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The Children of Hurin Paperback – Bargain Price, October 14, 2008

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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 14, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Lee reads Tolkien’s saga in deep, somber British-laced tones, perfectly matching the mood of this tale set more than 6,500 years before The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien composed the epic in 1919, yet it remained fragmented and incomplete until Tolkien’s son (who reads the preface and introduction) edited it and “constructed a coherent and epic narrative.” Lee, whose voice is familiar to movie fans (he played Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy), is a commanding presence in his reading of the enthralling, tragic story. Turin, separated from his mother, grows to be a great warrior, but he is constantly haunted by a curse that brings death and destruction to those he encounters. Lee’s sonorous, doom-laden descriptions emphasize the narrative. Although not as adept at distinguishing female characters, Lee’s male voices are excellent and moderately distinct from one another. The ending is no surprise, yet the reader adds great drama and emotion to climactic scenes involving Turin, his sister, and the dragon Glaurung. A foldout map and a pamphlet featuring colorful illustrations are tucked inside the CD package, adding to listeners’ enjoyment, as does the atmospheric music signaling chapter beginnings and endings. Lee’s first-rate narration helps make this complex tale accessible to a wide audience. An essential purchase to round out Tolkien audio collections. --Jessica Moyer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547086059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547086057
  • ASIN: B0026IBZDK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (576 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,660 of 1,689 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on April 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
To address the questions that most people have:

* This is an easier read than The Silmarillion.
* It is a greatly expanded version of Chapter XXI of The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar", BUT...
* Reading The Silmarillion is not necessary.
* It is told in a narrative voice.
* The narrative voice is archaic.
* The so-called archaic voice falls somewhere in between The Silmarillion and LOTR in style.
* Húrin is a great hero amongst men.
* His son, Túrin, is whom this story is chiefly about. His daughter Nienor makes a late, but significant, appearance. Significant enough for this book to be called The Children of Húrin.
* You will recognize a few names from LOTR, but don't look for furry-footed Hobbits. A Balrog makes a brief appearance, as does a dragon.
* Unlike some posthumous publications of Tolkien's, there is only one footnote in the entire narrative, and it doesn't interrupt the flow of the story. It's inclusion wasn't necessary, but the information was nice to know.
* There is an Index of Names at the back of the book to help the reader keep track of who is who.
* As always, a well detailed map is included.
* Read the Introduction. Christopher Tolkien does a wonderful job preparing the reader who hasn't read The Silmarillion for what is to follow.

I can't emphasize the last point enough. One reviewer noted that you wouldn't know who Melkor was, and that this was detrimental to the reading of The Children of Húrin. Not so! Melkor (known later to Elves and Men as Morgoth, which translates to "Dark Foe" in Sindarin) is discussed in the Introduction.
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384 of 391 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on April 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When the Tolkien Estate announced a new Tolkien novel to be published in April, 2007, the world was shocked. After all, Tolkien died 34 years before THE CHLDREN OF HURIN was published. Reactions varied from trepidation and fear, to charges that the Estate is trying to milk the pubic for more money, to sheer excitement that, beyond all odds, we're getting another Tolkien story. We all know Hollywood is eying it greedily, though the Estate has made it quite clear that it is not interested in selling the film rights any time soon.

Naturally, an event such as a publication of a new novel by a long deceased major author is bound to excite different reactions from different quarters. Depending on where you stand in Tolkien fandom will largely define your reactions to the story.

First, just a few quick facts about the novel.

*CoH can be read independently of Tolkien's other works, due largely in part to C. Tolkien's excellent introduction, explaining the background and context in which these events occur in Tolkien's imagined cosmos. Having an overall general knowledge of Tolkien's legendarium is certainly helpful, but fortunately it is not a pre-requisite as the story is strong enough to stand independently.
*CoH is much darker than the Hobbit cycle. It is a very tragic story on a Shakespearian level, and altogether not suitable for children, featuring incest and murder as prominent plot features.
*The plot revolves around the Dark Lord Morgoth's curse on Turin and Nienor, who are the Children of Hurin, for Hurin's defiance against Morgoth. Morgoth is Tolkien's equivalent of Satan, and who Sauron is but a servant too.
*CoH is easier to read than THE SILMARILLION, though CoH still employs in places the archaic style found in that book.
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568 of 592 people found the following review helpful By Roger FitzAlan on April 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Taking place in the distant past of the Middle Earth most people know from the "Lord of the Rings," the "Children of Hurin" is a poignantly beautiful gem from JRR Tolkien's literary world. Before great cataclysms that altered the very substance of Middle Earth, the High Elves were allied with three great Houses of Men in a proud and hopeless struggle against the original Dark Enemy. "The Children of Hurin" begins with the most disastrous defeat of Elves and Men in that war, and how Turin, son of the greatest warrior in the history of Men, tries to take up his father's responsibility and reverse the damage.
One of JRR Tolkien's greatest achievements was the world of Middle Earth itself, which contained endless layers of history and backstory that informed the origin and actions of its characters. What can be easy to miss in reading LOTR is that Middle Earth is a desolate shadow of what it used to be, before time and the mistakes of foolish pride wore down the greatness of Elves and Men to almost nothing. This book takes place in a part of Middle Earth that was later destroyed, to be remembered only in the sad songs and anecdotes that pop up here and there in the background of LOTR. This and the book's maps may initially confuse fans of LOTR, but the journey into unfamiliar territory is more than worth it: "The Children of Hurin" is great all by itself, but will do a lot to help you understand the world of LOTR in general. Fans who have trouble with the drier, historical tone of the "Silmarillion" might be better served with this fleshed-out piece of its story. If you have ever wondered why the Elves are such a small, sad, and reclusive bunch in LOTR, you'll see a bit of the answer here, and did you know the great Sauron was once just a servant of the true and original Dark Enemy?
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