December 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Book Review

The Lord of the Rings
By J.R.R. Tolkien (with illustrations by Alan Lee)  
  Deluxe hardback collected edition of the three books:The Fellowship of the Ring;The Two Towers and The Return of the King; plus Appendices
  Harper Collins Hardback 1200 pages ISBN 0-261-10230-3 50  

illustrated lord of the rings

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.

Lord of the Ruinbgs illustration

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.

Lord of the Ruinbgs illustration

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.

Lord of the Ruinbgs illustration

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.

Ian Lace

[Not rated]

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