20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A fascinating insight, 31 May 2001
I knew that I had hit upon something special when I first read 'The Lord of the Rings'. 'The Return of the Shadow' allows the reader to explore the background to Tolkien's writing and the development of his epic, and it makes fascinating reading. To see how the charcters of Frodo, Sam and most notably, Strider unfold, helps one appreciate the labour that went into Tolkien's masterpiece. The false starts and revisions enable the reader to see how the story might have progressed were it not for the authors care in delivering a story that both follows on from 'The Hobbit' but also builds a more complete story which ties in with his privately developing 'Silmarillion', covering the earlier times in middle earth. Christopher Tolkien, as editor and recipient of many letters during the writng of LOTR has researched his father's work expertly. It is necessary to continue with the other volumes of the 'History of Middle Earth' series, but it is rewarding and well worth the effort. This book is a fascinating insight into the development of the greatest book of the 20th century (allegedly), and why it took nearly 2 decades to complete.