In 1999, Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov wrote The Last Ring-Bearer, a 139,000-word novel that re-wrote The Lord of the Rings trilogy–re-imagining J.R.R. Tolkien‘s heroic epic as a bloody war with unrecorded consequences. Now Yisroel Markov has released a translation of the novel (with Yeskov’s help).
The translator explained his his labor of love (published for non-commercial distribution only): “Several publishing houses have considered a commercial translation of this book, which had been published in several major European languages, but abandoned the idea out of fear of the Tolkien estate, which rigidly controls all derivative works, especially in English.”
In the 15-year-old book, Yeskov re-wrote Tolkien’s masterpiece from the point of view of Mordor, a region defeated in the war to control Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings. It focused on a single question: “what was that war really about?”
Here’s an excerpt, as Sauron argues with Gandalf about the future of Middle Earth–reversing ideas of “good” and “evil” in the trilogy: “[H]istory will be written by those who will win under your banner. There are tried and true recipes for that: cast Mordor as the Evil Empire that wished to enslave the entire Middle Earth, and its inhabitants as non-human monsters that rode werewolves and ate human flesh … I am not talking about history now, but rather yourself. Allow me to repeat my rude question about the people who hold the knowledge of the civilization of Mordor. That they will have to be destroyed, quite literally, is beyond doubt – ‘uproot the weed entirely’ – otherwise the whole endeavor is meaningless.” (Via Reddit)