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Publisher's Summary

There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings. The story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World.

In that remote time, Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Túrin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Húrin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire.

Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Túrin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled.

The earliest versions of this Tolkien story go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed. But long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he revised and greatly enlarged it, enhancing complexities of motive and character. It became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book, Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

©2007 J. R. R. Tolkien Copyright Trust and Christopher Reuel Tolkien; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London, UK

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Powerful and Disturbing

This is a powerful and disturbing novel -- the tragic story of a man crippled by external misfortune and by his own proud and violent temperament. I began this book in paper format when it first came out but soon gave it up. I found the story to be grim and unappealing. I then decided to give Audible a try, and I'm glad I did. Christopher Lee's brilliant narration saved the book for me. He gives full justice to Tolkien's musical prose and The Children of Hurin carried me happily through several weeks of commuting. I have to say that the story is easier to take when split up into 20 minute chunks.

The text that we have was not completed by Tolkien, but was edited by his son from rough drafts and notes. This accounts for a lot. The novel is repetitious. In fact, it feels as if one is hearing the same story several times over. The same themes of heroism, followed by rashness and failure, occur again and again throughout the novel in slightly different episodes. And throughout, Turin, the hero, never seems to learn anything or to be changed by what he experiences. It occurred to me at the end, that perhaps what we have is precisely that: several attempts at the same short story, strung one after the other, rather than a complete novel with a fully realized narrative arc.

I suspect that if Tolkien had managed to finish the work to his liking, it would have been shorter, or more varied. It is one aspect of Tolkien's genius, evident in the Hobbit and the LOTR, that he never tells the same story twice. Every chapter of the Hobbit, for example, is not only a different adventure, but a different kind of adventure. That inventiveness is missing from The Children of Hurin. For this reason, I give the book only 4 stars instead of 5.

Nonetheless, I am glad that I bought this recording. Christopher Lee is first rate and the work is a masterpiece, albeit a flawed and unfinished one.

100 of 100 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Walnut, CA, USA
  • 11-07-07

Great read

Wonderful book for Tolkien fans. Christopher Lee, who played Saruman, does a wonderful job narrating. A Tolkien fanatic in his own right his reading lends an almost palpable weight to the story, helped by how easily he reads Tolkien's imagined languages. Non-Tolkien fans or new readers may find this book difficult to follow at times and would be better served to start with his more well known works.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • 01-07-09

Couldn't Stop Listening!

An excellent rendition of this newly-reconstructed tale. Tolkien fans should take note, however, that this recording does not include Christopher Tolkien's introduction or notes on the text. You'll want to supplement your listening with a print copy for these, as well as the map, geneologies, reference sections, and beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruce
  • Knoxville, MD, United States
  • 12-14-07

Go Christopher(s)!

Having read "Unfinished Tales," I was familiar with this story already. Christopher Tolkien does a wonderful job with fleshing it out into a full novel. Christopher Lee reads it like only Christopher Lee can do. The only think I would have like better then having him read this story is if Christopher Tolkien had read it himself. I was very happy and now I'll actually have to buy the book while it is still in first edition. Go Christopher(s.)

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Chelsea
  • LONG BEACH, CA, United States
  • 01-21-11

Christopher Lee makes it!

Christopher Lee's narration really makes this book accessible and enjoyable. His pronunciation of the difficult Elvish words is accurate and spry in a way. I love his different voices for the different characters, especially Morwen. His interpretation of her really adds to the listener's imagining of the character.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sue
  • Richardson, Australia
  • 03-13-08

Persistance Pays Off

This book requires the listener to be patient and skim over the alien sounding names. Eventually you gain an understanding of the characters and the story line. I have to admit it was a lot easier to listen to than to actually read as pronunciation was handled by the reader. Christopher Lee did a stirling job and presented a wonderful story in a appropriate and entertaining tone.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

at last!

someone got a clue! fabulous, perfect narrator, now please: the silmarillion, the ring "trilogy" and the whole tolkein corpus, unabridged and with narration of this quality, should mr. lee prove unavailable for the enirety of such a mammoth project. how can no one have done this yet?!

30 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • haesel
  • Maryville, TN, United States
  • 02-02-08

Epic Story

I have read many of the reviews and it seems that you will not like this book if a happy ending is essential to you. For me, happy endings are nice, but I dont need them to enjoy the story. I agree that you will enjoy this book more if you have read the Silmarillion-- oh darn, another great book to read... Personally, I prefer these tragic epics to the Ring & Hobbit series -- they are dense and complex and the characters stay with you -- these stories are facinating. The narration is a bit mello dramatic and the music is terrible, but it didnt bother me too much. This is a great winter book to read by the fire.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Alyssa
  • Milwaukee, WI, USA
  • 06-28-08

Extraordinary Tale as only Tolkein can contrive

If you want the true experience of Tolkein's genius, you need to read the Silmarillion, not the Lord of the Rings. This is an expansion of one of the tales from the Silmarillion, which deals with the great tragedies of Middle Earth eons before LOTR, and the epic battles between the stranded races of Humans, Elves and Dwarves with Morgoth/Lucifer. If you love true literature, not just modern trash, then this will bring great joy. Those who found this book difficult, need to read the Silmarillion, as you cannot possibly understand what is happening in the "Children of Hurin" without it. Highly Recommended.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Euryleia
  • Buena Park, CA United States
  • 07-17-08

Difficult to Follow

I really like Christopher Lee's voice and his pronunciation of the taxing Tolkien names and language is excellent. That said, as a purely audio version, this book is really hard to follow. It was much easier for me to actually read than to listen to (much like the Silmarilion, which I loved when I read and couldn't follow in an audio format) although it works remarkably well as a read-along!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • William
  • 01-24-13

An Epic and Griping Tale

An excellent tale read by Christopher Lee who's voice brings it to life. I'd recommend reading/listening The Silmarillion first so that you can truly understand and respect the gravity of the events that happen in this book. Part of this tale is told there but not nearly all of it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Buyer
  • 08-12-12

A truly epic, tragic saga

I have just finished listening to the audiobook version of "The Children of Hurin" by J.R.R. Tolkien- told in elegant and bold prose, at times bordering on poetry akin to the style of Old Norse Sagas.

Read by Christopher Lee (who played Saruman the White Wizard in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy)- a powerful voice equal to the telling and with much of the nobility and bearing which flow from Tolkien's words- the story is conjured in to life and absorbs you into the legendarium. His pronounciation is rich, his tones varied and evocative delivering a powerful narrative experience.

Those with an ear for a good tale, whatever the ending or the style will cherish this story and those whos imaginations have been piqued by Tolkien's writing in the past shall not be disappointed. I was enthralled by this book and I heartily recommend it!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Yan
  • 12-23-12

Fantastic insight into the past of Middle Earth.

The Children of Hurin is, like most of Tolkien's books, set in the same Universe as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is however set in much earlier age, long before Wizards and Hobbits appear on the scene.

It picks up the story about mid-way through the Samarillion and follows in much greater detail the history of men and elves and follows particularly the family of Hurin, a king of men and their continuous striving against Morgoth.

Christopher Lee has a fantastic voice and really brings the characters alive in this gripping epic tale of misfortune and determination to not be beaten by an overwhelming evil.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Pablo
  • 02-15-15

it's ok but too narrative

I enjoyed it at times but too many descriptions and not enough dialogue for my taste

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Timothy
  • 03-13-09

The Children of Hurin - not easy listening.

This is not a pick up and leave type of book and I don?t mean it?s a ?can?t put down? type of story; I mean it takes a lot of concentration to get into the story and once you are into it you can lose the thread very easily, there are so many names that it really does become hard to follow. I thought it would be a real treat to listen to Christopher Lee telling a new Tolkien tale, but unfortunately it did not meet with my expectations - Christopher Lee has a unique diction that regrettably seems to get in the way of the story telling. A great deal of effort is given over the pronunciation of the names and places, but he never seems to get comfortable with them. I have been a huge fan of Tolkien for almost as long as I have been able to read, but I would not recommend this to anyone new to Tolkien or to Audible books.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Lynda
  • 11-11-07

Such a sad tale

This is a well written tale and the narrator does a very good job. Tolkien fans will find enjoyment in the expansion of the world. But it is just so sad and to be honest somewhat predictably so, that it took away some of the pleasure for me. I guess I like to see the good guys win and live happily ever after.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Sian
  • 08-16-15

One of Tolkein's finest but a little slow to listen to.

I read this book a couple of years ago and thought it was genuinely one of Tolkein's best so I wanted to 'read' it again via audiobook. However, I felt Christopher Lee's narration was very slow and a bit awkward. I know how much of a fan Lee was of Tolkein's work but some parts of the book needed more pace and punch than he could offer. Still worth getting the audio book, but slightly disappointed.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 12-12-16

Hard time listening!

As much as I love Christopher Lee, he is very difficult to listen to when he reads a story; He has a very low, one tone voice when he is reading. This makes it very difficult to follow and decipher if he's reading the dialogue or character script. Couldn't really grasp the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Huw
  • 06-18-15

Brilliantly voiced and written

Narration was perfect, story was well written and extremely enjoyable to listen to. I happy to to listen to again and will have to get more books by J.R.R Tolkin

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Edward Gauntt
  • 03-30-15

Chris Lee is a legend - but cringeworthy at times

Would you try another book written by J. R. R. Tolkien or narrated by Christopher Lee?

Naturally, he inspired generations and intricately wrought a universe so tantalisingly close enough to ours to be the escape for millions with intricate characters and sword craft, wizardry, elves and of course the little people.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Children of Hurin?

Chris Lee voicing a vulnerable young girl. Cringeworthy. Story wise however it is the fateful memory regain of one of the doomed towards the end.

What three words best describe Christopher Lee’s performance?

Bone rattling, cringeworthy, over acted.

Could you see The Children of Hurin being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Please don't.

Any additional comments?

The story is not Tolkiens finest. With occasional hiccups in the continuity and without a map it is at times rather difficult to follow. Seriously drags on a bit in the beginning as well. It is very strange that he paints a Sauronesque all powerful evil force who then goes twenty years without apparently doing anything.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • T. Whitham
  • 04-16-15


Perfectly read, great story, if you love lord of the rings or the hobbit, it's a must have for any fan

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Connor
  • 08-07-17

A valuable experience

Fantastic insight to the LOTR mythology after being in love with the films for so long, and just reading the trilogy and craving more. Sir Christopher Lee is such a treasure, and I am grateful to have had such a storied human read such a storied tale from J.R.R Tolkien about this world I continue to love. The tragedy that is this story is very impactful and resonated more than any book I have read so far. Thank you to all who worked on this project.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-30-17

Boring narrator

couldn't finish this book. Christopher Lee as a narrator is extremely boring to listen to

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  • dave
  • 04-24-17

Narn I hin Húrin

Brilliant story. Christopher Lee: a better reader and lay teller of Tolkien I have not heard. Tragic that this is the only Tolkien he performed. Probably the best performance of an audio book ever

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-08-17

A Great Tale Indeed

Who better to read aloud this "longest of the lays of Beleriand" than Sir Christopher Lee. Wonderful, awful, totally addictive.

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  • Matthew
  • 02-26-17

Pretty decent

It was pretty good if you like this sort of stuff. although I had to do some Google searching to get my head around the different characters and places.

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  • Melistopher
  • 05-29-16

More epic lore from Middle Earth

As a fan of Tolkien's Middle Earth Lore, I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of the longest 'Lay of Beleriand' by none other than Sauruman (Christopher Lee) from the 'Lord of the Rings' movie trilogy!

Christopher's narration is evocative of a lore master teaching classical history, although others could potentially find it monotonous & joyless

The use of a short musical melody to separate chapters adds an appropriate grand ambience fitting of this epic piece of Middle Earth lore.

I recommend this audiobook to Middle Earth fans who enjoyed reading the appendices of the 'Lord of the Rings' or 'the Silmarillion'.

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  • Richard Try
  • 05-11-15


No matter how bad life gets, it will never be as bad as Turin! Brilliant stuff!