September 10, 2014

Book Spotlight: Narn i Chîn Húrin (The Tale of The Children)

I know I have been talking about Tolkien a little bit the past few posts, I am attempting to create an awareness of some of his underrated and overlooked works. I won't delve into too many or all of them, expect the next few posts to do that. This go-around, I shall give a little info about what could very well be the last piece of the Middle-earth canon ever released [I hope not, but one should assume so as not to get hopes up. That way, any new entries, aside from special or anniversary editions of existing works, will come as a surprise.] which is The Children of Hurin.

Long before the One Ring was forged in the fires of Mount Doom, one man—Húrin—dared to defy Morgoth, the first and greatest of the dark lords to plague Middle-earth. Thus did he and his children, Túrin and Niënor, earn the enmity of a merciless foe that would shape the destiny of all the ages to come.

Only J.R.R. Tolkien, the undisputed master of the fantastic, could have conceived this magical tale of Elves and Men united against a brutal foe. And only Christopher Tolkien, the master’s son and literary heir, could have fit the pieces of his father’s unfinished work together with such deep understanding and consummate artistry.
With an introduction and appendices by Christopher Tolkien, who has also contributed maps and genealogy tables, The Children of Húrin at last takes its proper place as the very cornerstone of J.R.R. Tolkien’s immortal achievement. 

There are a few editions of this work to choose from (not as many as Tolkien's Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings), any by Harper Collins are pretty good. I am unsure if all of them include artwork by Alan Lee or not (which is beautiful as always and compliment the story well.) Fragments or variations of the story have appeared before in some form in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales (please do not ask me for the difference for my level of Tolkien scholary is not as great as it ma seem), but here it is presented in whole as a standalone narrative tale. One could easily read this without much knowledge of Middle-earth, aside from that of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings
This great tale can easily be called Tolkien's equal to a Greek tragedy, and is recommend to those who like myths, complex and detailed fantasy, and have read The Lord of the Rings and want just a bit more.  

 Here are some ISBNs for some versions:

Paperback: 9780007597338 . This edition is not out yet, some release dates say Dec, others say Feb.

Illustrated (trade) paperback: 9780007252268

Hardback: 9780007246229

Deluxe: 9780007252237

Super Deluxe: 9780007252244

and of course, ebook.

No matter which edition you choose, I hope you give the book a shot, as well as think of it if you have a friend or family member that adores Tolkien, but does yet own this treasure.      

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