In Brief

New JRR Tolkien book due out next year: What's it all about?

Middle-earth love story Beren and Luthien to be published a century after it was written

Fans of The Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien are to be treated to a new story from the fantasy author – 100 years after it was written.

Beren and Luthien, a tale of love between a mortal man and an immortal elf, will be released by HarperCollins in May.

It is set during the First Age of Middle-earth, about 6,500 years before the events of Frodo and the elves in the Lord of the Rings, and was previously available as part of The History of Middle-earth, a 12-volume series that included unpublished papers relating to Tolkien's novels.

The characters, Beren and Luthien, had "great personal significance" for the author, says the Daily Telegraph.

Their names appear on the headstone of the grave Tolkien shares with his wife, Edith, and he apparently once told his son: "I never called Edith 'Luthien', but she was the source of the story."

The narrative was first written in 1917 and then retold in several forms, including as the epic poem The Lay of Luthien.

Aragorn the Ranger also narrates a version to the hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring, while another can be found in the first chapter of Tolkien's The Silmarillion.

Beren and Luthien is among several works that were "rediscovered" after Tolkien died in 1973. Last year, grisly revenge tale The Story of Kullervo was published as a stand-alone novel.

HarperCollins will also publish a new edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, a poem inspired by medieval Celtic and Breton myths and legends, in November.

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