The Saga of Eric Brighteyes - A Book That Inspired Tolkien: With Original Illustrations

Sir H Rider Haggard

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes - A Book That Inspired Tolkien: With Original Illustrations
Quillpen Pty Ltd T/A Leaves of Gold Press
1 July 2018

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes - A Book That Inspired Tolkien: With Original Illustrations

Sir H Rider Haggard

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Rider Haggard is among a small selection of Victorian and Edwardian writers whom Professor J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) acknowledged by name. In her introduction to this new edition Cecilia Dart-Thornton says, ‘Haggard’s classic is an action-packed adventure filled with Viking feasts duels, battles on land and sea, romance, treachery, magic, beautiful women and brave heroes. In a description that could be straight out of The Lord of the Rings , Haggard writes that Eric was strong and great of stature, his hair was yellow as gold, and his grey eyes shone with the light of swords. ’ ‘For both authors, landscape plays as important a part as any character, and is described in concise yet evocative language. Haggard plunges his readers among the dizzying precipices, waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, icy winters and stormy seas of his fantastic Iceland, much as Tolkien sweeps us into Middle-Earth.’ Enriched by almost sixty vibrant vignettes and illustrations by the hand of artist Lancelot Speed, this book is a close replica of the 1891 edition, published when Tolkien was one year old. He read it during the formative years of his youth, absorbing, no doubt, the lavish details of the pictures as he perused the tale. Speed was a highly accomplished and prolific fantasy illustrator during Tolkien’s lifetime, and he illuminated many titles Tolkien is known to have read. A dwarf-forged sword wrested from Barrow Dwellers, its bright blade engraved with runes; the appellation: ‘Ring-giver’; poetry and song; a hero with grey eyes - these and many more resemblances of style and content exist between Haggard’s classic tale and ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

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