The Wheel of Timeseries by Robert Jordan is a massive (13+books) Tolkein like world revolving around three protagonists from the same village who are out to save the world. They embark on desperate adventures while surrounded, and for some wielding the mystical One Power. The series is a seamless integration of magic and daring, a truly unique world in which armies are marshaled and the fate of, well, everything will be decided.
Its hard to say much about this series without giving it away since so much happens from book to book, but the one thing I can guarantee is that it will provide months of entertainment. Be warned, you might hate women by the time you are done with this book because of the way the author fits them into the story line. On the other hand, my girlfriend, who is currently on book four, seems to think the women courageous and daring. It goes without saying that she thinks all the men are louts and rascals.
This is the series that really introduced me to high fantasy, after having read a couple books by C.S. Lewis. I got hooked after the first three in the series and have been waiting well over ten years for the last book to come out. Sadly, Robert Jordan died with the series unfinished, but don't despair. He left a solid outline, had already written the conclusion, and hand picked Brandon Sanderson to continue writing for him (the conclusion part is significant because the final chapters of each book are always the most epic). To my huge disappointment, the 'final book' to the Wheel of Time Series is being split into three books with the first to come out this year and then proceed at the pace of one book per year.
Regardless, the The Eye of the World, the first book in the series, got me hooked from page fifty on. I still remember the shiver the book gave me like it was yesterday. There is nothing like epic high fantasy to bring on the shivers, besides perhaps morphine. I am pretty certain I have been chasing the dragon ever since.
Given my personal attachment and the sheer quantity of books in the series, condensed they easily make it onto our top 10 list. If you loved The Lord of The Rings there is no way that you won't like this series. Give it a try while remembering not to come out of the experience hating women, or men if you are a woman.
I promised in my mission statement not to bring in too much of the older fantasy and science fiction writings, but since this series is till current, even though its original author is no longer with us, I think it is justified.