Neiklot’s sequel to the Return of the King but backwards.
When we last saw them, Sam Gamgee had left Frodo Baggins tied up in an orc fortress guarding a mountain pass out of Mordor. Sam sets off to find a giant spider. Meanwhile, Frodo himself has somehow become envenomed and tied up in spider silk. He is carried out of the fortress by a couple of orcs to the spider’s lair. Unfortunately, the spider (Shelob) is dead. Luckily, Sam (who now has Frodo’s magic ring, shiny sword and portable light source), resurrects the spider with a few nifty reverse-knife stabs.
The grateful spider removes the webbing holding Frodo and then sucks all the poison out of him. While somewhat puzzled by that whole procedure, Frodo and Sam make friends again and leave Shelob to guard their escape route from Mordor.
Climbing down from the mountain pass, Frodo and Sam team up with Gollum who helps guide them down. Near the bottom the sneak past Minas Morgul where the Lord of the Nazgul is busy bringing his army back from Gondor. From there they head into Ithilien.
In Ithilien they meet Denethor’s son Faramir. He is sad because Boromir has died. ‘Who’s that then?’ asked the hobbits. “My brother.’ says Faramir. ‘Never met him’ say the hobbits.
From Ithilien, the hobbits and Gollum head up to the main entrance of Mordor and then west into the Dead Marches. Eventually, Gollum leaves the two hobbits (but secretly follows them from a discrete distance).
Meanwhile, Gandalf and the hobbit Pippin are heading to Rohan. One evening Gandalf hands Pippin a palantir which Pippin uses to communicate with Sauron. Later Pippin hides the palantir in Gandalf’s pack. They meet up with the hobbit Merry, as well as the former king of Gondor and a dwarf called Gimli and an elf called Legolas. They also catch up with King Theoden and his forces.
They all go to visit Saurman in Isengard. There they discover why Saruman is so unhappy. His city is a complete disaster area! Saruman is hiding in his tower, presumably with no way of contacting the outside world. Gandalf gets Pippin to throw up the palantir so at least he can talk to Sauron.
The party decide to help Saruman out. Merry and Pippin will convince the tree-like ent-people to rebuild Saruman’s city, while Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and the forces of Rohan will round up Uruk-Hai and other people to go and live there.
Aragorn et al head to Helm Deep and get busy reverse stabbing a lot of Uruk-Hai. Gandalf leaves Aragorn to keep resurrect goblins etc at Helm Deep and heads off to round up more of Saruman’s new subjects in the countryside. A few days later they all meet up again at Edoras, the capital of Rohan. Having done what they can for Saruman, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf head towards Fangorn forest to meet up with Merry and Pippin.
Sadly, before they catch up with the two hobbits, Gandalf dies for no reason whatsoever. They can’t even reverse stab him to bring him back!
Merry and Pippin have already headed off from Fangorn by catching a lift from a gang of orcs who carry them off to the great river Anduin. There the orcs bring to life Boromir and they leave the hobbits in his care. Eventually, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas get to the rendezvous point as well.
‘Now all we have to do is wait for Frodo and Sam,’ says Aragorn.
The book closes on this nail biting cliff hanger! Where are Frodo and Sam? Are they just running a bit late or they are waiting at a different bit of the river? Find out in final book of the trilogy!