Available for pre-order now is allegedly one of Tolkien’s darkest stories, which (if any of you are familiar with my books) has me all kinds of excited.
Here’s the official press release we have received:
THE STORY OF KULLERVO
The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who swears revenge on the magician who killed his father.
- • The Story of Kullervo is the first piece of prose fiction that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote
- • This is its first appearance in book form
- • 2015 is the centenary of its creation
- • Illustrated on the cover by one of Tolkien’s own paintings
Kullervo 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.
The book will be released in the UK on the 27th of August 2015 and is scheduled for release in April 2016 in the US.
While I doubt the rights will be released any time soon, this sounds like an edge-of your seat read that would make a fantastic film. With stories like this kicking around in his desk drawers (or wherever the Professor kept them!), one has to wonder what would be his chosen medium if alive and publishing today. Would he be like J.K. Rowling and write not only novels, but for the stage, and the screen as he expanded his magical world? Or do you think he would’ve just stuck to books? Before you go into a lecture about Jackson’s films “ruining everything,” remember that Tolkien willingly sold the rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, knowing full well their stories would be told on the big screen with all kinds of changes to match the cinematic storytelling medium.