Fiction Reviews

Tales From The Perilous Realm

(2008) J. R. R. Tolkien, HarperCollins, 18.99, hrdbk, xxviii + 403 pp, ISBN 978-0-007-25754-6

Of course Tolkien (1892-1973) is well known for his Middle Earth novels such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit but he also penned a number of other books and short stories. Some of these last rarely see print and are scattered over several anthologies over many decades (some posthumously). This new collection brings together 5 of Tolkein's novellas: 'Roverandom' (1998), Farmer Giles of Ham' (1949), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil' (1961) which is in fact a poem, Smith of Wotton Major' (1967), and 'Leaf by Niggle' (1964)'

But this volume Tales From The Perilous Realm offers more. First off there is an appendix which is in fact Tolkien's essay 'On-Fairy Stories' where the great man himself reveals his thoughts on fantasy and fairy tales. Then there is a thoughtful 19-page introduction by the fantasy scholar Tom Shippey. To cap it all the whole volume is exquisitely illustrated by Alan Lee: these really are beautiful and the colour cover illustration is presented twice again on the inside covers but without all the citation text.

What more can I say? This is simply a lovely volume that will be hugely appreciated by both Tolkien enthusiasts and more general fantasy readers alike. You really do not need any more of a review than that.

Jonathan Cowie

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