Download The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again Audiobook

The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again Audiobook, by J. R. R. Tolkien Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Narrator: Rob Inglis Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781470337582
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The precursor to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit audiobook is the tale of Bilbo Baggins who lives in the fictional land of Middle-earth, peopled with elves, dwarves, men, hobbits and other fictional creatures. Whereas elves are lithe and graceful, dwarves are stocky and strong. Hobbits, however, belong to a different class altogether, for they are short like dwarves and live in holes in the ground. Their main aims in life include eating, drinking and being merry.

Bilbo Baggins is one of these hobbits and he's never been anywhere outside of his shire when he is induced by Gandalf the wizard to go on an adventure with thirteen dwarves. The dwarves aim to reclaim their land and their treasure which was stolen by the dragon Smaug and they want Bilbo to help them by joining their party as a burglar. Given that hobbits have hairy, padded feet, they can walk very quietly, a necessary requirement for a burglar. However, Bilbo is a rather conservative hobbit and he can't imagine himself doing anything like burglary, even if it's for a good cause. He's much more inclined to continue his comfortable existence in his little hobbit hole where he has everything he needs.

Bilbo is like a middle-class Englishman who has grown complacent and Tolkien admitted that this was where he'd drawn his inspiration from. However, he ends up agreeing to accompany the dwarves and has a number of adventures along the way. The party is nearly eaten by trolls but Bilbo distracts them by talking and Gandalf eventually helps turn them to stone. Later, Bilbo meets Gollum, a wild creature who lives by himself in the depths of a mountain with nothing but a gold ring for company which he calls "my precious." Bilbo accidentally finds this ring and when he puts it on, he realizes that he has become invisible. He plays a game of riddles with Gollum and eventually puts on the ring and escapes.

After this, Bilbo rejoins the dwarves and they have some more adventures, encountering giant spiders and wood elves from whom they must escape by floating down the river in barrels. Finally, the party reaches Lake Town which is situated near the mountain where the dragon Smaug sleeps. Bilbo sneaks in, discovers the dragon's weakness and thus helps slay him. Eventually, he returns with a share of the treasure to the shire and becomes a wealthy hobbit.

J.R.R. Tolkien's major works, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, are now immensely popular and have been made into successful movies, with the second part of The Hobbit scheduled to open in December 2013. However, in his lifetime, Tolkien lived a very retired life and did not seek out fame and fortune. He was a professor at Oxford, teaching English language and literature. Married with four children, he was great friends with C. S. Lewis, the writer of The Chronicles of Narnia, the other great fantasy classic besides The Lord of the Rings. He was a Roman Catholic and was instrumental in Lewis' decision to convert to Christianity although he was disappointed to find that Lewis chose to become a Protestant. They both critiqued each other's works and were part of the literary group known as the Inklings.

Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all—a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug.

In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J. R. R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers. Narrator Rob Inglis will hold listeners of all ages spellbound with his skillful portrayal of hobbits, dwarves, and enchanted beasts.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is one of the most freshly original and delightfully imaginative books for children that have appeared in many a long day…A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible.”

    New York Times

  • “A flawless masterpiece.”

    Times (London)

  • “[A] timeless fantasy classic.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “All those, young or old, who love a finely imagined story, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts.”

    Horn Book Guide

  • Carnegie Medal for Literature Nominee
  • A USA Today bestseller
  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 April | 9/29/2017

    " I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rob Inglis narrate this tale. I feel that his accent really gave some authenticity to the story itself. I had a very hard time putting it down and ended up having a lot of late nights! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sleepy | 8/14/2017

    " The Hobbit is a classic that Rob Inglis really brings to life. Very talented! Can't wait to listen to the rest of this trilogy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellyn | 12/12/2015

    " Wonderful book to listen to. The only thing I did not like was that many of the accents the narrator used for different characters sounded very similar, and sometimes I did not know which character was speaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 2/19/2014

    " The Hobbit took me a little to get into, but once I did I could not put it down!! I read it in 2 days (Which for my hectic life is fast!) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry | 2/14/2014

    " One of my favorite classic stories "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 2/6/2014

    " Fun, engrossing, humorous, and clever. The Hobbit is the ultimate treasure hunt providing us with a full band of engaging characters that add lots of humor and lots of heart to this young adult classic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellis | 2/1/2014

    " Really enjoyed this book. I could read it over and over! Will always be a favourite of mine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 1/28/2014

    " The hobbit is a book that you will never regret reading. It will always make you mind wander into the insane world of dragons,dwarfs, wizards and hobbits. This is one of those books that you just don't want to put down until your finished. I highly recommend this to any reader even if you don't like science fiction books. I think the plot in this book is wonderful and pretty. I think the title is pretty on because the book is about a hobbit named bill bobagins. I also think that people who like to go on adventures would really like it because that is all it really is one big adventure. Also you will fall in love with some of the charcters but hate others. The ending is spectacular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassie | 1/22/2014

    " The Hobbit is one of the rare timeless classics that can be read over and over again. This adventure filled novel is easy to read and very unique. Bilbo Baggins surprises himself when embarking upon an adventure that will change his life. From elves, to goblins, to wizards and dragons, this novel is very quirky and unique to its genre. The author writes the novel as if addressing the reader personally and often writes little jokes and hints about the characters. Although this novel was gripping and filled with adventure, I am not very fond of the style of writing when it comes to describing action scenes. It lacks important detail and often does not provide the reader with a very clear picture of what is going on. Overall however this is a timeless classic that absolutely must be read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 1/20/2014

    " just as enjoyable the second time around (30+ years later) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stev | 1/9/2014

    " I can't recall if I read The Hobbit before or after I read Lord of the Rings. What is clear from the outset, upon revisiting the book, is just how different it is from LotR in terms of style, theme, and even elements within the fantasy. I don't think the differences reflect anything except a change in motives for the author. It is a far lighter read, but one that builds the skeleton of a world that will be fleshed in by later works. I enjoyed it immensely as a child, and it continues to be one of my favorite books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenda | 1/6/2014

    " only got halfway through it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Irving | 1/5/2014

    " Written for Tolkien's children, the Oxford philologist creates a world of hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, and goblins, which takes shape in this later Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is a rousing adventure that children of any age will enjoy, and the movie expands the book even further. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cdthomas | 12/14/2013

    " This has been one of my favorite books growing up! I have read it nearly a hundred times. Compared to some of Tolkien's other writings, I feel the the Hobbit is the easiest. This book would be good for someone with a great imagination, a fast reader, and the fantasy enthusiast. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 12/2/2013

    " Best fantasy novel of my childhood. Revisited it last year, lived well up to joyous memories! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 11/12/2013

    " I loved this book. Sometimes it was slow in certain parts but the majority of the book was excellent!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon | 10/27/2013

    " This is the precursor to The Lord Of The Rings. It is a much shorter read, i.e. a 'normal' length. It comes with hobbits, elves, dwarves, etc. A good adventure in its own right. If you don't like this, don't bother with The Lord Of The Rings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 10/4/2013

    " Reread this after seeing the movie so I could reacquaint myself with the story. It is a great story and a great read, but I like the trilogy much more. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chase | 8/17/2013

    " Didn't like the book at all. I just thought it was very boring, I didn't get it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 6/30/2013

    " I read this book 20 years ago. Its a fun read if you like Hobbits, dwarfs, trolls, and dragons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 3/16/2013

    " Really cool :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hms | 1/30/2013

    " good. excellent story, really well writen "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 D.B.19 | 11/23/2012

    " I'm not normally much of a fantasy novel fan but The Hobbit is now an exception to that rule. After I watched the Lord of the Rings movies I decided to read The Hobbit. I have to admit I was impressed for the most part and found it to be a very engaging and entertaining read. Now I get why Tolkien's books been so popular all these years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark L. | 11/20/2012

    " I've been waiting for an unabridged version of The Hobbit in downloadable audio format for quite a while and this version did not disappoint. Rob Inglis does a fabulous job bringing this classic work to life with his excellent reading! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart | 11/20/2012

    " Definitely intended more for children than The Lord of the Rings, but still a very enjoyable story for kids and good into to fantasy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron Green | 11/14/2012

    " The Hobbit is one of my favorite novels of all time. I previously owned the shorter edited version and while I enjoyed it quite a bit, this complete version is much more enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Orena | 11/11/2012

    " Epic adventure. That's all I can say as that's all this story is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 SamV | 11/3/2012

    " This is a long book but worth the effort. While a bit boring at certain points, on the whole it's a great story with plenty of action and excitement. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve T. | 10/19/2012

    " I know this book is supposed to be a classic work of fiction but frankly I found it to be boring and uninteresting for the most part. I guess its brilliance is just lost on me... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 S.B. | 10/16/2012

    " This was my favorite book in college and this audiobook really does Tolkien's classic work the justice it deserves. Definitely work checking out! "

About the Author

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and other tales of Middle-earth, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

About the Narrator

Rob Inglis has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare and Royal Court Theatre companies. He has played such roles as the Ghost and Claudius in Hamlet and Mr. Bumble in Oliver. He regularly tours Europe and the US with his repertoire of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Dickens, Orwell, and Stevenson dramatizations.