For those interested in the writings of these two famous authors this book is an invaluable aid.  As the title implies it investigates the forty-year relationship that Tolkien and Lewis enjoyed together.  Although there were ebbs and flows in their friendship and it particularly cooled latterly when Lewis married the divorced Joy Davison, their respect for each other did not diminish.  They were very different men, though they complemented one another.  Tolkien worked painstakingly for many years on what was to become his most remembered books, the famous Lord of the Rings series, but what is not so well known is the massive amount of other material, some still unpublished connected with the better known ones.  He was a practicing Roman Catholic whose testimony to the reality of God became partly instrumental in bringing Lewis from his professed atheism first to Deism and then to the knowledge of God through the Lord Jesus Christ that he went on to defend so ably in many of his writings and radio broadcasts.  It seems likely that Tolkien did not altogether agree with the way Lewis popularized the evangelical view of Christianity whilst Lewis hid the knowledge of his marriage to a divorced woman knowing that Tolkien’s Roman Catholic view was against such a union.  So, one of these men became a committed Protestant believer and the other remained a staunch Roman Catholic, one advocated what became known as “mere Christianity” openly in his writings and plainly in his Narnia series, (again Tolkien felt that Lewis had moved away from what they believed to be myth into too much allegory) whereas Tolkien expressed eternal truth in more hidden ways in his writings.  At the center of all they did, especially in their fiction writing was the belief that there is underlying myth that essentially unfolds the reality of God, His ways and His salvation.  They were men of brilliant intellect to whom the dimension of the imagination was vital.  A reading of the relationship between these two touching, as it does, on the other personalities that made up the famous ‘Inklings” enforces the truth that men can hone and act upon another as iron sharpens iron and it seems clear that there would have been no C.S. Lewis as we know him without J.R.R.Tolkien and no Tolkien without Lewis!  Thus does God order the steps of men to the good of multitudes of their fellows.  This is a great book, full of helpful background for those hooked on the most imaginative ‘faerie’ stories of the twentieth century.

Last modified: May 14, 2012

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