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Publisher's Summary

The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron.

In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director. This recording also contains Tolkien’s preface to the trilogy, including a prior history of the ring, and shire habitat, history, and folkways.

©1983 Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R.Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien, and Priscilla M.A.R.Tolkien (P)1990 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    11,778
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    1,366
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    249
  • 2 Stars
    52
  • 1 Stars
    53

Performance

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    313
  • 2 Stars
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Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LJ
  • 11-04-18

Audio book chapters are in the wrong order!!!!

This book includes Book 5 and Book 6 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy books. See end of review for the Table of Contents for these two books.

Unfortunately, the audio book starts with Book 1, Chapter 8 !!! In order to start the book at the beginning, you have to start at Audible Chapter 22.

Confused?? If you downloaded the book as 'high quality' and as single download rather than in parts, the chapters are in the wrong order. If you downloaded it in parts, [Content Settings, set the Download Quality, to High Quality and Download by Parts to Multi-Part] you will get three separate downloads (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and the chapters in the right order. If you downloaded it as one piece, like most of us do, read on to figure out how to read it in order. (What you got was Part 2 first, then Part 1, then Part 3.)

In order to read the single part download of The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien in the correct order, the listener must start at Audible Chapter 22 and listen through Audible Chapter 35. Then, go to Audible Chapter 2 and listen through Audible Chapter 20. Then go to Audible Chapter 36 and listen through Audible Chapter 41. (Audible Chapter 1 and Audible Chapter 21 are introductions from Audible about the book.)

Interestingly Chapter 7 of Book 1 and Chapter 7 of Book 2 are adjacent to each other in the audio book as Chapter 35 and Chapter 36. Those chapters are far apart in the tale!

This problem needs to be fixed. It distresses me that I have to slam the rating for a really good book because the audio book is all screwed up.

Here are the chapters of the Tolkien book. When you hear the narrator start a new chapter, he mentions these chapter titles. Also note that Audible usually takes more than one chapter to cover a single Tolkien chapter.

1 Minas Tirith .....The beginning, this chapter, is Audible Chapter 22
2 The Passing of the Grey Company
3 The Muster of Rohan
4 The Siege of Gondor
5 The Ride of the Rohirrim
6 The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
7 The Pyre of Denethor
8 The Houses of Healing ....Audible starts the audio book with this chapter
9 The Last Debate
10 The Black Gate Opens

Book 6
1 The Tower of Cirith Ungol
2 The Land of Shadow
3 Mount Doom
4 The Field of Cormallen
5 The Steward and the King
6 Many Partings
7 Homeward Bound
8 The Scouring of the Shire
9 The Grey Havens

In order to read The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien in the correct order,
- the listener must start at Audible Chapter 22 and listen through Audible Chapter 35.
- then, go to Audible Chapter 2 and listen through Audible Chapter 20.
- then go to Audible Chapter 36 and listen through Audible Chapter 41.

Audible Chapter 1 and Audible Chapter 21 are introductions from Audible about the book.)

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

There is a content error -- starts with Chapter 8.

Like the title says, there is a content error. The reading starts on Book 5, Chapter 8. Then about halfway through, the book starts back where it is supposed to.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rob Inglis and JRR Tolkien in Perfect Partnership

Where does The Return of the King rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Number One

What other book might you compare The Return of the King to and why?

Two juvenile series -- Oz and Harry Potter, all inspired by the classic Beowolf, came to mind during this book. There certainly seems to be a chain of inspiration among every hero adventure series, no matter the characters or settings.

Which character – as performed by Rob Inglis – was your favorite?

Gandalf

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I both laughed out loud and cried.

Any additional comments?

I listened to the audiobook on a road trip because I was in the middle of reading the books and they don't like you to read while driving. It couldn't have made the travel more delightful. If I could, after this experience, I'd walk around listening to a great audiobook all the time, and never engage in real life again.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!

I've listened to Fellowship and Two Towers on audiobook by the same narrator, and I had been trying to find Return of the King on CD from a bunch of different libraries and no such luck- but now it's finally here!

Rob Inglis does a wonderful job as the reader, and gives the characters their own voice. I've read the books before and enjoyed them, so I knew that I would like this story- but if you have never read the books before then I definitely reccomend listening to this version. :)

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just as good as the last 2 simply great!

This book was one of the best books I've listened to and I would recommend it to anyone. The extra information at the end is really interesting and it's nice to know more history behind it all.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 11-15-12

Great Story, Good Narration

The Lord of the Rings is a true classic and if you have not experienced it (or only experienced the movies) this recording should be a wonderful experience. This recording includes the prefix and appendices (both at the end of the recording), which might be dry for some, but is great for LOTR geeks. Having an unabridged Lord of the Rings on Audible has been long awaited and is terrific. If I had not been exposed to the NPR/Minds-Eye production of this series I would have been pretty happy with the narration. The Minds-Eye production was abridged but was a really excellent performance. Rob Ingles’ narration is very good, and he does particularly well presenting the difficult epic poetry sections, but I did not much like his singing and overall a simple narration can’t compete with the Minds-Eye performances. Nevertheless I was very happy to have this excellent unabridged version. I started out a little unhappy with the narration, but as time went on I just became quite immersed in the story.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 06-28-17

Many Happy Returns

How strange it feels to give this book only four stars, and feeling generous in doing so. It's been one of the five-star books of my life. I've re-read the Ring trilogy at least a dozen times, read it to my daughter at bedtime 2-3 pages at a time over the span of months. This is my first listen, but I don't think the audio format diminished it at all -- on the contrary, Rob Inglis is rightfully lauded in Tolkien circles for his legendary narration.

I'm tempted to blame the movie, which may have been the best entry in the trilogy, the one that won the Oscar. The tale of how Gollum got the ring starts it off (Gandalf tells it to Frodo in Tolkien's Fellowship), Shelob is saved for The Return (in Tolkien it is the cliffhanger ending to Towers), and much of what happens after Aragorn is crowned is omitted, most notably the Scouring of the Shire, where the returning hobbits liberate the Shire from Saruman.

But it's not the fault of the movie. Asked about Shelob, director Peter Jackson said there was little to propel the story of Frodo and Sam in The Return, and he's right -- the three chapters leading to Mount Doom are just drudgery (for them). Having Faramir charge to his doom to the sound of Pippin singing a sad song is a welcome respite from the repetitive descriptions of so many battle scenes. Showing the Paths of the Dead instead of having Legolas recount it is fantastic. Showing is also better than telling Gollum's backstory -- without that prologue, the book's best character would hardly be seen until the climax at Mount Doom.

As for the Scouring, it is as much a shame to leave that out as it was to omit Tom Bombadil and other Shire-side episodes from the Fellowship film, but the truth is that that is the only good chapter out of all that comes after Mount Doom -- five hours of epilogue after the story reaches its climax ten hours in. Yes, there are many happy returns in The Return of the King, but that is just too much, much of it too tedious.

And then there are three hours of preface and appendices, which you can easily skip, unless you are a die-hard Tolkien completist. Even a longtime devotee like me, having skipped it in most of my re-readings, found it difficult to plow through them in audio, as I felt I must.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth
  • United States
  • 05-27-13

May the Hair On Your Toes Never Fall Out!

We are at the end of our war trilogy. Some people like to call this book/movie the story with a thousand endings. I disagree. There are several things that have to be wrapped up in this story. Will the hobbits ever get home? Will Aragorn ever become king? Will Frodo and Sam fulfill their quest? Will your favorite characters still be standing when it is all over? Will good triumph over evil? Keep your eyebrows crossed and hang on to your walking sticks because this book is exciting! I have read it so many times, but it never gets old for me. I think over all that the Lord of the Rings is one of the best stories about friendship and enduring to the end that I have ever encountered. The history and poetry are delightful. Maybe I am biased because I am a Tolkien nut, but this book and the other two in the trilogy are fantasy at their best. If you can hang in there and if you are patient enough, the Appendices at the end offer some interesting back story you won't get anywhere else. I hope you like it as much as I do.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Content error. Chapters are mixed up

Content Error. Chapters mixed up. Begins at chapter 8. Can't even find the end of the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Find What You've Been Missing

As with the other books in this series, Rob Inglis brings an understanding of this material that is rare to find. Tolkien uses both the epic and down to earth styles in this trilogy, and Inglis moves easily between them.

I know that some Audible members, including me, are also a part of the disability community. Just about every disability related book supplier has made these books available to their members. Yet the results were, at best, able to give an accurate reading of the text, and, at worst, give you a reading that was missing something.

I know that some people, unaware that these recordings were even available on Audible, may have tried to use text to speech technology along with a read-aloud type app. I have not tried this, but based on my experience with this technology, the results are not all that great. It's like trying to eat food at a restaurant that was undercooked. You eat a couple of bites, but push your plate away in disgust.

The technology is not able to distinguish between the various writing styles used in these books, nor can it easily deal with Tolkien's invented languages. And as for the songs, well, Houston, we have a problem.

I have tried the various narrations offered from within the disability community. While I did get a feel for the text, I had this feeling that something was not right. Using my dinner analogy, it was like food that was OK, but nothing to write home about.

Rob Inglis hits the nail on the head with his skillful narration. Being the competent actor that he is, he moves easily among Tolkien's various writing styles. He handles the invented languages well, and does an equally credible job singing the songs. Like someone spicing upyour dinner, I find this adds variety to the reading.

One thing Inglis does, and the technology can't do, is to vary the pace of the narration. Whenever Tolkien describes a dramatic scene, such as a battle, Inglis picks up the pace. Whenever there is a moment for reflection, he picks up on that and brings it down. In short, he is sensitive to the mood Tolkien sets throughout the text.

To continue with the dinner analogy, it's as if you've left the restaurant feeling fully satisfied, and you want to come back for more.

In short, why settle for crumbs when you can get a full meal? If you're looking for a good narration of this series, I highly recommend this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful