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Tolkien fans, rejoice! Coming November2022, The Fall of Númenor will bring together for the first time all of the author’s work on the legendary Second Age in a single volume.

Though events from  the Second Age can be glimpsed in the author’s magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings, the only other references to date have been found in the 12-volume History of Middle-earth: an exhaustive collection and analysis of Tolkien’s unpublished writings dating back to 1914.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Illustrated by Alan Lee. HarperCollins 1991. Originally published 1954-55. Photo: Gwydion M. Williams

Fans of The Lord of the Rings and the films based on the book will already be familiar with events such as the Forging of the Rings of Power and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men; events which culminated in the defeat of Sauron and the destruction of the One Ring. Few will know of how the island-kingdom of Númenor was raised from the sea as a gift to the Fathers of Men, or how the 25th monarch of Númenor sailed to Middle-earth to challenge Sauron, only to be seduced into human sacrifice in exchange for eternal life.

The official press release from HarperCollins promises original paintings from artist Alan Lee, whose previous works can be found in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit:

HarperCollins is proud to announce the publication in November 2022 of THE FALL OF NÚMENOR by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by writer and Tolkien expert, Brian Sibley, and illustrated by acclaimed artist, Alan Lee. The book will be published globally by HarperCollins Publishers and in other languages by numerous Tolkien publishers worldwide.

Presenting for the first time in one volume the events of the Second Age as written by J.R.R. Tolkien and originally and masterfully edited for publication by Christopher Tolkien, this new volume will include pencil drawings and colour paintings by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and went on to win an Academy Award for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a ‘dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told’. And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices.

Now, using ‘The Tale of Years’ in The Lord of the Rings as a starting point, Brian Sibley has assembled from the various published texts in a way that tells for the very first time in one volume the tale of the Second Age of Middle-earth, whose events would ultimately lead to the Third Age, and the War of the Ring, as told in The Lord of the Rings.

Pre-orders for the book can be placed now.

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