What better time, now that Peter Jackson's film realisation of The Two
Towers is imminently in the theatres (I am writing this review in late November,
2002) than to acquire this deluxe complete edition of Tolkien's The Lord
of the Rings. Another read through of The Fellowship of the Ring
is a very useful reminder of the myriad characters and plot developments before
seeing the new film. And reading The Two Towers beforehand or after watching
the film can only enhance its appreciation.
There are so many advantages to owning this beautifully produced book. Firstly
it has the feel of real quality production – it is a book to treasure and take
pride in its ownership. The boards and paper feel luxurious; the typography
is clear so that the whole presentation pleases the eye. Most welcome is a firmly
bound-in ribbon bookmark, (an almost forgotten little luxury) that adds so much
to reading pleasure. Granted the book is heavy but not uncomfortably so. Alan
Lee's excellent illustrations are many and are scattered through the book (uncaptioned).
As you will note from the few reproduced here, these pictures capture the characters,
atmosphere and drama of the stories so well; in fact they had a major influence
on the production design of the films.
The appendices and indexes cover over 100 pages. Six appendices giving much
background information to the stories comprise: Annals of the Kings and Rulers
(Númenorean Kings, the House of Eorl, and Durin's Folk); The Tale of
Years (chronology of the Westlands); Hobbits Family Trees; Calendars; and Writing
and Spelling (pronunciation of words and names; and writing). A final appendix
deals with languages and translations. The indexes cover: songs and verses,
persons, beasts and monsters, and places, and things. Finally the book ends
with seven pages of maps a very useful addition - how frustrating it is to have
to hunt through so many pages to find relevant maps in so many other books.
So, to enhance your pleasure of The Two Towers why not meet Treebeard,
the Riders of Rohan, the loathsome Sméagol and the creepy Shelob through
the luxury of this illustrated complete edition of The Lord of the Rings
– a volume to treasure for years to come.