Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
The Return of the King (1955, 1965)
Part Three of The Lord of the Rings
1976 Ballantine books, 544 pages
cover art by J.R.R. Tolkien (left)
2001 Del Rey paperback
cover art by Ted Nasmith (right)
1965 Ace books
cover art by Jack Gaughan
1969 Ballantine books
1990s Ballantine books
cover art by Michael Herring
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Return of the King
This is the triumphant conclusion to the most influential fantasy story of our age. Tolkien pulls the many threads of his epic together beautifully, first with the inspiring Battle of the Pelennor Fields, then with the harrowing journey of Sam and Frodo through Mordor.
But then follows perhaps the most egregious anticlimax I have ever encountered, as Frodo and his friends retrace all their steps across Middle Earth, then have a final dull and unnecessary encounter with Saruman. In my view, whatever points Tolkien was making with this long denouement were not worth ending the trilogy on such a flat note.
Notwithstanding the weak conclusion, The Lord of the Rings is a wonderfully memorable and enjoyable tale, well deserving of the renewed interest and attention that Peter Jackson's outstanding screen version has generated.hat do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to