The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist J.R.R Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II. Although generally known to readers as a trilogy, Tolkien initially intended it as one volume of a two volume set, with the other volume to be The Silmarillion; however, the publisher was not interested in the second volume and in 1954-5 printed The Lord of the Rings as three books rather than one, for economic reasons. It has since been reprinted countless times and translated into many different languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in 20th-century literature.
The title of the book refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring that rules the other Rings of Power, as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across...