Beren And Luthien, one of the central stories from The Silmarillion, is about to be published as a standalone book, giving more recent fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien “cult” a new adventure to get into without the more tricky task of making it through the full original book. Featuring a much earlier incarnation of Sauron, the all-seeing eye of The Lord Of The Rings, along with an epic love story plot, it could be a new hit for the much-loved author.
While dedicated old-school fans of the fantasy fiction classic may well know the story well, this isn’t exactly the same work that featured in The Silmarillion. Instead, it is a newly presented continuous story that has been restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and edited with a light touch by his son, Christopher.
Beren And Luthien has been confirmed for a UK release date of the 4th May 2017. It’ll be available on hardback and ebook, so there may not be any new big budget movies from the series on the way with both The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings all done and dusted, but at least there’s still some Middle-Earth adventure left on the horizon.
Taking us back long before either of Tolkien’s big adventures, it’s set during the dawn of man as Beren returns from battle and arrived in Doriath where he fell in love with the elfin princess, Luthien. However, the King opposes their union, the first between man and elf, and forces Beren to take on an impossible task before he can have his daughter’s hand.
The labour imposed upon him by King Thingol is to steel one of the precious Silmaril stones from the near-deity Melkor, who fell from his angelic past to become the source of evil in Middle Earth for millennia. Beren and Luthien set out together to fulfill the task, but with Melkor’s chief lieutenant Sauron and his army of Orcs ahead of them, before they even get close to a Silmaril, it’s another huge challenge in the world of the legendarium.
The book is published in two parts, with the first section containing the original story as created by J.R.R. Tolkien, while the second half contains a series of passages in both prose and verse from later manuscripts and texts.
Beren And Luthien may well be a bit like treading old ground for the old guard that have already travelled the full length and breadth of The Silmarillion, but for anyway that didn’t make it that far into the Tolkien legendarium it should make for a strong new adventure in Middle Earth. Newcomers to the world of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, thanks to the success of the Peter Jackson films, will also get a chance to see a little of the back story to Sauron through the tale.
It also acts as a reprisal for The Silmarillion, which picked up mixed reviews when it was released after the death of J.R.R. Tolkien, with some finding it disparate and lacking in a clear unifying quest. Beren And Luthien delivers just that and while it isn’t quite as all-consuming as The Hobbit or The Lord Of The Rings, it’s the next best thing. It may not be in the wings of production in Hollywood just yet, but if the hardback book release goes well then maybe, just maybe.