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on 22 July 2017
This wasn't what I expected, which is probably my own fault for not investigating it fully. I thought it was a complete guide, was detailed information about each item, word, location, name etc from the all the books.

In fact, what it is, is an index for the books - and relies heavily on the reader having the correct edition of the books. So, for example, looking up "Araw" the entry reads: "(S.) Qrome (q.v). (III 29, 395, '93 ed. 28, 357; '01 ed. 13, 348)"

You then have to check if you have the 1993 printing of LOTR Book 3, or the 2001 printing. If you do have one of these 2 versions, you can then go to the chapter and page mentioned and find what the reference means.

If you don't have those editions, chances are you won't find the reference and will be left feeling frustrated.

I have another book titled "A guide to Tolkien : A-Z" which instead gives you a paragraph of text about the entry. I expected this Complete Guide to be a better more detailed version of the A-Z, so was left disappointed.

Of course, if you are a Tolkien scholar and looking for a detailed index to the world then I am sure you will love this book, but if you are a more casual learner of the Tolkien universe you may find it hard going, and would find better guides out there.
7 people found this helpful
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on 19 May 2014
I imagine that there must be quite a few Tolkien geeks who've dreamt of compiling an encyclopaedia of Middle-earth. Well, dear old Professor Foster has made all those fancies redundant. His Complete Guide - which draws on every item in Tolkien's legendarium up to and including The Silmarillion - is as close to being definitive as any reference book that I've ever seen. Christopher Tolkien himself commends it in his introduction to his father's Unfinished Tales, and there could be no higher praise.

In its present, 2003 edition, the Guide includes a chronology of the First Age, genealogical tables and an index of sources, as well as a concluding note by Ted Nasmith. Which brings me to this edition's most striking innovation: it now features no fewer than fifty of Ted's remarkable photo-realistic paintings of scenes from Tolkien's world.

For me to comment on these is perhaps unnecessary - a search for Ted's name on Google's Images page will show you soon enough what his work is like. For what it's worth, I think that his art is most successful when he's depicting ships or seas or skies - his painting of Earendil's Vingilot sailing for Aman is to my eye surpassingly lovely. And I'd say that all his landscapes are well worth seeing too, if perhaps sometimes slightly nudged towards gloominess by the influence of the X-Filesy conifer woods of his native Canada. He's least successful, in my wholly inexpert opinion, when he's painting figures in scenes of intense drama, when there's something about the results that to me looks a touch histrionic. What's not in doubt is that all his painting shows a dedication and skill that seem almost superhuman.

Harper's Chinese printers have reproduced Ted's art immaculately, on heavy, opaque paper that has a slight sheen to it. The same paper is used for Professor Foster's text, which is printed in an unusually slender font. A consequence is that reading the text by lamplight can be a touch less comfortable than it would have been if the typeface had been bolder.

The book is designed to match Ted's illustrated edition of The Silmarillion and the versions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings illustrated by Alan Lee.
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on 22 April 2014
This is a comprehensive and excellent guide suitable for anyone who is interested in the tales of Middle-earth but who, like me, has difficulty remembering every name or connection. it also has some family trees at the back that come in handy. It is very solid in hardback. I am very pleased with it.
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on 22 August 2017
An excellent guide and some lovely illustrations too!
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on 26 July 2017
For grown up son
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on 18 June 2014
I had good expectations regarding this book but when it got delivered it surpassed those in an instant. The print quality is excellent, the book itself is huge and the level of detail is very satisfying
One person found this helpful
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on 8 March 2017
Nice book
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on 3 January 2014
Brought for my 15yr old son at xmas, at first thought it might be to detailed for him, but no he absolutely loves it, really good buy and efficient service.
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on 3 May 2011
If you like Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, this is a fantastic book, a must have, with plenty of information, without being "boring", and also very interesting for young people. Highly recommended.
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on 18 May 2015
My son loves this book. Great for a real Tolkien enthusiast.
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