Hugh Pickens writes writes: "It's been said that history is written by the winners but Laura Miller writes in Salon about a counterexample as she reviews a new version of "Lord of the Rings" published to acclaim in Russia by Kirill Yeskov, a professional paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life from fossil remnants. Yeskov performs essentially the same feat in "The Last Ring-bearer," reconstructing the real world of Tolkien's Arda from "The Lord of the Rings" set during and after the end of the War of the Ring and told from the perspective of the losers. In Yeskov's retelling, available in translation as a free download, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men" and Aragorn is depicted by Yeskov as a ruthless Machiavellian schemer who is ultimately the puppet of his wife, the elf Arwen. Sauron's citadel Barad-dur is, by contrast, described as "that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic." According to Miller "in Yeskov's scenario, "The Lord of the Rings" is a highly romanticized and mythologized version of the fall of Mordor, perhaps even outright propaganda; "The Last Ringbearer" is supposed to be the more complicated and less sentimental true story.""
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