It’s Tolkien Reading Day

Reading day

Check out the many excellent articles on’s Tolkien Reading Day site. In my piece “Break Bread Like A Hobbit” you can learn how Tolkien took (Took?) his tea; and what was on the dessert menu at the Prancing Pony.

You can also read a very brief but wonderfully insightful firsthand account of  J.R.R. Tolkien from noted scientist Amory Lovins.

My New Book


My new action-adventure novel Spartans at the Gates arrives in bookstores on the 24th of June from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. It’s the sequel to my book Sons of Zeus and is the second part of the Warrior Trilogy. Read my most recent blog on the book’s homepage. Here’s a new blurb from histfic author Angus Donald.

Angus Donald blurb


The Ultimate Showdown

Tolkien showdown

The Lord of the Rings Versus Game of Thrones

J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R. Martin have the most initials of any two fantasy authors in history. They also have millions of devoted followers who swear that one of them is better than the other. I’m a fan of both of these great storytellers, but I believe that Middle-earth will be held up as an exemplar of fantasy (and literature) long after Westeros has faded away (though don’t tell that to the guy who built the entire city of King’s Landing out of Minecraft blocks). In honor of Tolkien’s 122nd birthday, here’s a comparison of the relative merits of the fantasy creations The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones (aka LOTR and GOT) from J.R.R. and G.R.R, IMO.

To read my entire Huffington Post piece click here.

The Quest of the Shandar Wizards

A good smoke

Journey back in time with me and author Ethan Gilsdorf (Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks) as we enter the strange world of the early eighties. We wax on about Dungeons & Dragons, Dune, DYMO label makers and more! (And yes, that is a picture of me smoking a pipe when I was twelve years old.)

My Latest Interview: Sword and Saga Press

Amazing Stories

In this interview with Sword and Saga Press (via Amazing Stories Magazine) I talk about J.R.R. Tolkien, my earliest influences, and my new action/adventure novel Sons of Zeus. Read it here.


Noble, how did you get started with writing? What was your early inspiration, a moment that you can point to as the starting point?

The first book that I started working on was an epic science fiction/fantasy novel that was a cross between Frank Herbert’sDune and The Lord of the Rings. I was fourteen at the time, and it was quite an ambitious project for someone that age, but it was spectacularly derivative of those two books. But you know what? It got me into the habit of making a daily effort to write. At first I wrote in cursive, then printing, then I got an electric typewriter, and by the time I was in high school I had one of the first home computers. To me writing is physical labor just as much as a mental endeavor. The Medieval manuscript illuminators, hunched over their desks all day, used to call their efforts “plowing the page.” I think that’s a beautiful way to put it. You’re like a farmer standing behind an ox, holding tight to a plow, breaking furrows in the soil of your imagination. It’s a lot of effort, but cool things grow out of that labor.

To read more click here.

The Top 10 Things You May Not Know About Legolas the Elf

Elf Love

Are you obsessed with pictures tagged “Legolas” on Tumblr? Do you feel that Orlando is Bloomalicious? Well, you’re not alone in thinking that this archer from Mirkwood Forest puts the “sin” in Sindarin Elf. Peter Jackson couldn’t get enough of him either. Even though Legolas did not appear in Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, he is featured prominently in the filmThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But what do we really know about this legend from Middle-earth besides his intense Elf-on-Dwarf relationship with Gimli? Click here to read my latest piece on The Huffington Post.

Interview With Wisconsin Public Radio

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 4.28.31 PMToday I did an interview with Anne Strainchamps, the host of the show 45 North on Wisconsin Public Radio. We talked about my book The Wisdom of the Shire, and The Desolation of Smaug (which I’d seen at the 12:01 AM showing earlier that morning with a packed house of Tolkien fanatics). We had some great callers, one of whom was a 78-year-old lady who told us that her mother (a librarian) brought home The Hobbit when it first came out and read it out loud to her and her siblings. She cherishes that memory. Listen to the show here.

Must-have Tolkien Books: 14 Holiday Gifts For Any Middle-earth Lover’s Library

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 1.24.03 PM

I have a new piece on the Huffington Post. It’s a handy little guide for purchasing Tolkien-themed books for your loved ones this Christmas. Now I couldn’t put every book on this list. I left out the obvious ones (like The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion), but I did recommend the new version of The Hobbit (illustrated by Jemima Catlin). Some of the books are classics that I’ve had since I was a kid (like The Father Christmas Letters, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Atlas of Middle-earth). And a couple have been published in the last couple of years (Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks). Whatever the case, they’re all excellent books…but I could have easily added another dozen great Middle-earth tomes to this list. Check it out.

Book Give-away Sponsored by The Tolkien Library

Tolkien Library giveaway

The and I have teamed up for a cool give-away! Here is your chance to win one of the following copies of my book The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life: paperback (x2), audiobook (x1), the UK hardcover (x1) and the French version (x1). Click here to enter.

This competition is open to all EU, US and Canadian residents.

Radio New Zealand Interview

Radio New Zealand

Yesterday I did an interview with the wonderful Kiwi broadcaster Jim Mora on his show “Afternoons” on Radio New Zealand. We talked about J.R.R. Tolkien as an example of a terrific father (despite being a writer!); the notion of “Orcery;” the pleasures of baking bread and making mushroom soup; and the significance of Thorin Oakenshield’s deathbed speech (spoiler alert!) Have a listen.