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The Fellowship of the Ring
By J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Fellowship of the Ring

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The Fellowship of the Ring
Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings
By J.R.R. Tolkien
Thorndike Press - Large Print, (2003)
ISBN: 0-7862-5178-6
Genre: Fantasy

Available Editions: Large Print (Hardcover) | Large Print (Paperback) | Audio Cassette (Unabridged) | Audio CD (Unabridged) | Standard Print (Hardcover) | Standard Print (Paperback)
| Video (VHS) | Video (DVD) | The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (DVD)

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 3, 2003

J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative masterpiece, The Hobbit was first published in 1937. It would be another seventeen years, and a world war before the first volume in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was finally published in 1954. The sequel to The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings consists of six books issued in three volumes: While the The Fellowship of the Ring is the sequel to The Hobbit, it is not essential that you read The Hobbit before embarking with Frodo on his quest. (Although I'd recommended that, if possible, you read The Hobbit first.) Tolkien provides sufficient background information about Bilbo's earlier adventures, within the telling of The Fellowship of the Ring, to allow you to quickly figure out what went before.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien reintroduces us to Bilbo Baggins, the hero of The Hobbit. As the saga opens, Bilbo, and his adopted heir, Frodo Baggins are preparing for a huge birthday feast they are giving in celebration of their respective birthdays. Bilbo is about to turn an honorable 111-years-old, and Frodo is to turn 33, the age at which Hobbits are considered 'grown-up'.

Despite his advance age, Bilbo still looks as young as he did when he returned to home, at the age of 52, after his great adventures which are ably chronicled in The Hobbit. During this adventure, Bilbo acquired a magic ring from a creature named Gollum who called the ring his precious. One of the properties of this ring is that is has the ability to make the wearer become invisible. During Bilbo and Frodo's birthday party, Bilbo stuns the gathered crowd by saying that he is going away - and then, using his ring - he disappears!

Bilbo has decided to 'retire' and leave Hobbiton, but before leaving gives the magic ring his nephew. As Bilbo sets off to embark on new adventures of his own, the gift of the ring has unforseen consequences for Frodo. Sauron the Great, the evil Dark Lord who dwells in the Dark Tower of Mordor has arisen again, and he wants the ring. Bilbo's ring is one of a series of rings made, in ancient days, with Elfin magic. As it turns out, his ring is the 'master' ring of them all, and it affords the wearer with the power to control the world! In an attempt to prevent the forces of evil from getting the ring, Frodo sets off on a perilous journey to the Fiery Mountain, where in is found the Cracks of Doom. The only way for Frodo to destroy the ring is to cast it into the cracks, and it is only by destroying it that he can prevent Lord Sauron from getting the ring.

On his epic journey across Middle-earth, the Hobbit Frodo is accompanied by his fellow Hobbits, Sam Gamgee and his cousins, Pippin (Peregrin Took) and Merry (Meriadoc). They are aided by Gandalf the Grey Wizard, who was the first to discover that Bilbo's ring was really the all-powerful One Ring, as well as a host of helpful friends that they make along the way. The most important of which is Strider, the Ranger, whose is said to understand the speech of all animals. However, for every friend and helpful soul that they meet along the way, there are countless evil beings bent upon destroying the valiant band of travelers, and upon taking the ring from Frodo. One of these enemies that haunts Frodo and his companions is one who has a prior claim on the ring, and he wants it back as much as the Dark Lord does.

The Fellowship of the Ring is an amazing adventure tale, peopled with evil beings, such as the mysterious Black Riders that haunt Frodo's trail and living trees that 'eat' unweary travelers. They also meet a host of friendly people such as the beautiful Goldberry who has the ability to control water and the Elfin lord Elrond. Accepting the dangers that his journey augurs, many of their new found friends choose to join Frodo on his quest.

Even without the threat posed by the dark forces aligned against the valiant group, their journey would be hazardous due to natural hurdles. Along the way, some members of the group are destined to be lost, and other to discover abilities that they never imagined. This gripping tale ends with a monumental cliff hanger that will have you racing to the next volume in this trilogy. (Not wanting to be a spoiler, I'm not going to tell you what the cliff hanger is.)

The entire Lord of the Rings saga is a monumental story about good versus evil. The story is gripping and stimulating. The primeval aspect of the tale immediately grabs the reader's attention - and never lets it go! This astounding series has captured the imagination and the hearts of readers of all ages. After reading it, you'll understand how it helped to elevate the fantasy genre out of the ranks of pulp fiction, and into a respected literary form.

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