Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy may have concluded last year, but it seems we aren’t quite out of Tolkien work.
The Story of Kullervo, coming this fall from HarperCollins, is actually believed to be one of Tolkien’s first prose works. Based on a Finnish legend known as the Kalevala, The Story of Kullervo is a fantasy story about a man who is sold into slavery by a dark magician, unknowingly seduces his sister, and eventually commits suicide. It is not set in Middle-earth, though Tolkien once acknowledged its influence on those later, famous works.
“I was immensely attracted by something in the air of the Kalevala,” Tolkien wrote in a 1955 letter to the poet and critic W.H. Auden. “But the beginning of the legendarium … was in an attempt to reorganise some of the Kalevala, especially the tale of Kullervo the hapless, into a form of my own.”
As The Guardian points out, Kullervo’s story also has parallels with Turin Tundabar in The Silmarillion. Like an early draft, Tolkien never actually finished Kullervo. Half of the story will be prose, and the second half the author’s outline.
The Story of Kullervo is out Aug. 27 in the U.K. and Oct. 27 in the U.S.
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