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The Silmarrilion
(J.R.R. Tolkien)

With the recently growing interest in the writings of Tolkien caused by the Peter Jackson "Lord of the Rings" movies, the interest in other such stories has been increasing as well. An earlier such publication of Professor Tolkien's is one of great interest due to the nature of the subject matter; "The Silmarrilion". The history of the world which was all of Tolkien's imagination is the subject here.

Originally written in pieces before the trilogy and other works were written, this is a book of many tales. Not only is the creation of the world and the origins of light and darkness dealt with, the many races of creatures that one sees in his later works are of importance as well. Anyone reading the more familiar works will be curious to see where the entire environment of Middle Earth comes from. Every story here is easy to follow, and the relationships built here between the Elves and Men, good and bad, and the higher powers of beings called the Valar are explained in great detail. It is written in a style, much like the Old Testament of the Bible, in a narrative yet informative style which is hard to put down once started. The recurring theme, like many of our classic tragedies, is the battle between Good and Evil which we see in many of our fictional writings even of today. It is many times depressing to read the accounts given here of how greed and ambition can ruin even the best intentions. Repeated here in many separate stories is the role of choosing between right and wrong in the fate of living things, especially men and elves. There are love stories here as well, and there are some successes also, but most of the stories are bittersweet and melancholy. It all ends in the defeat of Evil, but many changes are made that affect adversely the world described here.

There are resources included in the later editions of the book, such as geneologies of the characters in the many stories, the origins of many of the names used, and a few maps to give the reader a view on what Middle Earth looked like in this, the First Age. Everything included in intended to enhance the reader's understanding of the complexity of Tolkien's world. This is definitely for the true fan of Middle Earth, and can only be appreciated by individuals who enjoy leaving our real world and immersing themselves in a world of true delight and fantasy. It will not be an easy one to set down for any length of time, and it will go quickly as a flowing work of art.

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