In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him.
After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. The first part of The Lord of the Rings finds Bilbo preparing to celebrate his "eleventy-first" birthday. Sixty unremarkable years have passed since his triumphant return from the orc mines, where he outwitted the horrible Gollum and carried off his magical ring, a feat that cannot go forever unavenged. The ring may hold more power than anyone suspects; indeed, dark forces are already conspiring to snatch it back.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
"A unique, wholly realized other world, evoked from deep in the well of Time, massively detailed, absorbingly entertaining, profound in meaning." — The New York Times