Friday, December 21, 2012

Fellowship of the Book: T. M. Doran's Toward the Gleam (Review)

Christmas is upon us, and Peter Jackson's new Hobbit movie has recently premiered, which reminds me of a great book I've been meaning to recommend. Anyone looking for a Christmas gift for fans of Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth should take a look at T. M. Doran's novel, Toward the Gleam (from Ignatius Press, available in hardback, ereader, and audio editions; get the Kindle version from Amazon .) It is both an homage to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and a gripping tale in its own right. The makers of the book's trailer definitely wanted to draw attention to the connection between Doran's novel and Tolkien's.





Toward the Gleam cover art, John Herried, Daniel Mitsui, T. M. DoranThe cover art design for the book should also remind readers of LOTR. Here's Toward the Gleam, cover designed by John Herreid and executed by a wonderful Catholic artist, Daniel Mitsui. You can see that it incorporates some of the design elements from the well-known covers of the 1986 Houghton Mifflin edition (below), such as the runic message around the edge, and iconic scenes from the story. Herreid's design actually incorporates lots of little visual clues to important elements of Doran's story, which takes place not in Middle Earth but in Britain and Europe during Tolkien's lifetime.

Lord of the Rings covers, 1986 Houghton-Mifflin edition
Without providing spoilers, I'll just say that Toward the Gleam is chockablock with thinly disguised fictional versions of real life figures from Tolkien's life and times, which readers will have fun recognizing. More importantly, however, is the way this real-world (but entirely fictional) tale parallels that of Tolkien's famous romance, Lord of the Rings. (To say more about that would spoil the fun.)  Additionally, imbedded in the plot is an exploration of the various modern philosophies that gave rise to the two great wars that plagued Europe in the first half of the twentieth century and which continue to cause grave problems in our own day. Besides all this, it is a suspenseful tale with a love story embedded in it. There's something for everyone!

No Tolkien or Inklings fan should fail to read this book. Even those who have not read Lord of the Rings or who know little about Tolkien can enjoy this novel, but I suspect they will be intrigued enough to want to read Tolkien after they have finished Toward the Gleam.


1 comment:

  1. I loved Toward the Gleam! Please don't take this as spam, but I have written a nonfiction book on LOTR that perhaps you would be interested in. It's called Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the Rings. It was published by WestBow Press. You can get more details here: http://ow.ly/ez2dT.

    Happy New Year!

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)

    ReplyDelete

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