Art and Literature News / Tolkien News

Trouble in Mordor as ‘The Last Ring-Bearer’ gets Press

Kirill Yeskov (Source: Open Page)

Russian author, Kirill Yeskov, is a big Tolkien fan. So big, in fact, that in 1999 he wrote and published The Last Ring-Bearer, a look into the evil Lord Sauron’s side of the story. The book begins it’s tale as the ‘free-peoples’ of Middle-Earth fight back against Sauron, and continues past his fall and destruction. Despite it’s opposing view in comparison to Tolkien’s work, Yeskov’s book quickly became a favorite among Russian fantasy-reading fans and caught the attention of translator, Yisroel Markov. His devotion to the book spurred him on to work on an English translation. As he quotes on his live journal page,

“I was impressed enough by this work to spend a few dozen lunch hours translating it to English…I have been fortunate to establish communication with the author and have the translation vetted (and much corrected) by him.”

The translated English version was then put on the web, and has since been downloaded thousands of times. However, not all that’s well ends well. It seems the Tolkien Estate has something to say about Yeskov’s take on The Lord of the Rings. It seems there could be a strong case for copyright infringement.

David Brawn at Harper Collins, Tolkien’s exclusive publisher, told The Guardian, “To my knowledge, none of us have ever been approached to publish this book.” He went on to explain, “Online there are lots of infringements which it is extremely difficult to do anything about… When you get something as popular as Tolkien, fans want to create new stories. Most are pretty amateurish. Tolkien himself isn’t around so it’s the estate’s view that it’s best to say no to everything. If you let one in, you’d open the floodgates.”

The bottom line for The Last Ring-Bearer is that copyright infringement would occur if the book becomes available in English, without permission from the the copyright owner.


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