first book I read by Dennis L. McKiernan was The
Eye of the Hunter – and I fell in love. It
reminded me of Lord
of the Rings. McKiernan's
Mithgar bears a strong resemblance to Middle Earth.
a reason for the similarity between the two. As McKiernan
has explained it, he was in an accident in 1977 that led to
many months of confinement in bed. During that time, he began
what he intended to be a sequel to Tolkien's epic work.
company Doubleday was interested, and tried to obtain permission
from Tolkien's estate to release McKiernan's book. Permission
was denied. Doubleday – to its credit, I think –
asked McKiernan to rewrite his story in a different setting.
The result was the Iron Tower trilogy set
in Mithgar: The
Dark Tide, Shadows
of Doom and The
Darkest Day – all originally published separately
in 1984 and later (in 2000) released together in an omnibus
read all the Mithgar
books. My favorites, dedicated lover of all things elven that
I am, are – of course – the ones featuring the
elf, Aravan. Eye
of the Hunter, Voyage
of the Fox Rider, Silver
Wolf, Black Falcon.
Lester McKiernan was born (in April 1932) and grew up in Moberly,
Mo. He served four years in the U.S. Air Force during the
Korean War years, then followed his military service with
studies at the University of Missouri, where he received a
bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1958.
receiving his M.S. degree in that field from Duke University
(1964), he worked as an engineer at AT&T, initially at
Western Electric, then at Bell Laboratories. In
1989, McKiernan took early retirement and began writing full-time.
Besides his Mithgar books, McKiernan in 1995 wrote the science
of Socrates, set in our modern world and pitting
a band of live-action role players are against an Artificial
Intelligence with issues.This is another of my McKiernan favorites.
If you haven't read it – I highly recommend it.
returned to fantasy again in 2001 with Once
Upon a Winter's Night, first book in his Faery series.
There are now five books in that series, most recently Once
Upon a Dreadful Time (2007). That setting is a universe
in which our human world borders on the realms of Faerie.
In 2008, after a four-year absence, McKiernan returned to
Mithgar with City
of Jade. He has also written a number of short stories
that have been anthologized.
good news: a sequel to Caverns, Shadow Peril, is
“coming soon,” according to McKiernan's fanpage,
hardly wait to get my hands on it!