Legendary author JRR Tolkien (1916-1973) charged his third son, Christopher Tolkien, with the job of serving as his literary executor after his death. Christopher's first job was to organize the huge volume of papers that JRR Tolkien generated during his lifetime. This lead to Christopher publishing "The Silmarillion" in 1977, which condenses the creation and mythology of Middle-earth, elves, men, dwarves and other creatures. Christopher went on to publish "Unfinished Tales" (1980), and the 12-volume "The History of Middle-earth" (1983-1996).
Christopher might be a more prolific author than many who create their own stories. According to The Tokien Estate website
, JRR Tolkien ranked the completion of three of his stories higher than any other: "Beren & Lúthien," "The Fall of Gondolin," and "The Children of Húrin."
According to the website, Christopher "succeeded in assembling the multiple variants, unfinished pieces, and outlines of the tale to produce a standalone and complete version, entirely in the author's original words. The work therefore is accessible both as a new and complete version of the text for the Tolkien scholar, and as an entirely new tale from Middle-earth for the Tolkien reader who is not overly familiar with the great tales and mythology that are the roots of The Lord of the Rings."
"The Children of Húrin" takes place long before "The Lord of the Rings" and is set in an area of Middle-earth that was to be drowned thousands of years before the story of the One Ring. At this time, Sauron was only a lieutenant of Morgoth, the fallen Vala. The story focuses on a man, Húrin, who dared to defy Morgoth. It tells the story of Húrin and his family's tragic destiny by following his son Túrin Turambar's adventures in Beleriand. Renowned artist Alan Lee created the book's illustrations, and readers will appreciate the map of Beleriand, drawn by Christopher, himself.
It's as though JRR Tolkien has returned to us. We now have this wonderful book to enjoy with our children and to remind us of Tolkien tales we may have read as children ourselves. The book is available at most bookstores and online. We've got ours and can't wait to begin reading it! If you've read it, let us know what you think.