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Post by bilbobaggins Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:31 pm

Please comment on my blurb and the alternates for the last paragraph. What one do you prefer?  

A-
There are fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, and then there are those who would trade a genuine elven sword for a chance to visit Middle-earth. Those in the latter camp are certain to find Jeb Smith’s new vividly-illustrated book Middle-earth Lore to be a wonderfully satisfying quest worthy of even the geekiest Tolkienite.

Our journey begins by entering Tolkien’s mind, where we will come to acknowledge how he did not consider himself the creator of Middle-earth but its discoverer. Tolkien actually desired that his tales be digested as historical events. We will then be walked through Peter Jackson's portrayal of The Lord of the Rings in his filmography, where there is much to praise – but also some sacrilegious exaggerations in dire need of mending.

We are eventually led deep into the mines of a “theological Middle-earth debate” for a legendary finale, which is, as some have said, the heart and soul of the book. Be prepared for a thorough unearthing of many long-held assumptions, including subjects such as the true identity of Gandalf , the strength and power of the Númenóreans, Valar, Mumakil, and Balrogs, and much more. As a result of our quest, we will emerge with a distinct appreciation of why these lore clarifications are necessary for making Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.

B
We are eventually led deeper into Tolkien’s legendarium than Dwarves mining for Mithril for a legendary finale, a “theological Middle-earth debate” which is, as some have said, the heart and soul of the book. Be prepared for a thorough unearthing of many long-held assumptions, including subjects such as the true identity of Gandalf , the strength and power of the Númenóreans, Valar, Mumakil, and Balrogs, and much more. As a result of our quest, we will emerge with a distinct appreciation of why these lore clarifications are necessary for making Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.

C
In a legendary conclusion to our Lore-Quest, we will, like the Dwarves digging deeply for Mithril, perhaps even disturbing our own Balrog, delve deeply into the mines of a “theological Middle-earth debate”, which is, as some have said, the heart and soul of the book. Be prepared for a thorough unearthing of many long-held assumptions, including subjects such as the true identity of Gandalf , the strength and power of the Númenóreans, Valar, Mumakil, and Balrogs, and much more. As a result of our quest, we will emerge with a distinct appreciation of why these lore clarifications are necessary for making Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.


Last edited by bilbobaggins on Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by halfwise Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:37 pm

What do you mean by "a legendary finale."? If this is a new discussion, it can't be legendary. Do you mean a discussion of the legend based elements in Tolkien's work? Calling a discussion legendary before it's even published seems a bit premature.

I think B is most clearly written, simply delete the word "legendary" to clean up the last murky reference. But it's still unclear as to whether debate or theology is the heart and soul of Tolkien's work.

As for the second paragraph I would replace "acknowledge how" with "realize that", since "acknowledge" hints at some fault in the reader. I would also delete "actually" in the second sentence, and would trim "we will then be walked through" with the more vigorous "we will walk through".

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Post by bilbobaggins Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:51 pm

halfwise wrote:What do you mean by "a legendary finale."?  If this is a new discussion, it can't be legendary.  Do you mean a discussion of the legend based elements in Tolkien's work?  Calling a discussion legendary before it's even published seems a bit premature.

I think B is most clearly written, simply delete the word "legendary" to clean up the last murky reference.  But it's still unclear as to whether debate or theology is the heart and soul of Tolkien's work.

As for the second paragraph I would replace "acknowledge how" with "realize that", since "acknowledge" hints at some fault in the reader.  I would also delete "actually" in the second sentence, and would trim "we will then be walked through" with the more vigorous "we will walk through".

Incredible comments, thanks for your thoughts.

"legendary finale" is in reference to my final chapter.

I will take you comments, do some reworking and see how it looks. Thanks once more for the help.

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My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by bilbobaggins Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:40 pm

halfwise wrote:What do you mean by "a legendary finale."?  If this is a new discussion, it can't be legendary.  Do you mean a discussion of the legend based elements in Tolkien's work?  Calling a discussion legendary before it's even published seems a bit premature.

I think B is most clearly written, simply delete the word "legendary" to clean up the last murky reference.  But it's still unclear as to whether debate or theology is the heart and soul of Tolkien's work.

As for the second paragraph I would replace "acknowledge how" with "realize that", since "acknowledge" hints at some fault in the reader.  I would also delete "actually" in the second sentence, and would trim "we will then be walked through" with the more vigorous "we will walk through".

What are your thought on this version?

There are fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, and then there are those who would trade a genuine elven sword for a chance to visit Middle-earth. Those in the latter camp are certain to find Jeb Smith’s new vividly-illustrated book Middle-earth Lore to be a wonderfully satisfying quest worthy of even the geekiest Tolkienite.

Our journey begins by entering Tolkien’s mind, where we will come to realize that he did not consider himself the creator of Middle-earth but its discoverer. Tolkien desired that his tales be digested as historical events. We will then be walked through Peter Jackson's portrayal of The Lord of the Rings in his filmography, where there is much to praise – but also some sacrilegious exaggerations in dire need of mending.

Finally, digging deeper than Dwarves mining for Mithril, we are led to the core of Tolkien’s legendarium—the heart and soul of this book. Be prepared for a thorough exposure and review of many long-held assumptions, including those on subjects from the strength of the Valar, the Mumakil, Balrogs, and the Númenóreans, to the true identity of Gandalf and much more. Ultimately we will emerge with a distinct appreciation of why these clarifications of Lore are necessary to make Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.”

_________________
My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by bilbobaggins Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:23 pm

New Upgraded Version- thoughts?

There are fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, and then there are those who would trade a genuine elven sword for a chance to visit Middle-earth. Those in the latter camp are certain to find Jeb Smith’s new vividly-illustrated book Middle-earth Lore to be a wonderfully satisfying quest worthy of even the geekiest Tolkienite.

Our journey begins by entering Tolkien’s mind, where we will come to realize that he did not consider himself the creator of Middle-earth but its discoverer. Tolkien desired that his tales be digested as historical events. We will then be walked through Peter Jackson's portrayal of The Lord of the Rings in his filmography, where there is much to praise – but also some sacrilegious exaggerations in dire need of mending.

Finally, tunneling deeper than Dwarves mining for Mithril, we'll expose the core—the very root of the mountain—that is the heart and soul of this book: Tolkien’s Legendarium. As we dig, be prepared for an unearthing and examination of many long-held assumptions, including those on subjects from the strength of the Valar, the Mumakil, Balrogs, and the Númenóreans, to the true identity of Gandalf and much more.

As a result of our quest, we will emerge from our excavation with a distinct appreciation for why these clarifications of Lore are necessary to make Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.”

_________________
My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by halfwise Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:32 pm

Much improved.

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Post by bilbobaggins Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:41 pm

halfwise wrote:Much improved.

Very Happy

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Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by Forest Shepherd Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:56 pm

Warning: Crabbit rant below. Skip to sleep better at night.


It sounds amateur: containing too many cutesy phrases and metaphors without clearly describing what the book is.

Contrast it with the blurb for The Nature of Middle-earth that can be found on the book's product page on most websites. It is a slightly abridged version compared to what can be found on the inside front flap of the dust jacket. Emphasis theirs.

"The first ever publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide range of subjects and perfect for those who have read and enjoyed The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth, and want to learn more about Tolkien’s magnificent world.

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.

For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation. From sweeping themes as profound as Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!

This new collection, which has been edited by Carl F. Hostetter, one of the world’s leading Tolkien experts, is a veritable treasure-trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life."


Specific thoughts:

There are fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, and then there are those who would trade a genuine elven sword for a chance to visit Middle-earth.

Fans of Tolkien are the only ones who would make such a trade, so who is this other group who are not Tolkien fans? Where is anyone getting genuine Elven swords from if not from Middle-earth?  "Elven" should be capitalized.
You need to make the distinction here between the casual appreciator and the more rabid sort who would sell their first-born for such an opportunity. Your meaning is not coming through clearly in the text.

Those in the latter camp are certain to find Jeb Smith’s new vividly-illustrated book Middle-earth Lore to be a wonderfully satisfying quest worthy of even the geekiest Tolkienite.
Who is Jeb Smith? If you want to include the author's name here you should tell me who he is in relevance to the topic at hand. "Tolkien scholar", whatever. Unless we're speaking of a house-hold name, it is awkward to simply assume that the reader knows who someone is. Also, laying it on a bit thick with the praise. And who wants to be the "geekiest Tolkienite"? A disreputable creature who wears strange clothing, worships daily at a tobacco and mushroom-festooned shrine, and rarely ventures out into daylight; I imagine.

Our journey begins by entering Tolkien’s mind, where we will come to realize that he did not consider himself the creator of Middle-earth but its discoverer. Tolkien desired that his tales be digested as historical events.
What does it mean to begin by entering Tolkien's mind? This seems sudden. Can we begin by entering his study and having some tea before pulling open his skull and diving into his brain? You don't actually mean that the book begins with an exploration of his mind--such a task is beyond any of our capabilities--and to be honest I would pefer Tolkien have the privacy of his own mind. I am satisfied with exploring his writing, and the thoughts about his writing that he and those around him are willing to share.
What you actually mean here is uncertain, as all you've done is listed two disconnected snippets from Tolkien's writing about his work. How are these two factoids the basis for a portion of a book? What is the first part of your book actually about?

We will then be walked through Peter Jackson's portrayal of The Lord of the Rings in his filmography, where there is much to praise – but also some sacrilegious exaggerations in dire need of mending.
Put "walk through", rather than "be walked through". The latter suggests either infirmity or a plodding museum tour. Neither of these accurately describe the writing, one hopes.
It It is gauche to say "sacrilegious" in this context. We have just swung through Tolkien's mind (whether he wished it or no), so we can answer whether Tolkien considered The Lord of the Rings a sacred text. I very much doubt it.
You also imply here that the book is going to mend Jackson's transgressions. But a book cannot alter the filmography one pixel. It is beyond it's ability. It's a book!

Finally, tunneling deeper than Dwarves mining for Mithril, we'll expose the core—the very root of the mountain—that is the heart and soul of this book: Tolkien’s Legendarium.
This is a bizarre journey. We forced our way into Tolkien's mind, we were led through Jackson's sacrilegious-but-praiseworthy filmography, and now we're tunneling down past Durin's Bane to find... The Legendarium! What do you mean by his Legendarium? And why is it capitalized? And why is Tolkien's mind a separate topic from his Legendarium? Surely the latter is included in the former: the very engine of its creation? You should briefly describe what you mean by his Legendarium.
Also, consider altering the flow of the sentence above. A phrase goes through several reinterpretations. The core >> the root of the mountain >> the heart and soul >> Tolkien's Legendarium. Shorten it up. One is not introducing a circus act. "The 'Orror of the Orient! The Menace of Malay! The Killer of Kalkutta, Massikar the Man-eater!"

As we dig, be prepared for an unearthing and examination of many long-held assumptions, including those on subjects from the strength of the Valar, the Mumakil, Balrogs, and the Númenóreans, to the true identity of Gandalf and much more.
The digging metaphor is goofy. None of these things are buried. Tolkien is the most discussed fantasy author ever.
Your phrasing here suggests that we'll be unearthing long-held assumptions. But don't you mean that the book goes over source material that corrects many long-held assumptions? I wonder though, whether the odd-smelling "geekiest Tolkienite" has long-held assumptions about the true identity of Gandalf. (Olorin? A Maia? And eventually one of the Istari? Are these assumptions?)

As a result of our quest, we will emerge from our excavation with a distinct appreciation for why these clarifications of Lore are necessary to make Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.”
A quest has a goal. What goal is driving the reader to pick up the book? Or instead, what goal guided Mr. Smith as he wrote this book? You have not specified a goal, so do not speak of a quest.
This last sentence sounds straight out of a college paper, with many unnecessary words that are a chore to plod through.
"As a result of" is bad. "we will" is bad. "distinct" is bad. (What is wrong with a simple "appreciation"? Why does it need to be "distinct"?)
"Clarification of Lore" is bad. (Why is Lore capitalized?) "Necessary clarifications" are found in the dreary notes of bureaucratic deliberations. This is NOT an inspiring reason to read a book.
"Truly come to life" as opposed to "come to life" is bad.
"Inspired brilliance" is bad. What's wrong with "brilliance"?
Adding an adjective to every single noun does not necessarily improve a sentence.

Bloody start over. Write down what the book is actually about. Skip all the cutesy metaphor. Once you have that locked in, you can add some flourishes if you want.


Last edited by Forest Shepherd on Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"The earth was rushing past like a river or a sea below him. Trees and water, and green grass, hurried away beneath. A great roar of wild animals rose as they rushed over the Zoological Gardens, mixed with a chattering of monkeys and a screaming of birds; but it died away in a moment behind them. And now there was nothing but the roofs of houses, sweeping along like a great torrent of stones and rocks. Chimney-pots fell, and tiles flew from the roofs..."
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Post by bilbobaggins Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:04 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Warning: Crabbit rant below. Skip to sleep better at night.


It sounds amateur: containing too many cutesy phrases and metaphors without clearly describing what the book is.

Contrast it with the blurb for The Nature of Middle-earth that can be found on the book's product page on most websites. It is a slightly abridged version compared to what can be found on the inside front flap of the dust jacket. Emphasis theirs.

"The first ever publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide range of subjects and perfect for those who have read and enjoyed The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth, and want to learn more about Tolkien’s magnificent world.

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.

For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation. From sweeping themes as profound as Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!

This new collection, which has been edited by Carl F. Hostetter, one of the world’s leading Tolkien experts, is a veritable treasure-trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life."


Specific thoughts:

There are fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, and then there are those who would trade a genuine elven sword for a chance to visit Middle-earth.

Fans of Tolkien are the only ones who would make such a trade, so who is this other group who are not Tolkien fans? Where is anyone getting genuine Elven swords from if not from Middle-earth?  "Elven" should be capitalized.
You need to make the distinction here between the casual appreciator and the more rabid sort who would sell their first-born for such an opportunity. Your meaning is not coming through clearly in the text.

Those in the latter camp are certain to find Jeb Smith’s new vividly-illustrated book Middle-earth Lore to be a wonderfully satisfying quest worthy of even the geekiest Tolkienite.
Who is Jeb Smith? If you want to include the author's name here you should tell me who he is in relevance to the topic at hand. "Tolkien scholar", whatever. Unless we're speaking of a house-hold name, it is awkward to simply assume that the reader knows who someone is. Also, laying it on a bit thick with the praise. And who wants to be the "geekiest Tolkienite"? A disreputable, uncouth creature who wears strange clothing and rarely ventures out into daylight, I imagine.

Our journey begins by entering Tolkien’s mind, where we will come to realize that he did not consider himself the creator of Middle-earth but its discoverer. Tolkien desired that his tales be digested as historical events.
What does it mean to begin by entering Tolkien's mind? This seems sudden. Can we begin by entering his study and having some tea before pulling open his skull and diving into his brain? You don't actually mean that the book begins with an exploration of his mind--such a task if beyond any of our capabilities--and to be honest I think I would like for Tolkien to have the privacy of his own mind. I am satisfied with exploring his writing, and the thoughts about his writing that he and those around him were willing to share. What you actually mean here is uncertain, as all you've done is listed two disconnected snippets from Tolkien's writing about his work. How are these two factoids the basis for a portion of a book? What is the first part of your book actually about?

We will then be walked through Peter Jackson's portrayal of The Lord of the Rings in his filmography, where there is much to praise – but also some sacrilegious exaggerations in dire need of mending.
"walk through", rather than "be walked through". The latter suggests either infirmity or a plodding museum tour. Neither of these accurately describe the writing, one hopes.It It is gauche to say "sacrilegious" in this context. We have just swung through Tolkien's mind (whether he wishes it or no), so we can answer whether Tolkien considered The Lord of the Rings a sacred text. I very much doubt it.

Finally, tunneling deeper than Dwarves mining for Mithril, we'll expose the core—the very root of the mountain—that is the heart and soul of this book: Tolkien’s Legendarium.
This is a bizarre journey. We forced our way into Tolkien's mind, we were led through Jackson's sacrilegious-but-praiseworthy filmography, and now we're tunneling down past Durin's Bane to find... The Legendarium! What do you mean by his Legendarium? And why is it capitalized? And why is Tolkien's mind a separate topic from his Legendarium? Surely the latter is included in the former as the engine of its creation? You should briefly describe what you mean by his Legendarium.
Also, consider altering the flow of the sentence above. A phrase goes through several reinterpretations. The core >> the root of the mountain >> the heart and soul >> Tolkien's Legendarium. Shorten it up. One is not introducing a circus act. "The 'Orror of the Orient! The Menace of Malay! The Killer of Kalkutta, Massikar the Man-eater!"

As we dig, be prepared for an unearthing and examination of many long-held assumptions, including those on subjects from the strength of the Valar, the Mumakil, Balrogs, and the Númenóreans, to the true identity of Gandalf and much more.
The digging metaphor is goofy. None of these things are buried. Tolkien is the most discussed fantasy author ever.
Your phrasing here suggests that we'll be unearthing long-held assumptions. But don't you mean that the book goes over source material that corrects many long-held assumptions? I wonder though, whether the "geekiest Tolkienite" has long-held assumptions about the true identity of Gandalf. (Olorin? A Maia? And eventually one of the Istari? Are these assumptions?)

As a result of our quest, we will emerge from our excavation with a distinct appreciation for why these clarifications of Lore are necessary to make Middle-earth truly come to life in all its inspired brilliance.”
A quest has a goal. What goal is driving the reader to pick up the book? Or instead, what goal guided Mr. Smith as he wrote this book?
This last sentence sounds straight out of a college paper, with many unnecessary words that are a chore to plod through.
"As a result of" is bad. "we will" is bad. "distinct" is bad. (What is wrong with a simple "appreciation"? Why does it need to be "distinct"?)
"Clarification of Lore" is bad. (Why is Lore capitalized?) "Necessary clarifications" are found in the notes of dreary bureaucratic deliberations. This is NOT an inspiring reason to read a book.
"Truly come to life" as opposed to "come to life" is bad.
"Inspired brilliance" is bad. What's wrong with "brilliance"? Adding an adjective to every single noun does not necessarily improve a sentence.

Bloody start over. Write down what the book is actually about. Skip all the cutesy metaphor. Once you have that locked in, you can add some flourishes if you want.


Great thoughts, there is allot here. You have set me back for sure. I will have a look over your suggestions thanks for taking the time to post an in-depth critique.

_________________
My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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Post by Forest Shepherd Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:16 pm

Of course, and I apologize for the number of scurrilous remarks. I have a penchant for unwarranted criticism. There is little point in setting out upon a Crusade if there is no Holy Land to be won.

(There is a reason that I have been banned a lot. Razz )

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Post by bilbobaggins Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:25 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Of course, and I apologize for the number of scurrilous remarks. I have a penchant for unwarranted criticism. There is little point in setting out upon a Crusade if there is no Holy Land to be won.

(There is a reason that I have been banned a lot. Razz )

Very Happy You wont find complaints here Twisted Evil

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My books
Middle-earth Lore: Tolkien’s Legends Revealed
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CV9D26V3
The Road Goes Ever On and On: A New Perspective on J. R. R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jeb-Smith/dp/1685701256
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