Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, this illustrated paperback of the epic tale of The Children of Húrin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves, dragons, Dwarves and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien.
It is a legendary time long before The Lord of the Rings, and Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, and the war waged by Morgoth against the Elves, the fates of Túrin and his sister Niënor will be tragically entwined.
Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Húrin, the man who dared to defy him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth, and destroy the children of Húrin.
Begun by J.R.R. Tolkien at the end of the First World War, The Children of Húrin became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.
"Deserves to eclipse all his other posthumous writings, and stand as a worthy memorial to the imagination of Tolkien" The Times
"I hope that its universality and power will grant it a place in English mythology" Independent on Sunday
"The darkest of all Tolkien's tales. Alan Lee's illustrations complement the writing splendidly" Times Literary Supplement
About the author
J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.
Christopher Tolkien, born on 21 November 1924, was the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. At the end of the war he returned to Oxford University and became a Fellow and Tutor, lecturing on early English and northern literature. He devoted himself after his father’s death in 1973 to the editing of his unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, the twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth, and The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin. In 1975 he moved with his wife Baillie to live in France. He died in 2020 at the age of 95.
What could be more apropos than hiring the face of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings to read Tolkien's newly complete version of these pre-Rings tales? Christopher Lee, the British actor beloved for his role in Peter Jackson's trilogy as well as his numerous turns in Hammer fright films, reads Tolkien's Rings precursor as if still in full makeup. Booming and vaguely menacing, Lee sounds like Sauron around the campfire, entertaining his minions with a tale of adventure and woe. Even Lee cannot sound entirely convincing bellowing some of Tolkien's invented languages, but his reading is suitably ominous. Tolkien's son, Christopher, who edited his father's book, also contributes a preface and introduction he reads himself. His voice phlegmy and rough provides a taste of what it might have sounded like had the author himself been available to read his own work. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover (reviewed online).