The Worm Ourorobos is second only to the Lord of the Rings in the pantheon of 20th century English fantasy. E.R. Eddison, who moved in the same literary circles as J.R.R. Tolkien, was praised by Tolkien as "The greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read".
This 1922 fantasy novel was written before LORD OF THE RINGS, and before adult fantasy existed as a separate genre. It is set on an alternate Earth -- or a fictional era of Earth.
The book is set in a place called Mercury; however, keep in mind this is not science fiction, so this is not literally the planet Mercury. Eddison on several occasions in the body of the book calls the world 'Middle Earth', and the setting is recognizably the Midgard of the Norse myths and sagas. The cast of characters, like Tolkien, are principally masculine, albeit with a couple of standout female leads. And lastly the various nationalities (Demons, Witches, Pixies, Imps, etc.) are not really separate species as in Tolkien; they are all essentially humans.
The Worm Ouroboros is a thoroughly enjoyable book which will satisfy anyone who has finished the Lord of the Rings and wants a new immersive universe.
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