Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 13:17 UK

Fantasy author Eddings dies at 77

David Eddings
Eddings said he was "a storyteller, not a prophet"

Best-selling US writer David Eddings, who wrote a number of heavyweight fantasy novels, has died aged 77.

Inspired by the success of the Lord of the Rings, Eddings penned The Elenium series, which follwed the adventures of crooked-nosed knight Sir Sparhawk.

His wife Leigh, who died two years ago, played a pivotal role in the creation of his work.

Publisher Jane Johnson said Eddings was "a towering force of modern commercial fiction, a master of the epic".

She added that the arrival of a new manuscript from the author at the offices of HarperCollins was "a grand event".

"In the 90s, each one was guaranteed a number one position on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list," said Ms Johnson.

Eddings' other works included The Redemption of Althalus, and series such as The Belgariad, The Malloreon and The Dreamers.

The author worked on secret US missile programmes until his first book, a contemporary adventure story, was published in 1973, after which he switched to fantasy literature.

He built his reputation on doorstep tomes, and once said: "I'm never going to be in danger of getting the Nobel Prize for literature."

"I'm a storyteller, not a prophet. I'm just interested in a good story," he added.

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