The novel takes place in a land known as AlagaÃÂ«sia, which is ruled by the evil king, Galbatorix, once a dragon rider who became corrupted upon denial of a second dragon. It begins with a 15 year old boy, Eragon, who is hunting in the Spine, a range of mountains near the village Carvahall, in hope of selling the meat to aid his family. Upon pursuit of a deer, he is led to a mysterious blue stone, which he takes thinking it would be worth some money when traded. After being unable to sell or trade his find, Eragon soon witnesses a baby dragon hatch from inside the "stone."
In this world dragons are a species that had been thought of to be extinct, with the exception of Galbatorix's dragon. He raises the dragon in secret, until two hooded figures, the Ra`zac, enter the town looking for the mysterious blue stone.
Eragon and Saphira, as he names the dragon, manage to escape unharmed by hiding in the forest, but Eragon's uncle is not as fortunate. The Ra`zac kill his uncle and completely destroy the house. Remembering tales of the past, Eragon believes it is his responsibility to become a dragon rider, ancient warriors who were slaughtered by Galbatorix in his rise to power. Accompanied by Brom, a mysterious storyteller of the village who knows much about dragon riders, magic and sword fighting, Eragon learns the ways of a dragon rider as they track down the Ra`zac for revenge.
With the help of an old friend in the town known as Teirm, Brom is led to the conclusion that the Ra`zac are in Dras-Leona. However, they do not get revenge in Dras-Leona; he Saphira and Brom instead fall into the Ra`zac's ambush.