Just got my first edition print of Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien. Well, it’s a first edition for Kindle – my first Tolkien on an electronic format. It seems the pitiful
toy and coffee bookstore I went to, their whole chain, and the publisher are out of hardcover prints already (released June 1st). How many decades of Tolkien bestseller experience does Houghton have??? Anyway, I could have consulted Amazon and express shipped one (if available) but I wanted it immediately – thus, Kindle:
Houghton Mifflin / Tolkien Estate / Christopher Tolkien / Alan Lee.
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.
It seems, from the Preface, that Christopher is hanging it up with this book. He points out he is 93. Perhaps the third and/or fourth generations will attack the other legends.
For now I’m looking forward to the release of a deluxe, boxed, collector’s edition to go with my collection. You can and should obtain yours: here and now:
Please excuse me; wheels up for Beleriand.
*Review to follow, here and at Amazon, in time …