The book tells the story of a farm boy named Eragon, who finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. Not knowing the stone's origin or worth, he attempts to use it as payment to a butcher. A dragon he later names Saphira hatches from the stone, which was really an egg. When the evil King Galbatorix finds out the general location of the egg he sends the Ra'zac to acquire it. By that time Saphira had been growing for a while and takes Eragon to the Spine after Ra'zac appear in their village, Carvahall. Eragon and Saphira are forced to flee from their hometown, with a storyteller called Brom, and decide to search for the Varden, a group of rebels who want the downfall of Galbatorix.
“Sometimes it is not so medieval to think that perhaps the end is coming and the Antichrist, in plainclothes, is knocking at the door” (p. 72).
“There is no real interest in the historical background; the middle ages are taken as a sort of mythological stage on which to place contemporary characters” (p. 68)
Eragon uses the setting of the Middle Ages to make the situation more dire. Because of the lack of technology, the rebellion is cut off from any distant countries that might be of aid to them in the fight against the king. Also, it gives the author the use of the classic tropes of the age, like magic and dragons.