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Extended Audio Sample The Return of the King, by J. R. R. Tolkien Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.99998544833674 out of 53.99998544833674 out of 53.99998544833674 out of 53.99998544833674 out of 53.99998544833674 out of 5 4.00 (206,162 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Narrator: Rob Ingli 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 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron.”

    C. S. Lewis

  • “If, as I believe, Mr. Tolkien has succeeded more completely than any previous writer in this genre…while at the same time satisfying our sense of historical and social reality, it should be possible to show how he has succeeded. To begin with, no previous writer has, to my knowledge, created an imaginary world and a feigned history in such detail. By the time the reader has finished the trilogy…he knows as much about Tolkien's Middle-earth, its landscape, its fauna and flora, its peoples, their languages, their history, their cultural habits, as, outside his special field, he knows about the actual world…The demands made on the writer’s powers in an epic as long as The Lord of the Rings are enormous and increase as the tale proceeds—the battles have to get more spectacular, the situations more critical, the adventures more thrilling—but I can only say that Mr. Tolkien has proved equal to them.”

    New York Times

  • “One of the great fairy-tale quests in modern literature.”


  • “Tolkien’s stories take place against a background of measureless depth…That background is ever-present in the creator’s mind and it gives Frodo and company a three-dimensional reality that is seldom found in this kind of writing.”

    Washington Post

  • “A masterful story—an epic in its own way—with elements of high adventure, suspense, mystery, poetry, and fantasy.”

    Boston Herald

  • “A remarkable book.”


  • “A work of immense narrative power that can sweep the reader up and hold him enthralled for days and weeks.”

    The Nation

  • “Among the greatest works of imaginative fiction of the twentieth century.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Joshua | 2/9/2014

    " Probably the best work of fantasy ever written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kerrigan Saunders | 2/9/2014

    " I love, love, love this series! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Liz Reber | 2/9/2014

    " I'd never been a fan of the movies and thought I hated LOTR but these books totally made me change my mind. I love Tolkien's descriptive writing and fell in love with the rich characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by G.P. Plascencia | 2/7/2014

    " The iconic fantasy novel... what can I said that hasn't been said before? Well, just that is not an easy reading and that I read it before seeing the movies. There are many things that I didn't catch until somebody else mentioned them to me. "

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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.