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The Roots of the Mountains: A Book that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien Hardcover – November 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Inkling Books (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587420287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587420283
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,783,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Matthew Schwarz on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
William Morris wrote a number of early fantasy (a generation before Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings) that are characterized by a rich, archaic prose. His books are heavily influenced by medieval romances, and fall much closer to such than to the modern post-Tolkien fantasy (or the swords-and-sorcery genre that dominated the mid-20th century). The Roots of the Mountains takes place in an early north-European setting - reminiscent of Viking Scandinavia, or pre-Christian Britain or Germany. As the subtitle of this edition implies, this book kind of reminds one of the human parts of the Lord of the Rings (maybe a Rohan without elves, hobbits, or orcs involved) - indeed, Tolkien admitted Morris as an influence.
The language is a little difficult, although therein lies much of Morris's charm - unlike modern fantasy authors (and, worse, Sci-Fi channel programs), Morris does not use modern language and "feel" in his fantasy, but creates a medieval/fantasy atmosphere with his very choice of words (using many words that went out of fashion with Chaucer).
The story itself is an engaging adventure involving love, battle, and a more pastoral setting of people who live closer to the land than most of us do today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many people would think this is a difficult book to read, but it was worth the effort in that it was the inspiration behind Tolkien work. You can see a lot of Morris in Tolkien's work.
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Format: Paperback
This is more for those who are interested in the history and drama of the battles a lost people than magical rings or wizardry. Morris gives fantastic descriptions of his locales and the action in this novel and the prequel (The House of the Wolfings) is vibrant with energy. The two stories are basically about the cross purposes of love and loyalty. The novel can be confusing to keep track of the characters as at various points the same character will be referred to with a different name. Overall I think it is a thrilling adventure which stands on its own, not only as a foundation stone for further creations in the medium.
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