The saga of The Lord of the Rings concludes. In The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Minas Tirith, the greatest city of Gondor, the land of free men and only defense against the evil of Mordor, is under siege. The Steward of Gondor, Denethor, has been driven mad by the death of his son Boromir and the doom he perceives in the marauding armies of evil. Gandalf and Merry try desperately to rally him and his forces, to await the aid of Aragorn and the Riders of Rohan, but to no avail. Will Aragorn arrive in time, and will he accept his mantle as King of Gondor to save his people?
Meanwhile, the journey of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee in Mordor draws to an end as well. Sam, having saved Frodo from becoming a meal at the hands of the great spider Shelob, must rescue his friend from the clutches of the orcs who have captured him. Once freed, they disguise themselves as orcs and make their way to Mount Doom, as only there can the One Ring be destroyed and the peril of Sauron defeated. But in their way lies the scheming Gollum, who will rest at nothing to be rejoined with his "Precious."
J.R.R. Tolkien, considered by many to be the progenitor of the high fantasy genre, was an English writer and university professor. Indeed, as a professor he esteemed himself as well; his lecture on Beowulf had a lasting influence on research in that field, and his production of A Middle English Vocabulary and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E.V. Gordon became academic standards for decades. He wrote The Hobbit, released in 1937, which was popular enough to request a sequel, and thus the epic trilogy of The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954-55. For his literary and academic works, Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on March 28, 1972.
Inspired by The Hobbit and begun in 1937, The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy that Tolkien created to provide “the necessary background of history for Elvish tongues.” From these academic aspirations was born one of the most popular and imaginative works in English literature.
The Return of the King is the towering climax to J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director. This recording contains Tolkien’s preface to the trilogy, including a prior history of the ring, and Shire habitat, history, and folkways.
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