Book Review: The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Eskov

I couldn’t resist reading this alternative retelling of “The Lord of the Rings” storyline. Kirill Eskov wrote The Last Ringbearer in Russian in 1999, but only now has an English translation been posted free on the Internet. You can download the PDF from here. Of course, reading the PDF is a pain so you here are some alternative ebook formats to read it in. It’s a full blown novel checking in at 75% of the length of the original.

The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Eskov

The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Eskov

The story is a fascinating lookback and continuation of Tolkien’s masterpiece with an important difference. It’s told entirely from the standpoint of Mordor! Yes, the evil orcs and trolls who rampaged across Middle Earth during the war of the Ring were just regular soldiers fighting for their survival. Several characters come off looking worse for the wear. Gandalf is a short sighted idealist who can’t appreciate the tremendous technological and creative atmosphere of Mordor which had universities, academies for the arts and mathematicians. The real villains of the book are the elves who orchestrated everything right from the start.

Aragorn is just a pawn in the hands of Arwen who refuses to sleep with him (comparing it to bestiality.) Indeed, the elves look at humans as little more than animals…which isn’t surprising considering that they live forever, have super stud capabilities, and are generally more “posh.” Unfortunately, it’s this very longevity which keeps them desiring the status quo. Who wants some new fangled technological advance, when we have our own comfy set up right here in Lorien? The Nazgul actually turn out be real heroes. One of them is a mathematician called Sharya-Rana who briefly recites the real story of the lord of the rings to our disbelieving hero.

Plenty of other characters make an appearance. Saruman is far sighted and the most mature of all Wizards of the white council. Faramir and Eowyn are a very cute couple and probably the only two who come off looking as good as they did in the original. The only important guys who get only a passing mention are the Hobbits. The Nazgul humorously tells the story of how they were played all along and had not the slightest importance in the real world :)

A large part of the story takes place in spy land – with the intelligence services of Gondor, Mordor, Ithilien and Lorien all playing off against each other. It also gives the history of areas briefly mentioned in Tolkien’s work like Umbar and Khand. One of the coolest characters in my opinion was Galadriel who still doesn’t get much on screen time (like in the original.) She really appears to be some kind of super elf. When she decides to go and throw down the walls of Dol-Guldur herself, she gives detailed instructions to the other senior elves about what they should avoid while she’s gone. At one point she says “those are really children who may set the house on fire while Mama is away! Celeborn is an incompetent idiot.

Any lover of Tolkien’s world will appreciate The Last Ringbearer. The new perspectives actually fill up several gaping holes in the original story that simply never occurred to me before. But seeing everything explained was like having the scales fall from my eyes :) . It’s taken over a decade for the book to come out in English because the Tolkien Estate is very aggressive in shutting down stuff concerning the lord of the rings. But since the original is in Russian, they can’t do much about it. I’m glad it’s finally out.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book. It adds its own great plot in addition to explaining the truth of LOTR. Powerful stuff!

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Comments

  1. It sounds good. Usually from what I hear, continuations of epic stories usually turn out bad. :)

    Reply

  2. Well, I am not a fan of this adaptation, not by a long shot. It seemed to me like an attempt at parody, or comedy book. I just couldn’t keep reading and pretend I was really interested, because I wasn’t. This book held no real value for me, I am sorry.

    If I can interest you guys in other book that I really enjoyed(completely out of topic), you should check this review. The book I am talking about is the Trouble In The Camera Club – high quality work. I hope I was not out of place!

    Thanks for the review, man! Keep up the good work!

    David

    Reply

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