The background to the entire Lord of the Rings epic, and the world of middle-earth. The Silmarillion is Tolkien's first book and his last, the core of his imaginative work that underlies all his writings about Middle-earth. Here are the legends of the Elder Days, the central stories that give meaning to the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien began The Silmarillion in 1917 and worked on it, changed it, and continued it throughout his life. Edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, the book finally appeared four years after the author's death, in 1977. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feonor, the most gifted of the Elves, and within them gleamed the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. But they were stolen by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, setting off the major war of the First Age. The Silmarillion includes several other works besides the main story: Ainulindale, the myth of Creation; Valaquenta, on the nature and power of the gods; Allakabeth, recounting the downfall of Numenor; and "Of the Rings of Power and the third Age," the link to The Lord of the Rings. As Christopher Tolkien describes it: "The entire history is set forth from the Music of the Ainur in which the world began to the passing of the ringbearers from the Havens of Mithlond at the end of the Third Age."
The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien's tragic, operatic history of the First Age of Middle-Earth, essential background material for serious readers of the classic Lord of the Rings saga. Tolkien's work sets the standard for fantasy, and this audio version of the "Bible of Middle-Earth" does The Silmarillion justice. Martin Shaw's reading is grave and resonant, conveying all the powerful events and emotions that shaped elven and human history long before Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and all the rest embarked on their quests. Beginning with the Music of the Ainur, The Silmarillion tells a tale of the Elder Days, when Elves and Men became estranged by the Dark Lord Morgoth's lust for the Silmarils, pure and powerful magic jewels. Even the love between a human warrior and the daughter of the Elven king cannot defeat Morgoth, but the War of Wrath finally brings down the Dark Lord. Peace reigns until the evil Sauron recovers the Rings of Power and sets the stage for the events told in the Lord of the Rings. This is epic fantasy at its finest, thrillingly read and gloriously unabridged. (Running time: 14 hours, 6 CDs)