CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, talk to my dad sometime. He's a huge Cussler fan. I've only read a handful of Cussler's works, and they're good for some light, guilt-free entertainment. My favourite is Sahara. I wouldn't call any of those works particularly profound, although they do represent some of the better plotting out there today. Now, about Tolkien. I'd like to ask all the people who did not like The Lord of the Rings to answer this, if you haven't already: What would you consider to be the greatest literary works of fiction? Just so I can establish a framework or context here, and where you're coming from. Believe it or not, there are patterns to that. A quick and dirty summary of some of the "macro" reasons why I love LOTR: Narrative structure The dramatic irony created from the upside-down-and-backwards overlapping timelines from Book III onwards remains an unparalleled accomplishment in storytelling structure to this day. Accessible language Am I the only one who finds LOTR to be a very relaxing, easy read to trudge through? Thematic applicability LOTR's themes, byproducts of a rich and legendary plot instead of being a lopsided focus, manage to be profound and influential beyond comparison. So much, in fact, that people are often fooled into thinking that the work was meant primarily to demonstrate these themes. Memorable characters Everyone can relate to somebody in LOTR, to various extents. Even the most seemingly minor characters have an illuminating presence. One hell of a plot What can I say? Immersive setting Not just the physical settings, but the establishment of cultures, intercultural relationships, workable languages, and forces that push and pull Middle-Earth into place. What's even better is that a thorough knowledge of all the nooks and crannies is only a supplement, not a requirement, to the story. This keeps the entire novel tightly unified, and prevents the context from overshadowing the plot. On that note: as for The Silmarillion, I personally didn't care for it much. But that's kind of like the difference between, say, The Iliad and reading up on all foundations of Greek mythology. Good storytelling interests me more than depth of setting, though both are necessary.