This book does exactly what it says on the cover. Through easy-to-read, short chapters which follow the story of the Hobbit, Ware picks out particular moments and draws out what he hopes was Tolkien’s underlying Christian faith shining through. The conclusions are easy to grasp, and for a lover of The Hobbit I’m confident this would be a great way to dig deeper into who God is.
Each chapter tells a part of the story, followed by a quick breakdown of what this means in light of Christianity, and a sentence for reflection at the end. It tells just enough of the story to make its points without going through every detail but contains big spoilers, so if you haven’t read The Hobbit already I’d definitely hold off until you have before digging into this.
The author acknowledges the problem with this book right at the beginning, then throughout when appropriate: Tolkien never wanted Middle Earth to be an allegory of the gospel (in contrast to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia). This means that at times the book feels a bit forced, such as when the usefulness of rope is compared with the grace of God (probably the weakest chapter), but this is a minor point.
On the whole I found this to be an enjoyable, informative, fun and gospel-focussed book. I’d heartily recommend it to Tolkien fans, whether Christian or not.
I got this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.