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If the sentence above is grammatical, what is the role of "the book" in the relative clause?

I'm an EFL learner. I can understand the sentence "This is the book which there are not many people have read." I also think it is appropriate to add "it" after "read", so as to construct the sentence "there are not many people who have read it." However, I am confused about the fact that "which" is followed by a complete sentence.

Another similar structure is "the terrible robber [whom any man who can catch him must be a hero]". I read it in a paper. It is said if "him" is deleted, the sentence is ungrammatical.

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It is not grammatical. We can say

This is the book. Not many people have read it.

but if you want to make it into one sentence, which takes the place of it.

This is the book which not many people have read.

The phrase about the robber is much too complicated, although we sometimes find sentences like it in old-fashioned books. In my opinion it doesn't sound natural in modern English either with or without him, unless you break it up.

[He is a] terrible robber. Anyone who can catch him must be a hero.

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