The Last Ring-Bearer starts with an idea of writing about Lord of the Rings from Mordorian perspective. Where the LOTR had magic, Last Ringbearer hasThe Last Ring-Bearer starts with an idea of writing about Lord of the Rings from Mordorian perspective. Where the LOTR had magic, Last Ringbearer has Mordor being on the verge of industrial revolution and being targeted because of it.
Unfortunately, the book falls flat in several ways. It's not so much LOTR from Mordorian perspective but a shoddy attempt of spy-military novel which just happens to use some names from the Lord of the Rings. The beginning of the book shares some events with Lord of the Rings, but it's mostly to establish the premise: the end of the war is described hastily in terms that are meant to make sure readers realize that the pure characters of LOTR were, in reality, evil, greedy or at the very least stupid.
The real story picks up after the War of the Rings as known in LOTR, where a couple of Mordorian military people, a medic and a scout, start on a secret mission to save the Motherland. It has some redeeming qualities, but pretty soon it devolves into a military-spy novel which jumps from place to place, takes weird sidetracks to describe internal politics of countries barely mentioned in LOTR and not really essential to this book either. Mordor is supposed to be moving from magic to technology, but the whole plot still depends on various magic devices.
The book has been translated by a fan, and that's probably one reason for fluctuation in the use of tenses: the text moves freely between past and present tense, often inside a paragraph and sometimes even during one sentence. It slows the reading down and turns really annoying, really fast. There are also occasional lapses in style which might be explained by mistakes in translation ("I'm a broad, I can foresee...").
Somewhere in the middle, the book starts to turn into parody. Expanding on Umbar, Khand and so on is fine, but the way the new concepts are brought into world of LOTR is really hamfisted. Umberto, oath of silence? Nin'yokve fighters? Sniffing kokkaine? No.
The book could've used a proper editor, but the first thing that would've gone would have been the beginning that ties the book with LOTR. That would've left us with a less than mediocre military-spy novel with nothing to separate it from the rest.
The idea that Lord of the Rings is a history written by the victor is great and seeing it expanded would be intriguing. This book just doesn't deliver....more