A Road Map to Middle Earth

The Fellowship of the Ring is only the first part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For those who want to explore Middle-Earth in all of its dragon's fire flash and stygian darkness, the library has the all the detailed charts and eldritch tomes an adventurer could want.

The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad has hundreds of maps and diagrams that show where the characters journeyed, and like any good travelogue, it has descriptions of the places they visit and the people who live there.

If you are simply entranced by The Fellowship (VHS, DVD) on the big screen and are a little leery of diving straight into the trilogy, take a look at Jude Fisher's Visual Companions. These books never assume the reader has an encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien's world, but it does present a lot of background information to the film with lush photographs and a foldout map.

Ready for more of Tolkien's amazing stories? The next two books in the saga, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, continue the fight for the one ring by the forces of shadow and light. Of course, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is Bilbo's first turn at adventuring, and foreshadows all the doom that is to come in The Lord of the Rings and is a wonderful adventure on its own. The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit are also available on unabridged audio for many, many hours of enjoyment.

Beyond and Before Hobbits

J.R.R. Tolkien created an entire world in Middle-Earth, a world with an early history as fantastic as the Rings saga. The Silmarillion tells that early story of the fight for control of the Silmarils, beautiful and compelling magical jewels. Seek out titles in the History of Middle-Earth series, beginning with The Book of Lost Tales for more of Tolkien's genius.

Behind the Curtain

Follow The Road to Middle Earth by T. A. Shippey to discover the source of Tolkien's inspirations and the magnificent mythic structure of his work, drawn from real ancient languages and heroic sagas. Then follow the sources back to the beginnings of mankind's imaginings.

"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, one Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

Once you've completed your journey of Middle-Earth find out what to read After Tolkien.