Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Children of Hurin - De Luxe Edition - 2007



This De Luxe edition of The Children of Hurin was published in 2007 by HarperCollins as part of the latest De Luxe range.Christopher Tolkien begins the book with a specially written introduction, and there is also an appendi of the history and writing of the book. It also contains a brand new red and black map of Beleriand which folds out at the back, although don't get your hopes up - it's just two (small) pages in size, and nothing compared to the sort of quality of previous work.

'The Children of Hurin' is a most paradoxical book, and one could quite convincingly argue that it shouldn't have been a commercial or even critical success: around 80% of the content had already been published in the History of Middle Earth series (precluding many of the hardcore Tolkien fans who had already read it there). On top of that, it dealt with a pre Lord of the Rings age, and I am surely not the only one who was somewhat deterred by this fact. Yes, the only other pre-LOTR book I had read was The Silmarillion, and whilst I grew to love it by the end, that certainly wasn't a walk in the park! I remember well a colleague who had bought a misprint of the book which repeated pages 1-100. Such was the complexity of the text that my friend didn't even notice this! He read the same hundred pages of writing twice over and didn't notice! Despite all this, The Children of Hurin is a wonderful, easy to read novel, and also a huge publishing success, with over a million copies in print in only the first two weeks of its release.

Inside the book itself are twenty five pencil sketches and eight colour paintings by Alan Lee. This is a step up from the Deluxe Sigurd and Gudrun (and Lord of the Rings) in the same range which have no such range of colour illustrations.

With 10,000 copies in print, this edition isn't rare at all, but the plus side of that is that it can be picked up at a very decent price due to market saturation. Proving that there is still a chance to grab a bargain on Ebay these days, I managed to pick this up (brand new and sealed) for £12.50 including delivery - a staggering fact when you consider that the RRP is £60. I'd like to think my bidding strategy is what won it for me (for those who haven't read it, see here: http://collectingtolkien.blogspot.com/2010/10/silmarillion-folio-edition-1997.html )

Probably because I have been spoilt with some of my more expensive editions, I can't help but feel this edition isn't particularly 'delue'. The blue slipcase and boards don't help, as they just look so much like carboard (and are clearly very easy to bump). The gilt helm is a nicer touch, but it's so small on the front of the case that it again doesn't exactly ooze luxury. Really, this is little more than a nice hardback edition, and I would have been disappointed if I had paid anywhere near £60 for it.

All in all a solid, sturdy edition which will make a good reading copy.



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