Magician’s Gambit — David Eddings (Belgariad 3)

“I thought Ctuchik was a sorcerer”, Garion said, puzzled. “Why do you keep calling him a magician?”

“It’s a term of contempt,” Belgarath replied. “It’s considered a deadly insult in our particular society.”

Or, as Tolkien put it: “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” (Fellowship of the Ring.)

Book 3 of the Belgariad series (I’m tempted to call it a saga, but that to me requires Vikings and Norse mythology.) Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings continues the adventures of Belgarath, Polgara, Garion, Silk, Barak, Durnik, and Mandorallen to recover the Orb of Aldur before it is used by the god Torak to destroy the world.

See my reviews of Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery (the first two books of the series) for the background on the author, the series, and an overview of the story. The short version is that a Thing has been stolen, and the sorcerer Belgarath, his immortal daughter Polgara, and the boy with the mysterious background who may just save the world, Garion, (along with a bunch of companions) are attempting to recover it.

Again, there is no real beginning to the story; there is a minor attempt at introducing the characters, but we are expected to have a reasonable understanding of the situation.

The princess Ce’Nedra has been left behind (her destiny follows a different path), which isn’t the worst thing. Her stubbornness and obstinacy was almost overtaking Garion’s petulance. In her place, they acquire the religious fanatic Relg, who is very unimpressed to be there. Eddings uses him for some heavy-handed comment regarding religion and faith and extremism. But, his character is molded to fit the story, and some of the actions that he takes don’t always seem to fit the character.

I mentioned that I was reading the Belgariad, and I got the following quote from a literary friend: “[Eddings’ work is enjoyable] … despite the fact that he only has one plot, and one and a half casts of characters.”

As I’ve only read the Belgariad series, I can’t comment just yet. Feel free to add your thoughts below.

Acquisition of the novels: Eddings’ books can generally be found in second-hand book shops, or in dead-tree editions in most book shops (or can easily be ordered in, most of them are still in print), or you can click on these Amazon links! Here to look at some options for the series, or a collection of the first three books of the Belgariad series:

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