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Literary fans, take note. A new Tolkien book cometh this year, 44 years after the author’s death. And the story itself is one of Tolkien’s oldest. At around 100 years in the making it predates both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. All of this makes me feel especially good about my slowness in cranking out new books.

beren-luthien

Alan Lee / Harper Collins.

Beren and Luthien is the great love story of the legendarium. It tells the tale of Beren, a mortal Man, and Luthien, an Elvish princess – one of only three such “mixed” marriages in Middle Earth. They undertake the most daring quest in the long history of that world.

Some of you have read perhaps the short version of the story in the Silmarillion. From that work also came The Children of Hurin, which was released ten years prior to B&L. Christopher Tolkien’s editing and narration skills have increased dramatically since 1977 (and I never shared the contemporary criticism of his work, then). This book will be excellent.

And it would also make for one of the best Tolkien movies imaginable. That is, if Peter “Ruin Everything Possible” Jackson is kept as far away as possible. A movie with something for everyone – date movie, chick flick, fantasy, action. Come to think of it, TCOH, Tolkien’s tragedy, would make a fine movie. No Jackson.

The B&L legend soundly defeats one of the major (unjust) claims of Tolkien detractors – that of a lack of romance. In that regard, the legend was so important to Tolkien that he had “Beren” and “Luthien” inscribed as nicknames on his and his wife’s tombstone. This is a romantic epic of the highest order, riddled through with adventure. Sauron even makes an appearance, in person and in voice.

I highly recommend this work when available. If you must buy just one novel this year, this should be the one. It will probably be mine.

Now, I sincerely hope Christopher is already at work completing the tales of Tuor and Idril.

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