Light-hearted fantasy introduces Middle Earth
Published by HarperCollins
Set in the same world as Tolkien's great epic, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit takes the reader back 50 years, and describes the events that led to the finding of The Ring.
It also gives greater insight into the world of the dwarves and the Eastern regions of Middle Earth, which are less covered in the main trilogy.
Hobbits call themselves the 'little folk' because of their short stature. They treasure good food, wine and, most importantly, peace. This makes them unlikely adventure heroes.
This story is about Bilbo Baggins, a respectable country hobbit, and how he becomes an adventurer.
When he is visited in his home by Gandalf the Wizard and 12 other dwarves, Bilbo finds himself in the middle of a plot to recapture the mountain stronghold Erebor from the evil dragon Smaug. Despite hearty songs and talk of endless treasure, Bilbo, a natural pragmatist, unwillingly drags himself along with the others.
The book describes the many adventures the unlikely group has, ranging from the famous encounter with three trolls, to the battle of the five armies.
They meet the Lord of the Eagles, battle spiders in the dark ancient forests ... and, of course, find a way of getting the dragon off his throne inside the mountain.
Perhaps most importantly though, The Hobbit is a perfect predecessor of Lord of the Rings because it describes how the ring is found, and it fills many gaps in the main trilogy.
This book is a must for anyone who has read Tolkien's other works, or who's put off by the size of the trilogy. It's a very entertaining read for anyone who wants a light-hearted fantasy in the beautiful world of Middle Earth.