John Jude Palencar really outdid
himself with this one. It feels right for the
book too; Brisingr is the longest and
most intense entry in the series so far, and
his art reflects that. Someday, I’d like to
see him paint the Ra’zac as well. The Ra’zac
and Angela the Herbalist. . . . Together. Yup.
That would be interesting.
has yet to release its clutches on our valley
here in Montana. Just today, we had another
whiteout snowstorm and eight inches of snow.
I shouldn’t be surprised, though. At one time
or another, it’s snowed during every month of
the year in Paradise Valley.
other news, the literary world recently lost
Arthur C. Clarke, the last of the Big Three
science fiction authors. (The others being Heinlein
and Asimov.) Each of the three wrote books that
had a profound influence on me while growing
up. In Clarke’s case, it was Rendezvous
with Rama, Childhood’s End, and 2001.
Arthur C. Clarke was one of the greatest prophets
and visionaries of our time, and the world is
a poorer place without him. May the memory of
him live forever among the stars.
on a more personal note, we just had to have
our dog, Annie, put down. I mention it because
she was as much a member of the family as any
one of us, and because it was she, more than
anyone, who provided the basis for Saphira’s
character. Annie was a mutt: half cocker-spaniel
and half Australian Shepherd dog, knee-high
and full of wiggles. She looked nothing like
a dragon, but she was more like Saphira than
you might imagine.
got Annie as a puppy in 1994, and my sister
and I grew up playing with her along the banks
of the Yellowstone River. I remember coaxing
her into a deep hole I had dug and sitting with
her in the cool shadows, watching the clouds
scurry past far overhead. I remember running
through the snow late at night, shouting her
name, frantic because I thought she might be
lost. I remember wrestling with her. I remember
watching her do the most horrific things to
baby mice. I remember her wet nose, and the
smell of her fur, and the expressions on her
face. I remember walking with her through a
gigantic herd of cows, and all of the cows forming
a tight circle around us and mooing as loudly
as they could, eager to defend their calves
from the little wolf in their midst. The cows
scared me, but they never scared her. More than
once, we saw Annie playing with a wild fox out
in the fields. She loved walks so much, we had
to spell the word out, else she became so excited,
we had no choice but to take her out. Her energy
and enthusiasm seemed boundless.
the past few years, though, various aches and
pains began to slow her down, and eventually,
they left her in so much distress—along with
the stroke she had yesterday—the kindest thing
we could do was relieve her of her suffering.
was as good a friend as I have ever known. I
shall miss her for the rest of my life. She
taught me more about life and death and the
art of living than any philosopher. She taught
me that happiness consists of five things: food,
sleep, exercise, being with your pack, and freedom
from pain. Everything else is extraneous.
the years, Annie gave me several scars, the
biggest ones being bite marks on my forearms,
which were my own fault, not hers. Now that
she is gone, I wish I had more scars from her,
for they are the only things I have to remember
her by. And I wish I had taken her on just one
unin mor’ranr, Annie. May the ground squirrels
whisper your name in terror for generations