In October, J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate and HarperCollins will release a new illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its initial publication.
According to the estate, the book has never been illustrated before, and this edition will come with artwork from Alan Lee, John Howe, and Ted Nasmith. Some of that artwork will be on display in the upcoming 2021 Tolkien Calendar, which will be released in September.
Originally published in 1980, the book is a collection of unfinished stories and essays by Tolkien, which his son Christopher (who died earlier this year), collected into a single volume. The stories in the book cover a wide range of characters and events that occurred throughout the history of Middle-earth, such as the story of Númenor, the story of Gondolin and the Children of Húrin, as well as others that supplement Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The stories come with additional commentary that helps provide context for their publication and place in the world.
This new edition might be of particular interest to readers anticipating Amazon’s upcoming television series, which is thought to be set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, and primarily about the downfall of Númenor — the world’s version of Atlantis — which is one of the chapters in this book.
In recent years, Christopher Tolkien fleshed out some of these stories, such as the Fall of Gondolin and Children of Húrin and published them as standalone works. This new edition looks as though it’s designed to sit alongside those books: handsome hardcover editions with original illustrations.
The book is slated for release on October 1st.