Having been given this book as a Christmas present, I eagerly set about reading it in its entirety.As a lover of all types of weapons and arms, and written facts about the same, I was looking forward to the pictures and descriptions from Middle Earth, which I hoped to find here.
I was very happy with this aspect of the book. It is a well produced volume, with a hard cover and many glossy pages which are filled with great pictures taken from the movie. The book describes a wide variety of weapons from those made famous by the prowess of their wielders or manufacturers, down to the more mundane carried by ordinary soldiers and warriors of the various armies and peoples of this land.
The book is divided into sections detailing all the peoples who have resided in Middle Earth. And who at one time or another have taken part in its many battles, either on the side of good, or as servants of Sauron, Saruman or other dark powers.
<?$book_review_article_inline_test ?>As I stated earlier, I have no complaint with this aspect of the book, only praise for its detail. If the book had only contained references, pictures and facts detailing various weapons, armor and tactics employed, I would have been more than content and labeled this the perfect volume for reference on the subject.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the author has one serious flaw in his work. He has stated that this is a treatise based on the movies. In an attempt to give more substance to his work, he unsuccessfully tries to marry the true history of Middle Earth, as found in the books of Tolkien with his narrative, while pandering to the historical and other inaccuracies of the movies.
In one glaring instance, in his section dedicated to Elendil, he states that “Narsil which would have been forged for him when he became king as was the Numenorian tradition”
Any one who has read the books knows that this is not a true statement, but it might have been legitimate for purposes of the movie, if he had left it there.
The author, however on the very next page, goes into more depth on Narsil, and states – the true history according to Tolkien – “Narsil the great sword of Elendil was forged by Telchar, a dwarven smith of great renown, long ago in the First Age”
At the very least that would mean that Narsil was forged about 3000 years before Elendil was born, and although Numenorians enjoyed life-spans many times that of normal men, they were not immortal like Elven kind.
There are other occasions where the author’s facts are seriously at odds with actual events and even again at odds with what he himself has stated. Mr Smith should, if he wished to make the films his factual source, stick to them and not attempt to introduce extra information from Tolkien’s books which the issues and his readers.
In closing, this is however a very good reference volume on Middle Earth weapons and their manufacture, somewhat lessened by the unnecessary and confusing nature of the Middle-earth historical narrative.