New JRR Tolkien 'Lord of the Rings' Novel 'The Fall of Gondolin' to Be Published in 2018

Another entry in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings bibliography is on the way.

The Fall of Gondolin will tell the story of a mysterious city that fell to the forces of darkness in what Tolkien had described as “the first real story of Middle-earth." The book will be released in August.

The Fall of Gondolin follows the release of Beren and Luthien in May 2017. The book is edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee, the same artist who illustrated The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

The Fall of Gondolin

The announcement came as a surprise to scholars of Tolkien’s work since 93-year-old Christopher Tolkien wrote in the preface to Beren and Luthien that the book was “(presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.”

“That preface had a certain valedictory quality to it – he was reminiscing about his first encounter with his father’s work,” John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War, told The Guardian. “But here it is.”

Garth says Tolkien wrote The Fall of Gondolin while he was in a hospital following the Battle of Somme.

“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 said. “It has a dark lord, our first encounter with orcs and balrogs – it’s really Tolkien limbering up for what he would be doing later.”

According to publisher HarperCollins, the conflict in The Fall of Gondolin sets the “uttermost evil” Morgoth against the sea-god Ulmo. The conflict revolves around the hidden city of Gondolin where a group Noldor, a race that is kindred of the Elves, resides. Morgoth seeks to find and destroy the city while Ulmo tries to keep the Noldor hidden and protected.

The main character is a Noldor named Tuor who goes searching for Gondolin. On his journey, Tuor will experience what HarperCollins describes as “one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth” when Ulmo himself emerges from the ocean during a storm.

Once he reaches Gondolin, Tuor gains great stature and has a son, Eärendil, an important figure in the history of Middle-earth. Eärendil is the father of Elrond, the future lord of Rivendell, and Elros, the progenitor of the line of Numenor whose descendants include Aragorn, the future king of Gondor.

Morgoth ultimately finds and attacks Gondolin with an army of orcs, balrogs, and dragons, but Tuor and his family manage to escape, “looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city”.

“They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources,” HarperCollins said.

Garth notes that The Fall of Gondolin is Tolkien's biggest battle outside of the events of The Lord of the Rings. The Fall of Gondolin completes a trilogy of “great tales” from the Elder Days of Middle-earth, along with Beren and Luthien and The Children of Hurin.

This news comes as Amazon is preparing to put a new Lord of the Rings prequel television series into production. The series is expected to be the most expensive television production of all time.

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