A beautiful illustrated boxed set collecting the two most popular Tolkien hardbacks -- the Centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and the 60th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit, both illustrated by Alan Lee. Since they were first published, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been two books people have treasured. Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, these works of sweeping fantasy have touched the hearts of young and old alike. Between them, nearly 100 million copies have been sold around the world. And no editions have proved more popular than the two that were illustrated by award-winning artist, Alan Lee -- the Centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and the 60th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit. Now, for the first time, these two beautifully illustrated hardbacks have been collected together into one deluxe boxed set. Readers will be able to follow the complete story of the Hobbits and their part in the quest for the Ring -- beginning with Bilbo's fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom -- while also enjoying over seventy full-page colour paintings and numerous illustrations which accompany this epic tale.
Hobbits and wizards and Sauron--oh, my! Mild-mannered Oxford scholar John Ronald Reuel Tolkien had little inkling when he published The Hobbit; Or, There and Back Again in 1937 that, once hobbits were unleashed upon the world, there would be no turning back. Hobbits are, of course, small, furry creatures who love nothing better than a leisurely life quite free from adventure. But in that first novel and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo and their elvish friends get swept up into a mighty conflict with the dragon Smaug, the dark lord Sauron (who owes much to proud Satan in Paradise Lost), the monstrous Gollum, the Cracks of Doom, and the awful power of the magical Ring. The four books' characters--good and evil--are recognizably human, and the realism is deepened by the magnificent detail of the vast parallel world Tolkien devised, inspired partly by his influential Anglo-Saxon scholarship and his Christian beliefs. (He disapproved of the relative sparseness of detail in the comparable allegorical fantasy his friend C.S. Lewis dreamed up in The Chronicles of Narnia, though he knew Lewis had spun a page-turning yarn.) It has been estimated that one-tenth of all paperbacks sold can trace their ancestry to J.R.R. Tolkien. But even if we had never gotten Robert Jordan's The Path of Daggers and the whole fantasy genre Tolkien inadvertently created by bringing the hobbits so richly to life, Tolkien's epic about the Ring would have left our world enhanced by enchantment. --Tim Appelo