At last, our long international nightmare is over. After three years of waiting, Bloomsbury Publishing finally has a completed manuscript of J.K. Rowling's fifth Harry Potter novel. ''Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,'' which will be published in America by Scholastic Books, will be out June 21. (Note to parents: That's a Saturday, so your kids won't have to miss school to buy the book the moment it hits stores.)
Potter-philes have been waiting for a new installment since ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'' was released in July 2000. The new one will be even longer than that tome, some 38 chapters and 255,000 words, Reuters reports. It also promises to continue in the increasingly dark vein Rowling has mined in the last couple of books.
For those who can't wait until June, Bloomsbury has released the book's opening passage: ''The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive... The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.''
Expect more revelations about the boy wizard's mysterious past and dangerous future. Another teaser from the book: ''Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'''