The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Frodo Baggins receives a special gift from his uncle. Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit, is retiring from his normal life. He is returning to his wandering life he enjoyed as a “young” Hobbit. During his adventures he garnered a special, magic ring. He now gives to to Frodo.
The Ring is much more than Bilbo or Frodo realize. Gandalf the Wizard returns to the Shire and finally identifies it. It is the primary magic ring of their world, and is evil. The Lord Sauron, ruler over the dark Mordor, is wanting the ring returned to give him complete power over all of Middle Earth. Gollum, the prior owner of the Ring before Bilbo, wants the Ring back himself.
Middle Earth itself is gearing up towards a war. The Ring is only a part of the evil spreading over the land. Frodo and three Hobbit friends escape from their country just in time. Frodo is being sought by Nine Black Riders, minions of Sauron. Gandalf was supposed to join Frodo, but does not make it before they have to leave.
Thus begins one of the best classic fantasy quests of all time. There is no way to summarize the first of the trilogy in a short review. The characters are fascinating, from the Hobbits through the Wizard, the elves, the dwarves, the Orcs, the Riders, and the Men. This is not just a story of good beings against evil beings, but of people within themselves as well. I first read these books over 25 years ago. It has been a real treat to start the trilogy again but nothing is resolved here. The next two books are needed to complete the story – The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Remember, too, that the story really starts with The Hobbit.