Just last week we told you details about Amazon’s historic (and expensive) bid for the series rights to The Lord of the Rings saga, and now we have news that we’ll be getting a brand new–err, brand old, I guess–Tolkien book to add to our shelves. As The Guardian reports, a long-unfinished, very early Tolkien story has been edited by his son Christopher Tolkien for publication in 2018. It’s called The Fall of Gondolin and it details one of Middle-earth’s oldest and most important legends. Tolkien once called the fable about the mysterious and beautiful city of Gondolin’s downfall at the hands of dark forces the first “real story” in his Lord of the Rings universe. He wrote it while in hospital recovering from wounds suffered in World War I’s Battle of Somme, in 1916, 102 years ago for people counting. Christopher Tolkien, who is now 93 himself, said last year’s publication of Beren and Luthien would be “(presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” Not so, it would appear!
John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War, said of The Fall of Gondolin: “It’s a quest story with a reluctant hero who turns into a genuine hero – it’s a template for everything Tolkien wrote afterwards.” He also said it featured precursors to some of the author’s greatest villains. “It has a dark lord, our first encounter with orcs and balrogs,” Garth continued. “It’s really Tolkien limbering up for what he would be doing later.”
The story follows one of the Noldor, an ancient race of elves, as he joins the fight against the evil Morgoth to stop the destruction of Gondolin, meeting up with the great sea-god Ulmo along the way. Tolkien said this story, along with Beren and Luthien and The Children of Hurin, was one of the “Great Tales” of the elder days of Middle-earth.
The book is expected to release in August and feature illustrations by the legendary The Hobbitand The Lord of the Rings illustrator Alan Lee.