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Stunning Collectors Edition
on September 22, 2014
Having only an old 1994 worn paperback edition of the Lord of the Rings, I wanted to purchase a version that I could read and display for many years to come. I did a ton of research and decided upon this version (ISBN 116-1749849-2513827), illustrated by Alan Lee and published by Harper Collins in June 2014 (I am adding these details because the Amazon.com site does not make it clear what this version is). Please note that this particular printing is NOT available in the US but any Tolkien or LotR devotee should not be deterred (Frodo wouldn't have been!). I must say that this is the finest published one-volume version of the LotR that I have ever laid eyes upon, and is well worth every penny. It includes approximately 50 high-quality color illustrations by Alan Lee, which even for a 30-something like me makes the reading experience exceptional. The front and back covers are made of durable, high-quality cloth (as shown), with a strong and handsome turquoise binding. The pages -- not just the illustrations but the entire book -- are glossy and made of "whiter" paper than you generally find, the margins large, and the typeset easy on the eyes.
For those who care about such things, the printing is based on the 2004 corrected text, with even further corrections. There are updated introductions/forwards by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, authors of the authoritative "LOTR Readers Companion," as well as by Douglas A. Anderson, who provides a detailed publication history of the Lord of the Rings. The full appendices are included.
Two-page red and black maps of Middle Earth and of Gondor/Rohan/Mordor adorn the front and back covers, with a map of the Shire before the first chapter. Also present are other essentials such as the Doors of Moria and the Tomb of Balin. The only drawback is that the facsimile pages of the Book of Mazarbul was not included, which I found to be surprising and a bit disappointing Also, the ring inscription and the Gandalf "rune" are printed in black rather than silver and red. Probably the main issue is the clear plastic slipcover, which is barely bigger than the book itself, and it is difficult to slip the book back inside it after taking it out. You are more likely to scuff the corners of the book. That being said, these are far from dealbreakers, and the joy to be received from owning this edition far outweighs these issues.