Even though Dennis McKiernan's first books were actually the Iron Tower Trilogy, those were not actually the first books he wrote. His first books were... a sequel to Lord of the Rings. Yes, the one by Tolkien. The most influential piece of fantasy ever written. Which ended very conclusively and did NOT need a sequel.
Of course, the Tolkien Estate shot this down like a fat fowl on the first day of duck-hunting season, especially since McKiernan is nowhere NEAR as good as Tolkien was. So he changed the names and a few details, wrote a prequel trilogy to explain all of it, and hey presto! Instant high fantasy sequel to a a wildly derivative trilogy that the Tolkien Estate technically has no power over.
And what I didn't mention before was how it's not just a "sequel" but also happily rips off treasured Lord of the Rings/Hobbit characters - we have dumber, less charismatic versions of Frodo and Sam, Aragorn, Faramir, Thorin, Legolas, the Rohirrhim, and Moria itself. So let's dive into the suck!