The Iron Tower Trilogy gets a lot of heat for ripping off The Lord of the Rings and it does!
An Alliance of do-gooder men, elves, dwarves and 'wee folk' with no interior conflict - check. A massive rabble of short and tall abhuman brutes, massive trolls and evil swarthy humans led by a faceless sorcerer who never leaves his distant tower and happens to be the lackey of a greater evil - check. A band of heroes fleeing through a lost dwarven city stalked by the ancient evil that brought it down - check. The list goes on and on. The Iron Tower's effortless comparison to LotR is its greatest weakness yet here me out.
I remember reading LotR and it was a heavy, boring read that I struggled to get through. The Iron Tower is a darker, more violent product of 1985. More truly a war story than a band of adventurers. While good and evil remain in glaring stark contrast here, the villains have a bit more variety in undead ghoul cavalry, instant sunlight death across the board and a sorcerous eternal night required to advance. The villains are more competent, maneuver and even win some battles.
Imagine LotR where there is no Gandalf. The good guys LOSE at the Battle of Helms Deep. The Shire is sacked and brought to ruin and the 'wee folk' are not so laughably helpless as LotR but will quill you full of arrows without batting an eye. The good guys must triumph by physical might in forlorn struggle, some very patient prophecy and a few magic trinkets in the right place at the right time, good and bad, all set into motion long ago by competing Gods.
And compliments to the Narrator, Cameron Beierle. An excellent reading with an impressive array of easily distinguished character voices. His performance is nearly flawless. Too, one must credit the world building lore of the setting in the races, their origins and related conflicts of old that are fully explored in spin off books outside this trilogy. A pity only Trek To Kraggen-Cor is here in Audible.
I shall commit nerd heresy and declare that despite looting Tolkien's legacy, I enjoyed The Iron Tower and its spin offs far more than I did LotR.
If you like cheering for the "LITTLE GUYS" this is a rip-roaring epic adventure, with characters worth rooting for.
I have found the writing to be awkward and bulky. It sounds like the Dennis McKiernan was writing a great epic poem like the Iliad, or the Odessy, but without the poeticism those were originally written with. The writing just comes across as awkward and overly wordy, however the story is good so I did listen to the entire book. I am not sure if I will be in a hurry to listen to the rest of the trilogy however, there are other books I find much more pleasurable to listen to or read.
I hope no one
The author must have read Tolkien and taken extensive notes, this is clear for the beginning when some of the words and mannerisms are even the same.
I'll try to listen until the end of book 1 for completeness sake
When I seen that Cameron Beierle was the narrator of this book I had to give this book a listen. To those of you who have already read or listen to the Belgarion series which Mr. Beierle narrates, this book may seem a bit weak, thats being kind. But I am comparing Dennis L. McKieman's book to the best epic ever written. David Eddings ten book series is the greatest work of fantasy ever written and Mr. Beierle brought those characters to life. If you have not read the Belgarion and the Mallorean series do so right now. Don't just get it from the library. Buy it and keep it safe. It's on Audible!!! ps. Whose this Tolkien guy? jk
Many people will see the obvious similarities between the adventures told by Mr. McKiernan and those of Tolkien. The books were originally written to take place in Tolkien's world, but for licensing reasons had to be placed into a world of his own. I am quite happy that this story was told. McKiernan is a masterful storyteller; his use of the English language superb and effortless.
The narration is also excellent. As always, the voice of the narrator takes some getting used to, but Mr. Beierle is great. I strongly recommend this series and I hope more of McKiernan's books from my childhood make their way to audiobook. Revisiting them on the long drive to work as a grown-up takes me back.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but the shameless copying of a good story with bad writing is simply to ride the coat tails of a famous (excellent) author. There was no true plot; no character development; no internal consistency (hardened warriors shed more frequent tears than most children of my acquaintance), and NO originality. The "plot", the characters, the names, the places, and the myriad types of nonhuman creatures are all barely disguised copies of those from J.R.R. Tolkien's books. The "doom, doom, boom" of the enemy drum beats is stolen directly from the scene just prior to Gandalf's battle with the Balrog in Moria in "The Lord of the Rings"; except in "The Drk Tide" the phrase is repeated over and over to the point of listener irritation. Also,in fact, there is no semblance of a conclusion, something even a trilogy should provide, It just quits. Though a good reader might have marginally redeemed it, this reader sounds similar to a deep-voiced 2nd grader performing in front of a stern, critical schoolmaster.
In sum: I wasted my time waiting for the book to finally become...something.