Eddings and his wife then moved to Spokane, Eddings's birthplace, where he wrote an allegorical novel, The Losers. This tale of the underclass and the social workers who try to redeem them, which was written in 1977 but remained unpublished until 1993, takes place first at Reed College (the protagonist is a Reedie) and then Spokane. During his time in Spokane Eddings had begun a map of an imaginary world, which he doodled on in the midst of writing another contemporary novel that he says bored him. Later he happened to pick up Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in a bookstore, and he found to his amazement that it was in its 73rd printing. He went right home, pulled out his map, and began to plot the world of the boy Garion, Belgarath the sorcerer and his daughter Polgara, Silk the unscrupulous and charming spy and trader, and the host of thousands he created for his epic. |
He also figured out how magic works in this world: the sorcerer needs the will, launched by the word, to create magic. But the magic has a sort of noise that other magicians can hear, so it's dangerous, and doing things with the mind ends up being as exhausting as doing them physically. "You might be able to pick up a mountain with your mind, but you won't be able to walk after you do it, I guarantee that," he wrote.
The preliminary studies, which took him all of 1978 and most of 1979, laid down the theological, political, historical, social, and geographical basis for the universe of the Belgariad and Malloreon: these studies, the annotated description of a long planning process, will be published in 1998 under the name The Rivan Codex. The studies, which Eddings sent out after their completion in 1979, attracted the interest of Judy-Lyn Del Rey and her husband, the legendary editor Lester Del Rey, and Eddings's career as a writer of epic fantasy took off.
After having developed the knack for making a universe, Eddings drew up his map and his plans for the Elenium and Tamuli series in only six weeks. This series is grounded in a world more like our own, dwelling on the influence of religion and the interplay between an organized, militarized church and an array of strong-willed gods and goddesses and their followers. The Elenium series began to be published in 1990 while Eddings was still working on the Malloreon, and his fans (astounding in both numbers and loyalty) responded enthusiastically to the introduction of another Eddings venture: books from both the Malloreon and the Elenium were on the New York Times bestseller lists, for both hardback and paperback editions, simultaneously.