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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly superb performance - BBC radio at its best!
In essence, the best audio transcription of this famous story and most unlikely to be beaten. Well done BBC Radio for a fantastic job! All the superlatives have essentially been used in previous reviewers comments so I'll be brief : I've listened to the tape version for several years while living in the USA. My family and I recently relocated to France for my job and...
Published on 13 July 2001 by steve.dearden@wanadoo.fr

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219 of 235 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
We all know that the The Lord of the Rings is a work of genius, so this review covers this particular published version (The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition). First off this book is expensive and in format it is only a little larger than the paperback version. Also apart from the three pages from the book of Mazurbul there are no illustrations. First...
Published on 23 April 2005 by J Meehan


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its the Best!, 10 Feb 2002
By 
roy.bishop@easynet.co.uk (High Wycombe, Bucks. UK) - See all my reviews
This radio adaptation of Tolkien's work needs no additional praise other than to say 'it's the best'.
Here's why (for me at any rate):
It is remarabley faithful to the book. No small achievement considering the complexity of the plot and number of charachters involved. Only in one instance (Bombadil) does it stray from the story-line. Apart from that - what you hear is exactly the way the story unfolds.
The cast are excellent. Each selected for their natural qualities of voice. They 'sound' like the charachters they are portraying. So, Gimli: gruff, tenacious; Aragorn: noble, resiliant; Gandalf: benevolence, with a strong undercurrent of power tending to swift action. With around 13 hours of dialogue there is such a richness of tone, emotion and interaction to be heard. 'Effects' are (thankfully) minimal and leave the best to ones imagination.
As an added bonus, the 14th CD is a collection of the songs and incidental music used in the episodes. These create an atmosphere of timelessnes and wonder, punctuating the story-line to marvelleous effect. There's also a booklet on the making of the series and the seemingly obligatory map of middle-earth to make sense of the quest.
Two small criticisms. The CD set dosn't cover events in the appendices that come at the end of the third volume of LoTR. This particulalry affects the charachter of Arwen because her relationship with Aragorn (central to his motivation in the war of the ring) is only fully brought out in one of those Appendices. This adaptation could have made more of the time they share at Rivendell to highlight her charachter.
And the other criticism? One Tolkien himself would have shared; the story - and hence this CD set of the radio adaptation - is too short.
Enjoy!
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219 of 235 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 23 April 2005
By 
J Meehan (Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
We all know that the The Lord of the Rings is a work of genius, so this review covers this particular published version (The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition). First off this book is expensive and in format it is only a little larger than the paperback version. Also apart from the three pages from the book of Mazurbul there are no illustrations. First impressions will probably leave most people wondering where their money went. So what do you get for the money?
Well, clearly the publishers have spent some time thinking about how to add both quality and usability. There are two fold out maps printed in black and red. Not spectacular and in size these cover no more space than if they were printed across two pages. However, because they are fold out they are easier to read and if left "folded out" can be referred to whilst reading text on other pages.
The slip cover works well and is has a sturdy feel. The paper has a quality (non glossy) feel and is much whiter than other versions (especially the paperback) I have seen. Combined with a very crisp font this makes the book easy to read, something I struggle with in some of the cheaper published versions. Somehow when the book is closed after use the pages easily compress back to their original size making the slip case easy to use without the case being oversized.
It would have been easy for the publishers to have fallen into the trap of printing this book in the larger format of some Lord of the Rings books. However, the Lord of the Rings is a long story and these larger formats are very difficult to read due to the weight of the books. This book can actually be used!
Overall the book has an understated feel of quality which will grow on you. However there is no getting away from the premium price. If you are looking for something to give a more immediate impression there are cheaper versions, printed on glossier paper, in larger format and with more illustrations.
This makes this a book for the dedicated Lord of the Rings collector, if you just want a book for everyday use or to read for the first time I would suggest one of the mid-price versions.
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128 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential., 15 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This radio dramatisation is remarkable and has now been re-edited onto 12cds with a running time of 13 hours 15 minutes
including the final disc which is Stephen Oliver's complete musical score (and now includes a demo of John Le Mesurier singing Bilbo's Last Song).
I can't say that i'm too keen on some of the singing which is contained in this production but the music otherwise is excellent, the story adaptation is great, and the casting is superb.
Peter Woodthorpe in particular is excellent as the snarling, stammering, schizoid Gollum.
Ian Holm who plays Bilbo in Peter Jackson's films is Frodo in this production and John Le Mesurier plays Bilbo.
There are four cds for each volume of the book, although the fourth cd of Return Of The King is the aforementioned musical score cd.
This edition differs from the radio transmission as there isn't the introduction and credits for each episode, it has been re-edited so that each of the three volumes of the book is continuous with newly recorded prologues and epilogues by Ian Holm.
This explains how they managed to squeeze it all onto 12cds; previously this was available as a 14cd set, with each of 13 1-hour episodes on a seperate cd and a final cd of the music.
The sleevenotes also say that it has been rearranged so that it better matches the chronology of the book.
Anyway, if you love the Lord Of The Rings you'll love this too.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A production so precious-s-s-s-s-s-s!!!, 7 Dec 2002
I recently borrowed the 14 cd boxed collectors edition of the radio series and was blown away.
A fantastic adaptation by BBC Radio 4 with John Le Mesurier as Bilbo, Ian Holm as Frodo (now Bilbo in the films!) but the real star is Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum, he perfectly captures his split personality and the voice he provides is a joy to behold.(He also did the voice of Gollum in Ralph Bakshi's incomplete animated film version of the story, but seems to take it to a whole new level in this adaptation).
I bought this new 12 cd set and it differs from the previous edition - the story has been re-edited so that each book of the trilogy continues unbroken without the radio programme's original intro and ending, it is no longer split into neat 1-hour long episodes, thus enabling it to fit onto just 12 cds.
The removal of these breaks means that the story flows better, although you may feel compelled to put the next cd in to continue the story as a result!!!
In addition to this re-editing Ian Holm has recorded new epilogues and prologues.
The final cd contains music from the series, and the music is very good indeed.
If you like The Lord Of The Rings and don't yet own the radio series then i can recommend this completely.
If you enjoyed the Fellowship film and would like to know the ending of the trilogy before Christmas 2003(and doubt you could read the epic book in that timeframe!) then this set is ideal.
Believe me, as soon as Gollum appears on the first CD you'll know you've made the right decision!
At 13+ hours long this is excellent value for money, too.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition review, 17 Oct 2010
For me, this book is reason to own a Kindle. Big and heavy enough to be used as a doorstop even in paperback editions, being able to carry it (along with everything else I have) in electronic format is a massive improvement and gives yet another reason to enjoy it all over again.

The quality of the presentation is extremely high, with maps and illustrations reproduced well, and a generally high standard of editing. It's not perfect - the maps need to be higher resolution when they're so important to the enjoyment of the story, and there are some annoying occasional lapses in the quality of proofing like characters suddenly being called by only their first initial and not their name (this is my number 1 pet hate in e-books, but it's rare enough here not to spoil things).

Completely recommended.
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120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful edition of a timeless classic, 6 Jan 2003
By 
Mr Gary E Whorwood (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I will not waste words here raving about the Lord of the Rings. Most people already know that it is one of the greatest stories ever told and has been reviewed more eloquently elsewhere.
If you are a fan of Tolkien then this box set is a wonderful collectors item. It is presented in sturdy hardback to survive multiple readings over the years. It also has some of Alan Lee's wonderful illustrations, which clearly demonstrate the influence they had over the visualisation of Peter Jackson's movies. Some of these pictures look like they might have been taken straight out of the movies.
All in all, as a fan whose previous paperback editions have fallen apart, look forward to enjoying these hardbacks for years to come.
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130 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To clarify some of the divergent reviews here..., 24 Mar 2008
By 
Sebastian Palmer "sebuteo" (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I had the privilege of working in the same building as Rob Inglis (at the same job, as it happens), the actor chosen to record these verbatim recordings, for a brief period some years ago. We weren't friends as such, just acquaintances. At the time I was unaware of his Tolkienian pedigree, but I was well aware of his mellifluous voice and amiably charismatic persona: it was a quality that made that particular place of work a lot more palatable for me, and no doubt many others.

Now, on to the LOTR adaptation in question, by way of a tangential question: would you expect a painting to work on your senses in exactly the same way as a piece of music? Whilst there might be similarities, parallels, and so on, essentially the answer is no, because the two mediums are fundamentally different. Some reviewers here seem to miss that kind of distinction. This version of LOTR is the equivalent of a fireside reading of yesteryear (in itself a wonderful thing, and part of a distinguished cultural heritage that predates the instant pleasures of TV and the iPod by many millennia), not a full cast dramatisation complete with sound effects. And taken on those terms, Inglis does a fantastic job. To expect one person to create a world as deeply multifaceted as can be recreated by a large team of actors, producers, engineers and so on at the BBC is clearly a bit dumb. Sure, I prefer the music in the BBC version, but they had a composer to work specifically on it, plus various singers (inc Oz Clarke, of wine-tasting fame) to flesh it out. On the other side of the equation, they had to cut out large tracts of the text to make the series a manageable size. What the Inglis version lacks in production values and vocal technique it more than makes up for in being a complete reading.

There are also people submitting reviews of this item who are in plain factual error. The reviewers that suggest Inglis wasn't familiar with his material are clearly unaware that Inglis was selected for the daunting task of verbatim readings of both The Hobbit & LOTR precisely because of his familiarity with the material. He'd already been doing Tolkien material on stage as a solo act, something that almost beggars belief, both in conception and execution. And to any serious Tolkien reader (at least amongst those I know), the mention of Ms Rowling's world in the same breath as Tolkien's is a bit like trying to compare the works of Picasso with a child's first drawing, i.e. something ignorant people all too frequently do. Whether or not you like either world is beside the point. Tolkien's was born out of a donnish/professorial obsession with language and ancient myth and culture that gives his world a far more cohesive depth than the meandering fancies of 'muggles' and 'quidditch'. The first three Star Wars films were great fun, and at the time represented the tip of an iceberg in a seismic shift in cultural reference points, but, as the three 'prequels' made very clear, this was a world with about as much depth as a puddle when compared to the oceanic depths of Tolkien's personal mythos.

As a Tolkien lover I have room in my life for pretty much all of the Tolkien adaptations I've so far encountered, with the books themselves and the BBC dramatisations coming out a clear first and second. But I'm incredibly happy that somebody went to the trouble of recording verbatim readings, and think Rob Inglis does a sterling job (to those sniping at the enunciation, it's worth considering that Inglis is of Antipodean extraction). So, if you know and love your Tolkien, you'll most likely be able to derive a great deal of pleasure from these recordings, as it would seem most other reviewers have also.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book - worth the effort required to get into it, 5 Jan 2002
By A Customer
It took me 25 years of my life to read Lord of the Rings for the first time. Since then I have read it at least once a year and now own a rather battered paperback single volume (and a much nicer 7 volume hardback set!)
I had owned the book for some years before I got past the first couple of chapters and required prodding by a friend before I made the effort to read the book. Therefore I can understand and sympathise with people who have a problem with this book. I too hated The Hobbit when I first read it and this caused me to dislike The Lord of the Rings. Once I got past this irrational dislike for hobbits (midway through book 1) I found myself unable to put the book down.
Yes - it starts slowly. Yes - it requires effort upon the part of the reader to get the most from the book. If you are prepared to make this effort then you will be drawn in to the best-realised fantasy world that has been committed to paper. This book features some of the most beautiful places ever described in fantasy fiction and some of the darkest. It also features characters you will care deeply about with realistic motivations for their actions. Whilst some may complain about the lack of female characters I have never found this to be a flaw. Consideration must be given to the era in which the books were written and for the time there are in fact strong female role models (Eowyn and Galadriel).
My only word of warning is that reading this book may set you upon the path to obsession - where you will find yourself reading more and more Tolkien, surfing fan sites and watching the film too many times (if that is possible...). If you're prepared to risk this then this book is definitely recommended
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented edition, but not practical, 2 Nov 2003
By 
Victoria Clare (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Other reviewers have said plenty about the contents. I want to talk specifically about this illustrated hardback edition.
Lee's paintings make a beautiful accompaniment to the celebrated story, though some are a little 'washed out' for my own taste. But this is *not* the edition to buy if you are buying the book to read for the first time, or particularly if you are buying it for a child.
The Lord of the Rings was originally envisaged as a single book, but was issued as three, and now I own this edition I can see why. It's enormous: heavy, clumsy, and difficult to read anywhere but sitting up at a desk.
I was also a little disappointed that this 'de luxe' edition, despite its size, skimps on the maps, reproducing them in miniature form rather than the full-size foldout versions Tolkien envisaged.
This is a nice edition for a fan (I am one), but I'm going to have to buy the paperback multivolume set so I can actually read it again (my original copy has finally dropped to pieces).
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best edition a fan could get, 11 Sep 2002
By 
I. Ferretti "life-long book lover" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In the unlikely occasion that you have never read the Lord of the Rings and are not too sure whether you would like it or not, get a cheaper paperback edition.
However if you have read it before and are looking for something to keep forever as a gem in your collection, this is it.
Not only have Alan Lee's paintings inspired Peter Jackson for the making of the films (the director himself stated in an interview that he tracked the artist down for it) but every picture reflects exactly the images of Middle- Earth as you imagine them in your head. As for the book, I have no doubt it is the most underrated example of classic British literature ever. How I wish you could study it at school. I have never come across anything more beautifully written and descriptive than this. A lot of people have said that the story will take you into different worlds, but for what concerns me, I never came back.
Once you start reading it PLEASE don't leave it...
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The Lord of the Rings Box set (hardcover)
The Lord of the Rings Box set (hardcover) by J. R. R. Tolkien (Hardcover - 2 Nov 1998)
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