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Summary

This brand-new unabridged audiobook of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved The Hobbit will be coming to listeners everywhere this September, read by the BAFTA award-winning actor, director and author Andy Serkis. 

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of 13 dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on a journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon....

The prelude to The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

©1937 J. R. R. Tolkien (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The Hobbit belongs to a very small class of books which have nothing in common save that each admits us to a world of its own. Its place is with Alice and The Wind in the Willows." (Times Literary Supplement)

"One of the best loved characters in English fiction...a marvellous fantasy adventure." (Daily Mail)

"Finely written saga of dwarves and elves, fearsome goblins and trolls...an exciting epic of travel, magical adventure, working up to a devastating climax." (The Observer)

What listeners say about The Hobbit

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Baggins of fun

This is without a shadow of a doubt the best reading of the unabridged Audiobook of The Hobbit, Andy Serkis does an excellent job bringing this book to life. The Riddles In The Dark is specially well done, as you would expect from Andy, the subtle weaving from Smeagol to Gollum is brilliant. I will always have a soft spot for the Rob Inglis reading of both The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings because it was his recordings that first brought me to Miidle Earth many years ago but am aware that it needed freshening up and I'm glad that they have done this justice. Well done to all involed........now..........The Lord Of The Rings please Andy, you've got to carry on now :)

92 people found this helpful

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Very good

Andy Serkis was great. Hope we get the lord of the rings from him too

52 people found this helpful

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brilliant reading. please do LOTR!

I truly hope Andy Serkis narrates the lord of the rings trilogy after this because I absolutely adored his reading. just fab and way way better than any of the other narrators I've heard doing the Hobbit.
great story and brilliantly put together

34 people found this helpful

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A favourite, given a new lease of life by a master

I have always loved the hobbit. It captured me as a child and that captivation with Tolkien’s world has followed me into adulthood. I loved Andy Serkis as Gollum in the films (and everything else I have ever seen him in) and when he did the Hobbitathon for charity I was over the moon and spent the whole day watching him give his rendition. It was magic. The clamour for him to do an official audiobook reading that could be purchased was massive and I was among the many people interested in such an audiobook.

When I found out that it was actually going to be released, excited is not the word. I was over the moon. Serkis has not disappointed. He is an engaging orator and consistent in his character voices. He is not attempting to mimic others who have played the parts, he is making them his own (with the obvious exception of Sméagol/Gollum who is already his own and much beloved rendition so familiar from the movies). His pace matches the section of the book he is in and what is happening in the story.

Having heard the Rob Inglis version of this (I have the hobbit and the lord of the rings by him) I know which I prefer. Inglis is fine, there are not many things about his reading style to get on the nerves (though his singing of the songs is sometimes a little unclear and irksome) but I definitely prefer Serkis’ rendition. He has brought a freshness to this old favourite story that makes it more vibrant in the mind.

I would be overjoyed if Serkis would do the Lord of the Rings too. I had high hopes for this audiobook and Serkis has not disappointed. His rendition of Riddles in the Dark had my face splitting into a wide grin all the way through, and all my favourite points have been all I could hope them to be.

28 people found this helpful

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AMAZING!

Andy Serkis is simply incredible. Brings the story upto date and inline with the modern era and the films. Rob Inglis’ readings are good but not as captivating as Serkis’. Please please please RE DO LORD OF THE RINGS!

27 people found this helpful

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EXTRAORDINARY!!!!!!

I am begging for a lord of the rings reading by Andy Serkis!!! He is an amazing narrator!!!

15 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

I initially debated between this version and the Rob Inglis one, however the lure of Andy Serkis' performing Riddles in the Dark made me choose this one. Initially I was concerned about the pace and intonation of some of the reading, however this soon subsided. Most of the character voices were superb and well differentiated (albeit Beorn sounds a touch drunk) and I was so engrossed, I found myself completing it on day of purchase. One of my favourite books, very well brought to life and it won't be long before I listen again.

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a slightly heretical view..

I'm going to go against the almost unanimous flow here and say that I find Andy Serkis' narration of The Hobbit a little bit..well..rushed and busy. There's a slightly hyperactive quality to his treatment of the text which makes for a bit of an exhausting listen and it seems to drain the whimsicality and poetry (as it were) out of Tolkien's delightful prose. Dialogue is somewhat overacted and descriptive passages often given a lot of unnecessary, almost Shatner-esque emphasis. There are also some characterisation choices which lift directly from the films that give us - still inexplicably - Scottish and Yorkshire dwarves and Thorin's surly and brooding Yorkshireman doesn't really work here either. That said, Serkis' Gollum is a joy forever and 'Riddles in the Dark' is worth the entry price alone. The whole thing rips along at a compelling enough pace but I can't help thinking that dear old Rob Inglis managed to imbue a touch more wonder and magic into the proceedings, despite his sometimes excruciating singing and the basic production values. Honestly I would say that this is not an improvement on Rob's reading as such; they are in fact very different beasts. Each to his own however, and clearly many folk enjoy this new take immensely.

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Dramatic changes in volume really let it down

I absolutely love The Hobbit. I read it years ago, as well as all of the LotR books, and am a huge fan of everything to do with it. Whilst I love Andy Serkis' committment to the characters and the storytelling, I'm not sure whether it's an issue with him or the sound mixing but this is really hard to listen to without continuously adjusting the volume.

His accents and voices themselves are spot on, but at one point he'll be whispering and be barely audible so I'll have to turn the volume all the way up, and then suddenly got another character (e.g. Smaug), he's shouting so loud that I'm almost deafened. This really distracted me during the listening experience as I'm constantly changing the volume up and down, which if you're trying to listen to it before bed is really annoying, as it is if you just want to leave the book on to relax too or do other things whilst listening. It's made me want to give up at multiple points. And yes, I know some characters would naturally speak louder than others at different points in the book, but other narrators manage this with ease (e.g. Stephen Fry), so I do feel it is possible to show inflection without the huge variations in volume. Maybe this could've been fixed in the sound editing/mixing, and maybe it still can, so that future listeners can fully appreciate Serkis' performance and Tolkien's work.

12 people found this helpful

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Transported me there and back again in a new way

Having read this book and heard many different versions of it this hands down is the best version I have ever heard. Andy Serkis uses his acting skills his knowledge of the story and characters to deliver an authentic heartfelt brilliant reading I absolutely loved it and will listen to it again.

thank you so much!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Brage
  • 07-09-20

I want Serkis to record Lord Of The Rings also

This recording of the hobbit is league’s ahead of any other recordings of the Hobbit or lord of the rings. I would by the lord of the rings read by Andy Serkis eaven if I had to pay for each individual part of the six parts the books are divided into.

8 people found this helpful

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  • LE7
  • 15-09-20

OMG best narration ever!

I know the story inside out. I know how it should sound. this is it.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nerine Dorman
  • 18-11-20

Serkis does Tolkien's legacy justice

My first encounter with JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit came when I was around six years old, and my mum picked up a paperback copy from which she read parts of to me. I do admit I was probably a little too young to appreciate this, back then, but I did go on to reading the book on my own when I was about 11 or 12. Which is also when I plunged headlong into The Lord of the Rings and knew from that moment that I wanted to be a fantasy writer.

I'm always somewhat baffled when people complain that The Hobbit is boring, but hey, there's no accounting for people's taste. But what I will say to those of you who didn't quite gel with the reading, do give the audiobook narrated by Andy Serkis a try. It's my firm belief that some fiction only truly comes alive as the spoken word, and in this case, The Hobbit is a prime example.
Tolkien is a master of the third person omniscient, so often interrupts the main flow to give a little of his own opinion – and sometimes the references to things from his own time, like football, can be a bit jarring. This is especially the case considering that the conventions of present day fiction favour a limited first- or third-person point of view. So I'm guessing the 'narrator voice' of the author might be off-putting to some readers (though I do believe that they don't quite know how to articulate this, judging by the reviews out there – worth a laugh and an eye-roll if you're trawling to see the one-star reviews for The Hobbit.)

But Andy Serkis as a narrator of this book surpasses himself. His minute details in characterisation, for everyone from Bilbo and Gandalf, to Smaug, and of course the Gollum we all know and love, are an absolute delight. This is the unabridged version of the book, so we're looking at plus minus 10 hours of entertainment, and I'm beginning to wonder if Peter Jackson shouldn't have just stuck to the plot instead of his mangling of the film adaption of the book. Because yes, there is enough content for three movies here, if you look hard enough.

This is most certainly one of my audiobook highlights of the year, and I cannot recommend it enough. Serkis is an absolute treasure and he has without a doubt done justice to JRR Tolkien's legacy with his reading.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Håkon Seljåsen
  • 20-10-20

More of this!

Please make Andy Serkis natrate LOTR and the Silmarillion as well! He is brilliant! Pleeease!!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Antonio
  • 12-02-21

My God, the performance.

I too, like many other reviewers, know this text intimately. And what a pleasure it was to experience it in this form with the expert performance of Andy Serkis. All the dialogue and songs, not no mention his cadence of speech and elocution are simply perfect. Christopher Lee was amazing in Children of Hurin but this one, I have to say, is on another level. I am in awe. A beautiful gift to all the fans. Rejoice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-21

Exceptional!

Wow. Just wow.
The Hobbit is a marvelous piece of literature, but Andy Sirkis truly brought the story to life in a way that only he can. My favorite listen of 2021 so far.

1 person found this helpful

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  • eran
  • 19-08-21

Perfect! Highly recommend!

By far, the best audio book I’ve ever had
Highly recommend!
Beautiful narration that takes your imagination deep into the lonely mountain

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-08-21

A true classic

The Hobbit is a very fun story that many would enjoy, and it’s only made better by Andy Serkis’ wonderful performance. What else there is to say?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gavin
  • 11-08-21

Fantastic!

If your cursor is hovering over this one don't hesitate to download and listen. I enjoyed it immensely and much more than when I first read the book myself. Can't recall an audio book with a better performance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-21

Great piece of art narrated by an incredible Andy

Absolutely beautiful version of my beloved Tolkien's book that could not be narrated by a better person than Andy Serkis. Especially Riddles in the dark chapter is a memorable in this version.

1 person found this helpful