Yes, before the movies, The Lord of the Rings was just a book. While I do like the movie version directed by Peter Jackson, much is lost by the change in medium.
It does contain a good deal of violence (tis the nature of wars), so I'd have to recommend it for those of about high school age and above.
It is a quite large triology but a very enjoyable read. There is not much sense in summarizing the plot - there just too much there. Suffice it to say that it centers on a struggle between good and evil, a journey, the role of friends, and the way one's choices which may seem small at the time can change the world.
The text may be available online, but the size of the book, imo, would make it very hard to read that way.
At Amazon: Lord of the Rings
Copyright David M. Cheney, 2006; Page Revised: 30 August 2006