Fifty Shades of Grey is a romance/erotic novel written by E.L. James. It is the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM).
Official Book Summary
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his engimatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey's secrets and explores her own desires.
The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilight fanfiction titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fanfiction websites under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon". After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fanfiction websites and published it on her own website, FiftyShades.com. Later, she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and removed it from her website prior to publication.
This reworked and extended version of Master of the Universe was split into three parts. The first, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. The second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, was released in September 2011; and the third, Fifty Shades Freed, followed in January 2012. Due to the heightened interest in the series, the license to the Fifty Shades trilogy was picked up by Vintage Books for re-release in a new and revised edition in April 2012.