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The Children Of Hurin [Paperback]

J.R.R. Tolkien
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 11 2008
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, this illustrated paperback of the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves, dragons, Dwarves and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. It is a legendary time long before The Lord of the Rings, and Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, and the war waged by Morgoth against the Elves, the fates of Turin and his sister Nienor will be tragically entwined. Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Hurin, the man who dared to defy him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth, and destroy the children of Hurin. Begun by J.R.R. Tolkien at the end of the First World War, The Children of Hurin became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

What could be more apropos than hiring the face of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings to read Tolkien's newly complete version of these pre-Rings tales? Christopher Lee, the British actor beloved for his role in Peter Jackson's trilogy as well as his numerous turns in Hammer fright films, reads Tolkien's Rings precursor as if still in full makeup. Booming and vaguely menacing, Lee sounds like Sauron around the campfire, entertaining his minions with a tale of adventure and woe. Even Lee cannot sound entirely convincing bellowing some of Tolkien's invented languages, but his reading is suitably ominous. Tolkien's son, Christopher, who edited his father's book, also contributes a preface and introduction he reads himself. His voice—phlegmy and rough—provides a taste of what it might have sounded like had the author himself been available to read his own work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–While much of the material here was published posthumously in books like The Silmarillion (1985) and Unfinished Tales (1988, both Del Rey), Tolkien delivered it in a loosely connected way that made it difficult to read. Edited by his son, this new volume draws from both of these earlier sources to pull together a complete single narrative set in pre-Hobbit Middle Earth. Túrin, son of the human lord Húrin and the elven lady Morwen, becomes a pivotal force in the ongoing battle against evil in an epic adventure full of intrigue and clever battle scenes. The early parts of the story focus on Túrin's young life. As an adult, he is wrongly judged for the death of an elf and banished for the rest of his life. He manages to become the leader of a ragtag band of forest outlaws that cause no end of problems for forces of evil trying to usurp the kingdom. Túrin is charismatic, brave, cocky, and as equally skilled at getting into trouble as he is at getting out of it. Lee's black-and-white drawings and full-color paintings come from the traditions of fantasy illustration and offer dramatic visuals throughout the book. The language and vocabulary, especially in the dialogue, might intimidate casual readers, but ambitious fans of fantasy will find a work that reminds them why we continue to place Tolkien at the zenith of fantasy literature after so many years.–Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up.

But in the case of "The Children of Húrin," the result is a surprisingly solid and lucid story, full of familiar characters from other books about the history of Middle-Earth. Tolkien's timeless, formal prose and richly-imagined world make this novella pop from the pages, especially without his son's stuffier footnotes.

It opens with the story of Huon and Hurin, heroic brothers who lived back in the first age. But when battling the terrible Morgoth (the Middle-Earth Satan), Huor is slain and Hurin is taken prisoner by Morgoth, who torments and curses him. The Easterlings overrun his lands, and in fear for her son and unborn baby, Hurin's wife Morwen sends her son away to be fostered in Doriath.

And so Turin grows up in Doriath, until the day when he feels the need to go out and defend his distant family. His adventures take him through Middle-Earth, encountering great elves, orcs, lives with outlaws, and Mim the petty-dwarf. But his life is cursed by Morgoth -- as is the mysterious girl he falls in love with -- and his downfall will be one of horror and disgrace, even as he slays the most terrible dragon in Middle-Earth, Glaurung.

This book is actually a jigsaw puzzle -- Tolkien worked on the interrelated stories and poetry throughout his lifetime, but he never quite finished a solid cohesive story. So Christopher Tolkien cobbled together these various stories with Tolkien's unfinished works, pasted them together, and the result was "The Children of Húrin."

Surprisingly, the resulting story is very solid and strong, with a darker finale than "Lord of the Rings.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buying for a Friend? May 29 2007
Format:Hardcover
There's no way I can top some of the other reviews posted here, so I'll focus on a different question: "Should I, someone who knows little about Tolkien, buy this book for a friend who's a Tolkien fan?"

The short answer is yes. As Tolkien's major tales go, this one ranks in third place after Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (or second for those who don't like the children's flavor of The Hobbit). Unlike The Silmarillion, this is a genuine story with a narrative and character development. The only deficiency is that, without those hobbits, it lacks the light and comic touch they provide, giving it a grimmer and more fatalistic feel. Unless he reads Tolkien only for the hobbits, your friend will be delighted with your gift.

Perhaps the only other Tolkien work that would top The Children of Hurin in value--and one you ought to consider if your friend doesn't have it already--is The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. It's a collection of Tolkien's letters over a six decade span (from 1914 to 1973), and it provides the definitive background to Middle earth. When I wrote the entry on "Magic in Middle earth" for The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, I used it almost exclusively. It was far better to let Tolkien explain what he meant than to make guesses of my own.

--Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien (a book-length LOTR chronology)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More History Textbook Than Story Nov. 20 2010
By Sparweb
Format:Paperback
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm a rabid fan of Tolkien, having started with The Hobbit in my teen years, and over the years I think I've read and re-read The Lord of The Rings 3 times. My son is finally old enough that I can read The Hobbit to him, and he is now as captivated by Tolkien's storytelling as I was. The Simarillion is more difficult to read because there is no single character or story thread to tie the beginning to the end, except the inscrutable and immortal enemies. Taken as "short stories" however, it can be digested with some academic effort, and it makes subsequent re-readings of LOTR more enjoyable.

It seemed likely that The Children of Hurin would be more like LOTR than The Simarillion, since the struggles of a single family should focus one's attention upon individual characters throughout the book. I find myself disappointed, because instead, The Children of Hurin is a cataloguing of events more like the Simarillion. The struggles and events in the lives of these characters are confronted as events alone, not as their feelings, thoughts, nor even their words. The dialogue in Hurin, what little there is, is stilted and dull. It is full of lofty declarations and the weight of duty; rarely do the characters share friendly or family moments together.

If I may use an example to illustrate my point, take this exchange between Turin and Sador, best friends about 8 years old:

Turin: "...I shall go as a soldier with an Elf-king as soon as I am able, as you did Labadal."

Sador: "You may learn much of them. They are a fair fold and wonderful, and they have a power over the hearts of Men... In their light we are dimmed, or we burn with too quick a flame, and the weight of our doom lies heavier on us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Those who have read the silmarilion will need no introduction to Turin Turambar, and already are big fans of Tolkien's work. But thanks to Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R's son) he made the story of Turin accessible and entertaining even to those who have not read The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarilion. I really like this book cause of the nice thick pages and the integrated fold out map of most of Beliriand, you can read the book and still look at the map without turning to last of first page.(like in the lord of the rings book). This is NOT a 'happy' story, it is very dark,very sombre, a shadow lies on Turin's life and it shows.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book.
This is the first J.R.R. Tolkien's book in English that I'm reading and the quality still is the same, great book, great history. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ivo Pontes
5.0 out of 5 stars Good price
Sometimes its a pain to find books in a book store but Amazon makes it easy to get those ones that you want.
Published 7 months ago by robert hartl
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This book is a must for all tolkien's fans. Fantastic universe, great story and the illustrations by Alan Lee are well done!
Published 15 months ago by Samuel Proulx
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Again we are made privy to additional background
The true scope of time and space is manifest as we grapple
with yet more of the history of Middle Earth
Published 17 months ago by Guy Marc Gagne
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien's Missing Link between the Hobbit Cycle and The Silmarillion...
When the Tolkien Estate announced a new Tolkien novel to be published in April, 2007, the world was shocked. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2012 by Mike London
4.0 out of 5 stars LOTR Fan
This book is a fascinating tale of a most tragic story. The story is told masterfully and easily comes alive with it's rich descriptions. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2011 by AN
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad.
I'd probably give it 3.5 stars. It's a good read. Slow to begin and somewhat boring. As others have said, it gets better. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2010 by Anglobotomy
4.0 out of 5 stars Heroism & tragedy
This book proved hard going at first, but after some perseverance did reveal the Tolkien genius and things began falling into place. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2008 by Pieter Uys
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkness lies behind us, and out of it few tales have come
Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2008 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkness lies behind us, and out of it few tales have come
Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2007 by E. A Solinas
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