As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, Aragorn is revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient kings. Gandalf miraculously returns and defeats the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam leaves his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive in the hands of the Orcs.
And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing and the One Ring comes ever closer to the Cracks of Doom. ers death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures. His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edwards School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shine in his classical work.
After completing a First in English Language and Literature at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the New English Dictionary and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called The Book of Lost Tales but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.
In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement.
After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wifes death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.
Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins (UK).