JRR Tolkien's inspiration for his best-selling books, The Lord of the Rings, has always been a mystery. Tolkien himself stated that his ideas came to him as though they already existed, but he couldn't name their source. For generations countless researchers and biographers have sought to identify Tolkien's inspiration without success. Now, at last, the answer is at hand. Abyssinia. Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) was an ancient Christian Empire that was one of the world's four greatest powers after the time of Christ, but it became isolated by the rise of Islam. Besieged in its highland fortress, it became a land untouched by the passage of time. It survived as the only part of Africa that was not colonized by European powers, and became internationally prominent in the years immediately prior to Tolkien's writing because of the Italian war in 1935. Home to a 3,000 year old dynasty of kings and the horse-riding prowess of the Oromo tribe, Abyssinia's history is rich and varied The legends of its greatest saints are unique, and around its borders it faced powerful enemies. The Real Middle-earth: The Origins of The Lord of the Rings reveals fascinating insights into Tolkien and the ancient realm of Abyssinia, and makes connections between them that will leave you astounded.