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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


The Lord of the Rings
The Two Towers

By J.R.R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin Company, 322 pp, 1954

It's not very often that a sequel is superior to its predecessor, but it does happen. I think The Empire Strikes Back was better than the first Star Wars, and Attack of the Clones was far better than Phantom Menace.

If the upcoming movie version of The Two Towers resembles the book in any way, then we could probably add it to the list of superior sequels.

This a fantastic book, filled with beautiful imagery, fantastic battle scenes, and effective characterization. It's got more action than the first book. The movie version should be just as good.

I won't discuss the plot too much, for those of you who have not read the book yet and are waiting for the movie. But this resembles The Empire Strikes Back in which our heroes are separated for much of the book and reunited toward the end (Frodo and Sam remain separated from the others). Pippen and Merry are captured by the orcs, who are pursued by Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. Gandalf rejoins them, and they hook up with a kingdom of men and a strange and wonderful species called Ents. And that nasty Gollum joins Frodo and Sam and leads them into the lands of Sauron.

That's all I'll say. It's a fantastic book, and the third one should be even better. But I'll wait until next year, about this time, to read that one.

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