The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings has become the standard for sprawling, epic Fantasy, but The Silmarillion reminds us that Frodo’s quest and the War of the Ring was just one tiny part of Tolkien’s grand vision.
The Silmarillion is nothing short of the bible of Middle Earth, starting with the beginning of the world and bringing the reader to the Third Age and the eve of the War of the Ring. It deals mainly with the history of the Elves, the birth of evil and the coming of men. It will enable you to appreciate LOTR in much greater depth and provide a new insight into Middle Earth for the casual Tolkien fan.
The Lord of the Rings wouldn’t exist without the stories in The Silmarillion, but ironically The Silmarillion would never have been commercially viable as a novel without the success of the trilogy. A funny thing, this fiction business…