The Two Towers: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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This brand-new unabridged audiobook of The Two Towers, the second part of J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings, is read by the BAFTA award-winning actor, director and author Andy Serkis.
The company of the Ring is torn asunder. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
This continues the classic tale begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its awesome climax in The Return of the King.
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|Listening Length||20 hours and 47 minutes|
|Author||J. R. R. Tolkien|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||16 September 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 103 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
4 in Folklore
4 in Action & Adventure Fantasy
5 in Classic Literature
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Top reviews from Australia
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My one dislike is that the narrator has very limited voices he can use for the vast array of characters there are, they end up sounding either posh or country accents and unless you already know the storyline and the characters it would be very hard to follow. My other dislike are the recitals of poetry, delivered in such a boring fashion, and with no variation which ever character is supposed to be saying them I ended up saying aloud oh not again.
Would like to hear it read by someone or maybe various narrators with more character in there tones.
Overall my love of The Lord of the Rings wins me over.
Aragorn finds that Merry and Pippin have been abducted rather than killed -- for what reason, no one knows. Frodo and Sam have left on their own. So Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli race to find the orcs and retrieve the hobbits, but are stopped by the fierce Riders of Rohan, and then by an old and dear friend: Gandalf, who has been resurrected in the new form of a White wizard. Elsewhere, Merry and Pippin must use all of their wits to escape the orcs, and then find a strange band of allies that no one could have hoped for.
Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam head into Mordor -- with an eerily familiar figure, Gollum, following them. Frodo subjugates Gollum, forcing him to swear on "the precious" that he won't harm him. In return, Gollum promises to guide the two hobbits through Mordor, straight to Mount Doom. But the Ring is weighing more heavily than ever on Frodo, and is starting to reassert its old sway on Gollum...
One of the most noticeable changes in this book is the shift of focus. "Fellowship" was Frodo-centric, since the narration revolved around him, as did all the events and thoughts. But with the breaking of the Fellowship, the narration falls into three categories: Frodo and Sam; Merry and Pippin; Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. This triple style allows individuals to shine more brightly, when they are called on to do more than hike with Frodo.
Tolkien also presented a wider view of Middle-Earth in general. While the slow slog through Mordor doesn't really tell or show readers much -- aside from what a hellhole Sauron is the middle of -- it's shocking to see the the effects of the orcs, Saruman and Sauron on places such as Gondor and Rohan.
Changes can be seen in Frodo even in this book, and which become more pronounced in the third book of the trilogy, "Return of the King." He becomes sadder and more introspective, and the Ring's growing hold on him can be glimpsed at times. Aragorn is also changing. He is no longer merely the rugged outcast Ranger, but displays the hints of a future great king, if he can only get to his throne.
Merry and Pippin also change: these two innocent young hobbits have to suddenly Sam is more promiment in this book, as Frodo's friend and personal pillar of strength.
But where Tolkien really outdid himself is Gollum. Gollum returns, in a substantially different state. Oh, he's still addled and addicted to the Ring, but he displays a dual love/loathing for the Ring, a weird affection for Frodo (who, from his point of view, is probably the only person who has been kind to him), and displays a Ring-induced multiple-personality syndrome. Very rarely can bad guys elicit the sort of loathing and pity from the reader that Gollum does.
One noticeable aspect of this book is friendship. When the Fellowship sets out from Rivendell, virtually everyone is a stranger, with the exception of the hobbits. However, in this book we get our view of how much Sam loves Frodo and wants to help him. Sam is fully aware of how much Frodo needs emotional support, and he's quite willing to be a pillar of strength for his friend. We see Gimli and Legolas's affection for Merry and Pippin; and Legolas's willingness to kill Eomer if Eomer hurts Gimli shows how far this Elf and Dwarf have come.
This book is substantially darker than "Fellowship." Frodo is starting to stumble under the weight of the Ring, and other characters die or are seriously hurt. The scene where Pippin's mind is trapped by Sauron is a very disturbing one, as is a violent and saddening scene late in the book. But there is also some wry humor: Gandalf's joke as he hears Saruman throttling Grima Wormtongue, Legolas's snippy comments about pipeweed as Gimli and the hobbits smoke up a storm, and Sam's debate with Gollum about whether they should cook the rabbits.
Tolkien's second Lord of the Rings novel is a thrilling fantasy adventure, exploring more of his invented world than "Fellowship of the Ring" did. A truly enthralling experience.
One wonders at which direction Tolkien will take the mind - and the soul - of the reader in this volume. After the heart breaking beauty of Lothloriel and the soul destroying grief of the loss of a much loved party member at the legendary Bridge of Khazad-Dum, it was almost too much to bear to read of the pain inflicted on our heroes as they left the sacred home of the elves. And what an experience it was! At least as readers we can return to those pages of the book again, and again, and again whenever we feel the need to escape the torrid world of reality. So many descriptions, phrases and unexpected displays of emotion, awe, and even love almost overwhelmed the reader, despite the fact that they may well have read, and experienced, the genius of Tolkien several times in the past.
The story starts, quite literally, where volume one ended. Aragon the rest of the party are madly searching for signs of Frodo and Sam whilst simultaneously fighting off a small army of Orcs. It turns out the the hobbits were kidnapped by the Orcs and taken for questioning by Saramon. And so the hunt is on. But the mind of Aragon is just about torn in half by grief, guilt and madness as he struggles to accept recent turn of events with comrades lost in battle and much adored halflings left in his charge either taken by the enemy or lost and presumed drowned in a nearby lake. Soothing words by comrades bring sense to the man destined to rule the West and his mind is back in place as he manages to fend off madness and see the truth for what it is. Frodo and Sam have still got the ring and so Pippin and Merry need to be rescued from the ultimate forces of evil. And all of this is made clear to the reader in the space of the opening chapter!
The fields of Rohan don't have the aesthetic quality of Lothlorien, (what does, this side of Heaven?) so Mr Tolkien does not waste words (or time for that matter) telling the reader about something that is not there. The book opens at a fast pace and does not let up. Before you know, Aragorn and his party have caught the foul scent of the Orkan raiding party and hope for a happy reunion soars. Time passes, the sun rises, sets and rises again, but all to no avail. Hope for a successful rescue fade but they soon meet up and befriend the riders of Rohan and discover the foul Orcs they were searching for are slain. But where are the halfings? Are they still alive? Were they mistreated by the foul demon-spawn that are servants of Sarumon (and by extension, the Dark Lord himself?).
None of this is my place to reveal.
Read these books, you must. Even in the times of almost overwhelming darkness that befall the forces of good in this tragic, epic tale, you will find the ultimate English wordsmith crafting beauty out of the most barren of environments. And what joy do the Elves bring to any story! Legolas, he that is more of a God than an Elf, grace and bless the pages of this book like an Angel sent down from above. Drama, betrayal, even elements of the dreaded Shakespearian tragedy bloom out of the barren fields of Rohan like flower buds in the most desolate desert. Experienced fans of Mr Tolkien will recognise the fact that I am barely five percent through this fantastic tale. But i am completely hooked, and immersed, and totally in love with the world that absorbs my heart, my soul and my mind every time I turn on my kindle, or open my faded paperback copies of this classic.
Books are meant to be lived, and not just read. In Tolkien’s world, you may well live, love and die in here.
But if that is to happen to me, then I could not be happier.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2018
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 February 2021
In this book Tolkien gradually ratchets up the menace and darkness of the growing evil, and tests the mettle of the Hobbit heroes, leaving you unsure as to who they can trust.
A cracking middle book in the trilogy.
Great fun and solid adventure.
The Two Towers (ISBN 9780007203550) is the book in the set most like its second edition predecessor. The only change in the text is its freedom from the accumulated errors that a crack squad of Tolkienologists have meticulously weeded out for us. As for illustrations, we get only Christopher Tolkien's time-hallowed red and black map of the West of Middle-earth: the good news is that it's in the improved version included in Unfinished Tales, the bad that it's been shrunk to a rather mean two page pull-out, and a pixelated one at that. Still, there's always the luxurious poster-sized version redone by John Howe in The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth: Special Edition .
The look of the text barely differs from 1954's, with runes and tengwar still embellishing the title page. L.E.G.O. SpA has done a good job of printing its PostScript Monotype Plantin on a smooth, magnolia paper, slightly lighter toned than that in my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. The binding is well executed in traditional signatures that allow the book to lie flat when it's been opened; a black and yellow headband complements a sturdy black cover nicely gilded on its dignified, handsome spine.
The thick, matt, textured dust jacket is something of a special feature, giving us a painting by JRRT himself. The Ring and some of its tengwar brood over Orodruin, framed by Minas Morgul and Orthanc; a Nazgul glides past overhead, and there are also icons of the crescent Moon, the Nine, a pentacle and Saruman's White Hand. The lettering uses a warmly gleaming copper foil, which to my magpie tastes gives the book masses of shelf appeal.
If you simply want Tolkien, the whole Tolkien and nothing but Tolkien, this lovingly edited, well made Two Towers must surely be right at the top of your shopping list. I'd been surprised if there has ever been an incarnation of this book which has served Tolkien's invention more faithfully.
When I first read The Lord of the Rings back in 1969, one of the passages that most excited me came in the final paragraph of the Foreword. There it was that JRRT offered the tantalizing prospect of an entire, ultra-nerdy accessory volume. A complete index, more detailed linguistic information, and, no doubt, many other tasty bits and pieces too... I yearned for that Volume IV the way a modern teenager craves the latest iPhone. Well, Volume IV never materialized, but now, in the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Return of the King (ISBN 9780007203567 - The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings 3) ) - which amazon in its wisdom will only let me review jointly with The Two Towers - we do at least have an index which Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond have expanded from the second edition's twenty-four pages to a geek-friendlier thirty-nine. Also, the Bolgers and the Boffins have been honoured with family trees, and - most importantly of all - Tolkien's most dedicated scholars have eliminated every last defect from the text like Rangers hunting down so many fugitive orcs.
There are no illustrations in this edition, but it does have two of Christopher Tolkien's traditional red and black maps. A two-page fold-out of Gondor and its neighbours begins the book, contour lines and all, and another of the West of Middle-earth (Unfinished Tales version) concludes it. The second is perhaps a touch small, and both are regrettably pixelated, but of course, there's slways the gorgeous, poster-sized John Howe alternative in The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth: Special Edition .
The attractive design of the text wisely sticks closely to the first edition's. L.E.G.O. SpA have printed it very well indeed in PostScript Monotype Plantin on a smooth, slightly off-white paper much superior to the norm. The binding uses signatures graced with a coloured headband, and the book lies nicely flat when opened; a black cover sets off classically elegant gilt lettering.
The thick, textured dust jacket rejoices in a design by JRRT himself. There's the throne of Minas Tirith, the winged crown of Gondor and an angular tengwar monogram and proclamation of Elendil's; also Elessar's Elfstone, Gondor's seven stars and its emblematic White Tree - and, behind the Ephel Duath, the menacing shadow of Sauron. (If you remember the old India paper one volume deluxe edition of The Lord, it's the painting from which that book's foil cover motif was derived.) The (English) lettering is done in an unusual copper which has a lovely warm gleam to it.
There are several more expensive editions of The Return, but none that I'd rather pop into my basket. It's Tolkien for Tolkien purists. It'll be a shame if it yields its place in the catalogue to the forthcoming movie tie-in version.