The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves, in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving, unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar. Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of the Five Armies are some of the adventures that befall Bilbo. But there are' lighter moments as well: good fellowship, welcome meals, laughter and song. Bilbo Baggins has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of children's fiction. Written for Professor Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit met with instant acclaim when published. It is a complete and marvellous tale in itself, but it also forms a prelude to The Lord of the Rings.