I loved this book just as much as the first one. And just as the first one, there are a lot of nods to Middle-earth. Here under other guise is Sting, lembas bread, Khazad-dum, the Balrog (though in some ways this one is even scarier though not wreathed in flame the same way) and the Straight Road. But as the first one, this is also very much its own story of the terrible struggle of good vs evil. Another treasure found in a used book store. Yea!