There are two sides to every story. That’s the philosophy behind The Last Ringbearer, a tale set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth during the War of the Ring and told from the point of view of the “bad guys”. The Last Ringbearer was written by paleontologist Kirill Yeskov and published to acclaim in his native Russia in 1999. Fear of litigation by the Tolkien estate had until recently prevented its publication in English, but that changed in 2010 when Yisroel Markov posted his English translation of The Last Ringbearer as a free download. Fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will note a variety of substantial differences; Sauron and the Ring of Power rate only passing mention, and hobbits are completely absent from the tale. For more information and analysis of The Last Ringbearer, take a look at this article on the subject, or this book review. Readers interested in exploring this concept of the “bad guys” as sympathetic characters with a different point of view should also check out Jacqueline Carey’s Banewreaker, the first book (along with Godslayer) in a duology titled The Sundering, which like The Last Ringbearer was inspired by and based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.