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Download The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again, by J. R. R. Tolkien Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.99999327386146 out of 53.99999327386146 out of 53.99999327386146 out of 53.99999327386146 out of 53.99999327386146 out of 5 4.00 (1,040,716 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Narrator: Rob Inglis Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Release Date:
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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.

Now a major motion picture starring Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman!

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 his 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.

Download and start listening now!

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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 Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Paul Bulger | 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. "

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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.