||THE LORD OF THE RINGS is regarded by many to be the most important and influential work of fantasy of the 20th century. It generated the fantasy novel industry practically single-handedly, inspiring a multitude of novels concerning elves and dwarves on quests to conquer ultimate evil despite overwhelming odds. Although Tolkien had always intended for THE LORD OF THE RINGS to be published as a single volume, its division into a trilogy created the iconic format for epic fantasy literature. In the first book of the series, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, the Dark Lord Sauron, an utterly evil and powerful being, is stirring again after a long period of dormancy. He will soon dominate all of Middle-earth if he is not stopped. The key to Sauron's defeat is Frodo, nephew and heir to Bilbo Baggins--the hero of THE HOBBIT. The magic ring that Bilbo picked up on his adventures is in fact the One Ring, into which Sauron deposited much of his power. If the Ring is destroyed in the volcano at the heart of Sauron's realm of Mordor, Sauron too will be destroyed. Unfortunately, the longer someone bears the Ring, the stronger grows its ability to corrupt the bearer and those around him. As Frodo and his companions begin the long journey to Mordor, will they be able to keep their Fellowship intact and their purpose pure...or will the Ring's evil nature triumph over them all?