Random House Children’s Books US and Penguin Random House Children’s UK have announced plans to publish a new book of short stories by Christopher Paolini, bestselling fantasy author of the Inheritance Cycle. The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Tales from Alagaësia (Volume 1: Eragon) is due out on December 31 with a first printing of 500,000 copies in the U.S., and on January 1, 2019 in the U.K. Simon Lipskar, president of Writers House, sold North American rights, and Cecilia de la Campa, executive director of global licensing at Writers House, brokered the deal for U.K. and Commonwealth rights.
The collection includes new artwork by Paolini and three short stories set in Alagaësia (the world of the Inheritance Cycle), as well as material written by the author’s sister, Angela Paolini, who inspired the character of Angela the herbalist. The opening story takes place a year after Eragon, the hero of the Inheritance Cycle, has left Alagaësia, embarking on a mission to guide a new group of Dragon Riders.
Paolini said in a statement, “After so many years spent working on other projects, it was an enormous pleasure to return to the world of Alagaësia with The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm. Writing about Eragon and Saphira again felt like arriving home after a long journey. These stories mean a great deal to me, and they are but the first taste of many more to come. Prepare yourselves, Dragon Riders. Things are not always what they seem.”
Michelle Frey, Paolini’s longtime editor and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, said, “Since the publication of Eragon, I have watched Christopher’s masterful storytelling garner an enthusiastic worldwide fanbase. I am overjoyed that fans and new readers alike will get to dip into yet another one of his brilliant works.”
To date, the Inheritance Cycle has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 40 languages. The series debuted in 2003 with Eragon when Paolini was 19 years old; Paolini was named a PW Flying Start at the time of the series launch. All four books in the series went on to become #1 bestsellers.