The writing is elegant and descriptive and dramatically beautiful, it *feels * completely authentic, even if it is AU .
The dialogue is wonderful and it is * epic * and you do not get many epics on fanfiction. I look forward to the next in the series! Well done!
Considering I will 99.9% of the time read only Elf-centered fanfic the quality of your writing and story is immense to hook me and keep me hooked, most of the time I will start something and loose interest but this was all gripping and superb!
Author's Response: Fanari, thank you for your kind comments about our story and for sticking with us until the end of Book One. When I wrote the first seven chapters, I wanted the story to merge seamlessly into the canon and then blossom out from that solid root in Tolkien's "official histories." I've seen alternative universe stories which are set in the months and years after Sauron (or Saruman) won the war, but I wanted readers to have a little glimpse of life as it was before the war. Hence this idyllic scene of farm life - peasant maids milking the cow and feeding the chickens, father and son digging a well, mother planting a garden. It's just an average day in a village of the Eastfold. But then everything changes in an instant - a rider approaches, bearing news of Saruman's defeat and the Muster of Rohan; war with the Lord of Mordor is imminent, and all able bodied men are commanded to follow their king and come to the aid of Gondor. Father and son go off to war and the women are left behind to spend their days in darkness and fear.rn
rnIn my portrayal of the women, I was inspired a lot by Aragorn and Eowyn's dialog in "The Passing of the Grey Company." rn
rn"'A time may come soon,' said [Aragorn], 'when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defense of your homes. Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.'rn"And [Eowyn] answered: 'All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.'"rn
rnEowyn wanted to fight with the men, not sit at home and wait for the men to return - or the forces of Mordor to invade. I wanted to do a story about the women who waited at home, and became just statistics in the histories - either captured or killed, their names and lives forgotten. They do not do anything that would be considered brave and heroic by the historians, but yet they possess a quiet sense of bravery. It takes strength and courage to keep from going mad when your home is destroyed, your relatives murdered, and the fate you face is one of dire uncertainty - slavery in an enemy land.rn
rnAngmar and I wanted to write a story about the characters, races and nationalities which neither Tolkien nor his fans wrote much about, such as orcs, Nazgul, Haradrim, Khandians, and Rhunians... even lowly peasants of Rohan and Gondor. With the exception of Sam, Tolkien mostly wrote about nobility and the upper classes. We like to give the poor folk a say. :)rn
rnWe're glad you liked what we have written. And, yes, The Circles IS epic, and will take many years to complete. In the next book, we leave the great Powers behind for a time and explore the miserable plight of the Rohirric captives.rn