J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a ‘dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told’. And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices, including the forging of the Rings of Power, the building of the Barad-dur and the rise of Sauron. It was not until Christopher Tolkien published The Silmarillion after his father’s death that a fuller story could be told. Although much of the book’s content concerned the First Age of Middle-earth, there were at its close two key works that revealed the tumultuous events concerning the rise and fall of the island of Númenor. Gifted to the Men of Middle-earth as a reward for aiding in the defeat of the Dark Lord Morgoth, the kingdom became a seat of influence and wealth; but as the Númenóreans’ power increased, the seed of their downfall would inevitably be sown, culminating in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Further insight into the Second Age would be revealed in subsequent publications, first in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, then expanded upon in Christopher Tolkien’s twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth. Now, adhering to the timeline of ‘The Tale of Years’ in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, editor Brian Sibley has assembled into one volume a new chronicle of the Second Age of Middle-earth, told substantially in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien from the various published texts, with 10 new paintings and 65 pencil drawings by Alan Lee. This deluxe slipcased edition is quarterbound in terracotta and printed on heavyweight acid-free paper, stamped in gold foil on dove grey boards with a unique motif designed by Alan Lee, includes a ribbon marker and is housed in a custom-built matching slipcase.