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The Last Ringbearer

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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,182 ratings  ·  204 reviews
More than 15 years ago Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov tried to settle certain geographical problems in Tolkien's fantasy world. One thing led to another, and he tackled a bigger project - what if we assumed that it's no less real than our world? His conclusion was that in such a case, the story of the Ring of Power is most likely a much-altered heroic retelling of a major ...more
ebook, First Edition, 251 pages
Published 2010 (first published 1999)
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Sam You can get it in various formats on archive.org too:

https://archive.org/details/TheLastRi...

There's no official English release, but this one is…more
You can get it in various formats on archive.org too:

https://archive.org/details/TheLastRi...

There's no official English release, but this one is author-approved. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,182 ratings  ·  204 reviews


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Terence
Feb 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Terence by: Referred by Doug
Saying that The Last Ringbearer is The Lord of the Rings told from Mordor’s point of view is not entirely accurate. True, the principal characters are an army medic and scout of Mordor and an erstwhile Ranger of Ithilien but all the action takes place after the War of the Ring. Middle Earth is recast as Europe during the Cold War, with Gondor and Mordor assuming the roles of the superpowers. The “magic” of Tolkien’s vision becomes window dressing, and the novel reads more like John Le Carré fanf ...more
Hudson
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
UPDATE: A lot of the negative reviews of this book seem to be based on people not being able to deal with the author’s (very clever) undercutting of long-held assumptions about who were the good guys in The Lord of the Rings. I found the text lively in terms of plot, inventive in terms of literature, and incisive in terms of geopolitics. A second reading was even better than the first go-round.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: This is a cut way above your typical fan fiction, satire, and fantasy lit in general.
...more
Aedan Lake
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Note... reading fan translation issued as a free PDF.

http://ymarkov.livejournal.com/270570...

Great fun - a revisionist Lord of the Rings set after the defeat of Mordor, in which two Mordorians (the Orc Ranger Tzerlag and Umbarian Field Medic Haladdin) embark on a desperate plan to save their homeland (and the world) from Elvish domination, against a backdrop of power plays by Aragorn, Faramir, Galadriel and other familiar characters.

Enjoyable for a shades-of-grey morality and the endless schemin
...more
Mike
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a ripping good tale . It retells the LoTR from the perspective of Mordor and with a more realist spin on the world. Real politick is injected into Middle Earth and informs the actions of the nation states. Events aren't driven by some abstract sense of good and evil, but by realistic people making rational decisions in their own self interest. It gives the story a much more compelling thrust in my opinion. In this retelling orcs aren't doing evil for evil's sake (AKA: The Skel ...more
heidi
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fanfic, fantasy, wiscon
(I am humbled by the amount of love and devotion it takes to 1) Write a novel-length transformational/derivative work 2) Translate it into another language.)

This is one of the books I read for the Good Books panel at FOGcon. I would not have if it hadn't been an "assignment", and I'm glad I did. It is interesting and varied. There is a story about strategic war decisions, and a story about spycraft, and a story about weapons design, and a palace intrigue story, and an overarching story of compet
...more
International Cat Lady
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant! We've all heard that history is written by the victor. Well, imagine that The Lord of the Rings is a historical text written by the victors in the War of the Ring, and imagine that the absolute Good vs. Evil depicted in TLOTR is nothing but propaganda written by said victors to excuse/justify their acts. Russian scientist and author Kirill Eskov has written a brilliant reimagining of the War of the Ring (and the time following the defeat of Morder) from the point of view of ...more
E.H. Munro
Jan 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
I made the mistake of trying to read The Last Ringbearer. I will say that the book is priced appropriately, it's free. And that's the extent of the good. When I read the puff piece in Salon I should have known that the book would be as epically awful as the review was ecstatic, but I was so taken by the idea that I had to read it anyway.

The basic idea is a re-telling of the War of the Ring from the other side. OK, excellent start. If you read Tolkien in anything but a facile way there is room fo
...more
Tatiana
Mar 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, fanfic
I want to thank Terence for putting his soul in my soul's stead, so to speak, by finding and reading this book for me, so I don't have to. His analysis is so accurate and detailed (though I did bite the bullet and read it myself last night) that I won't even try to go into any depth about it, other than to say I completely agree that this isn't worth reading, and that the story isn't really worthy of the grandeur of the setting, and could easily have been set in any other fictional world like Du ...more
Christopher
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Take the Lord of the Rings, add the premise that "History is written by the victors," and consider further that:

* The elves are generally considered dangerous and untrustworthy
* The riders of Rohan are basically illiterate peasants, albeit very dangerous ones
* There is indication that Mordor has something to do with technological advances

This tale begins with a Mordorian military scouting unit that was out of contact at the time of the destruction of Sauron's forces. In keeping with "History wri
...more
Michele
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's probably a good idea to read the author's essay on Salon.com before tackling this book. He's a Russian geologist or palaeontologist or something and wrote it because he was puzzling over some geological oddities of Middle Earth (i.e., single continent but no mid-continent mountain range, and also what's on the rest of the map south and east of Morder that you never see?).

The first part, where LoTR is recapped from the Mordorians' perspective, was interesting and rather creative (who knew i
...more
Pablo Bueno
130 páginas. Hasta aquí hemos llegado :\
sologdin
Nov 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
unauthorized sequel to tolkien. attempts to present mordor's perspective of the war, i.e., that feudal-fundamentalists turned back the clock of history by destroying a progressive industrial state. that's damned interesting, and there's plenty of speculation as to how the setting and story might have developed along these lines.

so, then, kinda a cool experiment in bakhtinian dialogic reimagining of a well known text, which text is a nasty old right vision of monarchism, ethnic cleansing, xenopho
...more
Ross Lockhart
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
The idea behind Kirill Yeskov's The Last Ringbearer is killer: Retell The Lord of the Rings from a Mordorian perspective. And at times, this tale comes close to living up to the promise of this premise. Mordor is a fallen superpower, its industrial riches and technological innovation stripped and stolen by the Elven victors in the War of the Rings, and the hapless Orc medic Haladin seems set to be a compelling protagonist as he begins his Nazgûl-given quest, the object of which is a Mission: Imp ...more
Olethros
-La historia la escriben los vencedores, como pasó en la Tierra Media según cree este autor.-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el libro El último anillo (publicación original: Последний кольценосец, 1999), un experimentado explorador orco (perdón, orocueno) y un médico herido escapan de la derrota de su ejército y de las patrullas elfas mientras caminan por Mordor (perdón, Umbror). Y es que La guerra del anillo ha concluido y Mor… Umbror, un país tranquilo, amante de la tecnolog
...more
Ray Blaak
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, required reading for LoTR fans, a wonderful "Real Politik" antidote to the unquestioning heroic stances of LoTR characters.

For example, hobbits are hardly mentioned, Elves are assholes, Wizards are devious and untrustworthy, Orcs are effective soldiers, Mordor is the secular jewel of the world, the main character is a regular human using science to get things done.

In other words, imagine a more balanced point of for interpreting the state of affairs in Middle Earth.

Some commenters co
...more
Jrubino
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
My first thought was “Not another writer so devoid of ideas that he has to ‘borrow’ The Lord of the Rings mythology.” In the first 5 pages, the dread set in. Yet, I continued, and I’m so glad I did.

This novel has a great sense of detail. It mixes realism and magical elements with ease. It’s political. It’s funny. At times it reads like a documentary. The mixture of these elements is blended perfectly.

This novel turns Tolkien’s original perspective upside down. Throughout the novel, I kept rememb
...more
Almielag
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Bumped up from 3 to 4 stars based purely on the introduction of a character named "Tina" into the Lord of the Rings
Pinko Palest
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
magnificent. Almost as good as the real Lord of the Rings, and in many places better. But then, russian authors are very stylish writers. Only, in this case one can't believe that this is his only literary excursion. He writes so well, one just can't believe he is not a professional writer.
It is more of a spy novel than an adventure, and large parts of it read more like John le Carre than Tolkien (the large part of the novel devoted to the spy war in Umbar went maybe a bit too far). It is, of co
...more
Daniel
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Last Ringbearer is based on the premise that The Lord of the Rings was a history written by the victors, to make them look noble and justified in their actions. It is written as a revisionist history of the events following the War of the Ring.

It's a very different picture. Mordor had been a peaceful civilization, developing technology and on the verge of an industrial revolution. Barad-Dur was a thriving city of poets, writers, and intellectuals. Then the traditionalist forces of the west,
...more
Deadwish
Advertencia: ningún fanático ortodoxo de Tolkien debe acercarse a este libro.
Ahora sí, pasemos a mi opinión personal.
"Si la historia la escriben los que ganan, eso quiere decir que hay otra historia"
Este libro aporta una mirada diferente a la Tierra Media. Por suerte (y en algunos momentos por desgracia) el autor no intenta emular el estilo de Tolkien. La novela está escrita con un lenguaje actual, y abundan los insultos y alguna que otra alusión sexual. La idea es interesante, los personajes ta
...more
Tim Byron
This book is basically a sequel to Lord of the Rings told from the point of view of the other side, which basically paints Mordor as a place of science and learning which became a threat to the ignorant medieval elves who ran the place with magic (Yeskov paints Arwen as the power behind Aragorn's throne, for example). It was written by a Russian archaeologist and it really is a fascinating idea, really cleverly thought out. The idea of it - that Lord of the Rings is myth, and that there was a le ...more
Helen
Mar 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I started this book with high hopes, since I rather like alternative viewpoint stories. The very beginning was promising, with a lovely description of a desert sunset. However, I was jerked out of the land of Middle-earth by the use of the word "smartass". I certainly don't want the author to be emulating the writing style of Tolkien, as I think that might be very difficult, but the modern writing style did nothing for me. In addition, the constant misspelling of Middle-earth as Middle Earth I f ...more
Veronica Alt
Apr 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-read-again
I can't begin to express how much I disliked this story. I blame part of it on reading a translation from the original language and part of it on just horrible story-telling.
I very rarely stop reading a book but I didn't even get halfway through this. I was so excited for a different view and voice for Lord of the Rings. What I got was a poor attempt at political thriller with barely recognizable characters. It reads more like the bad LotR fic I wrote in middle school than the, apparently, awar
...more
Hazel
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a rather sweet fan-fiction re-imagining of The Lord of the Rings. Eskov badly needs an editor, for structure and content and language. (Some of the US slang made me cringe. Faramir calls Eowyn 'Honey'. Or is it 'Baby'?) But it's very amusing to see Middle Earth in terms of geopolitics. And would you believe the Elves are the sinister bad guys, bent on global domination? And the Nazgul are philosopher-priests; tee-hee. Lovely idea, but I'm probably too old to buy it. I've gotten almost 40 ...more
Mike
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
A must-read for Lord of the Rings junkies. What if LOTR was merely the whitewashed story of the War of the Ring as told by the victors? This is the story of that war from the Southern and Eastern perspective...along with a new post-war quest. At points it gets a bit too obsessed with technical detail, but overall it's an engrossing new take on Middle Earth.

Read Salon's review of the book: http://www.salon.com/books/laura_mill...

Download the free official pdf: http://ymarkov.livejournal.com/27057
...more
Nente
This is a bilingual review from a reader of the Russian original (and a native speaker). I invite you to scroll down =)
==========================================================
Ничего себе, сколько я вижу здесь положительных отзывов от англоязычных читателей! Похоже, кому-то хорошо зашла основная идея, т.к. перевод явно слабенький (проглядела несколько страниц, сама читала по-русски, разумеется).
Я ничего не имею против самого Еськова и могу понять, почему ему захотелось что-то такое написать. Вс
...more
Libros Prestados
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Videoreseña del libro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xgY9...

"La Historia la escriben los vencedores". Es una gran verdad. Y como muchas veces el Bien y el Mal absolutos no existen, el bando vencedor habrá cometido actos muy poco loables que tapará, bien por medio del subterfugio, bien por medio de la propaganda. De hecho, muchas leyendas y narraciones mitológicas no son más que explicaciones dadas a posteriori en las que se habla de ayudas divinas y malvados muy malvadosos a los que había que
...more
Inay
Jan 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nope
I should explain why I disliked so this book. It is a mix of "this book is not for me" (I honestly did not expect some spy story a la James Bond when opening this one. That part is not bad, just not for me), problem of translation (Well, I think it's the translation, but I don't read russian so I can't be certain) and things that I honestly intensely disliked. My review will be negative, if you liked the book you may not want to read what's follow.

-----

First of all, the good, for there's some
...more
Charley Robson
Feb 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
This story earns its sole point for being a fascinating idea - a reverse perspective Lord of the Rings, with Mordor a thriving society on the verge of an industorial revolution and the envious eyes of malicious Elves and the conniving wizard Gandalf set on undermining and destroying it. Challenging the extremely biased historio-social framing of the Appendices is both a very intelligent and potentially really nuanced and interesting idea -- but while there are one or two good elements, The Last ...more
Andrés Diplotti
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
The premise is certainly intriguing: What if The Lord of the Rings was a piece of propaganda written by the victors? Sadly, this book doesn't deliver.

The demythologizing "historical revisionism" part is grounded on some good ideas, and I mostly liked it. Unfortunately, that part takes only a minute proportion of the page count. Most of the book is devoted to spinning a convoluted cloak-and-dagger tale that takes at least twice as long as it should, in a setting even less believable than the orig
...more
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Eskov graduated from the MSU Department of Entomology from Moscow State University in 1979. In 1986 he defended a dissertation for the Candidate of Biological Sciences at the A.N.Severtsov Institute of Animal Evolutionary Morphology and Ecology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the theme being "Spiders of Northern Siberia (horology analysis)".[1] His main scientific interests as a biologist are spi ...more