Tolkien Has a New Book Called The Story of Kullervo Coming Out

Tolkien Has a New Book Called The Story of Kullervo Coming Out

memeHow often do we get to experience a hundred year old manuscript release? Never. That’s how often. And what’s better? How often do we get a manuscript from the greatest author of the 20th century? Never never never, that’s how often. Well, apparently, a “new” book from J.R.R. Tolkien is coming out October 27th.

I am currently half way through reading book two of The Lord of the Rings with my three kids. We started with The Hobbit and enjoyed that very much. We have now progressed through book one and now two of TLoTR and I have to say, I’m fairly excited about the opportunity to read yet another book to them. But apparently I am going to have to wait for them to age a bit, seeing as though this one might be quite a bit darker than the Rings trilogy.

It would appear that “The Story of Kullervo” was written by Tolkien as a reimagining of the Finnish saga Kalevala. If you remember Túrin Turambar from the Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin, Kullervo was the original genesis for Túrin. But apparently the story is quite dark. Here’s a bit about the book from the publisher Harper Collins:

kullervo3Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.

Tolkien himself said that The Story of Kullervo was ‘the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own’, and was ‘a major matter in the legends of the First Age’. Tolkien’s Kullervo is the clear ancestor of Túrin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. In addition to it being a powerful story in its own right, The Story of Kullervo – published here for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, The Kalevala – is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien’s invented world.

But I’m thinking that Silmarillion may be a bit out of their reach. Heck. Its a bit out of my reach! So maybe Kullervo would be within their reach? I personally can’t wait for the publication date, October 27th, to arrive!