Tolkien-heads with hunger pangs growing and taking ominous form within their insatiable gullets can rejoice and look forward to fresh literary meat off the bone come spring '07, when The Children of Hurin, edited and compiled by J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher from the sire's voluminous notes, will be published as a single, coherent work for the first time.
Christopher, the master's youngest son and literary executor, has been gathering and assembling the story — published previously in bits and pieces in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, and The War of the Jewels volume of the completist History of Middle-earth series — for 30 long years. "It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of The Children of Hurin as an independent work, between its own covers," he said in a statement released by his publishers Houghton Mifflin in the US and HarperCollins in the UK.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the mythic fantasies The Hobbit and the The Lord of the Rings trilogy about the doings of men, elves, dwarves, wizards, hobbits, orcs, and the like in Middle-earth, died in 1973 at the age of 81. He worked on elements of Hurin from 1918 on, but never finished the story.
Christopher, now 81 himself, has been diligently studying, editing, and assembling his father's unfinished notes and manuscripts into book form ever since, most of which elaborate upon and flesh out characters and backstories only touched upon in the legendary published works. Earlier on, Christopher drew the indelible maps used in the trilogy. Earlier still, he was an RAF pilot in WWll and studied English at Oxford.
The Hurin story takes place in the first age, early in Middle-earth mythology and follows the fate of Húrin and his children Túrin and Nienor after Húrin is cursed by Melkor/Morgoth, the first of the "Dark Lords."
HarperCollins' Victoria Barnsley said, "This epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism stands as one of the finest expressions of JRR Tolkien's skills as a storyteller. With a narrative as dramatic and powerful as anything contained within The Lord Of The Rings, it can now be read and enjoyed as Tolkien originally intended, and will doubtless be a revelation for millions of fans around the world."