I remember the first time I read a David Eddings book. It was the rather unimaginatively named Pawn of Prophecy that I had bought for cheap at a MPH warehouse sale. Sheepishly, at the time my idea of great fantasy outside of LOTR was stuff like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms. So in an attempt to try other authors, I decided to get Eddings' book.
I couldn't put it down. And when I finished book 1, I immediately rushed out to get book two. and three. and four. and I didn't stop till I'd read every book he'd published at the time, from The Belgariad and The Mallorean all the way to The Elenium and The Tamuli.
And from there, there was no stopping my hunger for fantasy books, and I read everything from Jordan to Feist to Martin and more. And I credit Eddings for starting me down this obsessive fantasy reading path.
I have to admit his writing wasn't perfect though. He DID write The Belgariad as a way to make some money after all, resulting in the fantasy equivalent of the airport novel. But his books are usually such rip-roaring, fun adventures that you didn't really care that he reused his characters and recycled his jokes, plots and plot devices over and over again.
If you haven't started reading fantasy, try The Belgariad. It's so much more fun than contemporary airport novels, and you certainly will have a lot more fun reading it than those bloody Dang Brown books.
Sadly, Eddings has gone to the Place Which Is No More, to join his beloved wife Leigh who also co-wrote most of his books with him.
So, rest in peace, David Eddings, Creator of The Belgariad, Lord of the Mallorean, and Scribe of Fun, Frivolous Fantasy. May the Orb of Aldur guide your way.