Review of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (FOTR, TTT and ROTK) Audiobook on CD

Narrated by Rob Inglis

Complete Unabridged Trilogy of LOTR, total hours 52, 46 CDs

Produced in 1990 by Recorded Books TM

Reviewed by Jan.

I had originally asked the folks at TORN if they could let me know if they had reviewed any audio book versions of the Mr. Tolkien’s books and, if so, what were their thoughts of it. As they had no review on file, they asked me to put one together. I presume my overall enthusiasm for the audio book kind of came oozing out.

To be honest, I found many more articulate and profound “customer” reviews at the site where I purchased my audio book. These reviews were instrumental in my decision to spend my hard earned money on what some would assume is a frivolous gift to myself. The overall deciding factor was the fact that this a completely unabridged version.

In a word, Rob Inglis’s narration of LOTR is amazing. And I will make a feeble attempt to describe it. The most interesting thing I found was that when listening to Rob Inglis, it is surprising to find how many different “voices” he can come up with to distinguish all the characters and how eerily similar they are to the characters in the movie version. But, they are not acted up so much that one would find it “corny”, but only just enough to keep your interest.. Even a lowly guard or hobbit in the shire is given enough of a different accent or inflection in the voice to make it unique from all the others. When not in character, his narrative voice is strangely similar to Mr. Tolkien himself. He has a wonderful way of letting you know how much he embraced this story as his own and wanted to share it with everyone.

Rob Inglis does so much more than just narrate, he sings the songs, recites the poetry, races along with the action and does a Gollum voice that makes your skin crawl (as it should). The orcs are putrid, and Frodo and Sam are more and more pitiful the closer they get to Mordor. He makes you feel their pain and fatigue all along their arduous trek. Tom Bombadil just skips along as he likes and Treebeard goes on and on forever. To summarize, I found the all characters are as you would imagine with only as much exaggeration as required to make them believable. Where Mr. Tolkien does not care to use contractions in his writings, Mr. Inglis doesn’t mind substituting them in the readings. I would not have noticed except when reading and listening at the same time.

If I had to choose my favorite from the original books, the movies or the audio book, of course I would choose the original books, but having read, listened or watched all three many times I really have no favorite. They all have their own redeeming qualities, depending on ones mood or preference and shouldn’t really be compared (or scrutinized) so closely as to take away from one or the other, but be enjoyed for exactly what they are. They are simply their own versions of a classic and should be treasured accordingly. In retrospect, I would never have read the books if I had not seen the movie first. The movie version gave me the visual I needed to wrap myself up in the books and the audio version takes me deeper into the books than my imagination could ever have done. Thank you Mr. Tolkien, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Inglis for taking me along for the ride, I am enjoying it each and every time.


I have only recently received my copy of The Hobbit Audiobook on CD and only listened to it quickly once, but because it is produced by the same company, unabridged and narrated by Rob Inglis, I do not hesitate to recommend it also.