A Collection of Treasures; Tales from the Perilous Realm Will Be Enjoyed by Any Tolkien Reader

Article excerpt

Byline: Tish Wells

WASHINGTON, MCT - One of the great joys of reading J.R.R. Tolkien's work is reading him aloud. Nowhere is this clearer than in the first story in Tales from the Perilous Realm, a new compilation of Tolkien's smaller works.

In Roverandum, Tolkien tells the story of a lost toy dog that has fantastic adventures - a story he told to his young son. It is among the treasures that are now collected in one volume.

Included is an excellent introduction by St Louis University's Tolkien scholar Professor Tom Shippey, solid prologues, and a conclusion written by well-known Tolkien artist Alan Lee, who illustrates the book.

Tolkien started creating his universe as early as his teens. His first mention of fairies was in 1910 when Tolkien was 18 and still at Birmingham's King Edward's School. Five years later he was sent to France and wounded in the trench warfare of World War I.

By the end of 1917, Tolkien, recovering in a military hospital, had sketched out much of the background for Middle Earth's history, the very rich background behind the classic fantasy tales of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Over the next 30 years Tolkien wrote, rewrote, reworked, added to, subtracted from and occasionally published outtakes of his fictional universe. By day he was the Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, but at night his fertile mind was constructing novellas, short stories and poems for his children, grandchildren and publishers. …