HarperCollins is releasing a new unabridged audiobook of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in three parts in September, read by Andy Serkis, who starred as Gollum in the blockbuster movies.
Last year Serkis embarked on his #Hobbitathon, a live, cover-to-cover reading of The Hobbit, in an 11-hour sitting with the intent to raise money for Covid-19 relief efforts, raising more than £300,000 for charity. He then performed a new recording of The Hobbit audiobook, under the guidance of veteran producer Garrick Hagon at ID Audio, and executive-produced by HarperCollins’ editorial director for audio, Fionnuala Barrett. The same team has reunited to bring Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to a new generation of listeners.
Serkis said: "I would consider myself someone who likes a challenge... Walking back into Middle-earth over 20 years after my first life-changing adventure there, and experiencing it all over again (this time for many weeks alone in a sound booth) has brought in equal measures of pure joy, sheer madness, immense pleasure and a level of psychological and physical fatigue I have never quite experienced the like of before.
"I actually feel like I have lived through Tolkien’s saga, and felt his profound understanding of and connection to nature, love, war, truth, hatred and altruism. Each day I genuinely went through ups and downs, often coinciding with the progress of the ring-bearer and his companions. On more than one occasion I was sure I wasn’t going to make it to the Crack of Doom! Having now completed the quest and been 'There and back again... again', so to speak, I realise what a phenomenal privilege it has been to have had the opportunity to read this sublime work once more. My only hope, now, is that I have done it justice, and that the listening experience conveys the power and beauty of J R R Tolkien’s masterpiece."
Chris Smith, deputy publishing director, added: "HarperCollins is proud to be the official worldwide publisher of the works of J R R Tolkien, and we consider The Lord of the Rings to be one of the defining books of the 20th century, a book that has captivated generations of readers with its sweeping sense of adventure and the inspiring message that even the smallest can effect the greatest of changes. We are delighted that we once again have an actor of the calibre of Andy Serkis who can bring these qualities to life so brilliantly for a whole new audience."
The Lord of the Rings was first published from 1954 to 1955 and has since gone on to become an acclaimed classic of modern literature. The audiobook will be available to download from all audiobook retailers on 16th September, and on CD on 14th October. Recorded Books will publish the audiobook in the US.