'Unfinished Tales of Númenor
' is a posthumous collection of J.R.R. Tolkien
's tales, made by his son, Christopher Tolkien
. The book was first published in November 1st, 1981.
The contents are pretty much explained by the title: it's a series of tales and history concerning Middle-Earth that Tolkien didn't want or didn't have the chance to finish. Christopher makes comments all over the book, explaining the differences between these tales and The Silmarillion
The writtings have several changes and variations, for Tolkien wrote them in different stages of his life. The last writtings show that Tolkien intended to make significant changes on the structure of his tales, some even affecting the tales contained on the Silmarillion.
Covering the three ages, this book highlights the story of Tuor
and his coming to Gondolin
, the story of Galadriel
. It also tells the story of the Istari
, being therefore essential to any Tolkien fan.
It's not an easy read, as it's not a whole story, but rather a collection of related information that creates the History of Middle-Earth. The good part is that you don't have to read it in order, nor even all at once. But one must have read The Silmarillion
for it to make sense, as Christopher refers to it constantly.
On the official Tolkien web site (tolkien.co.uk), the book's description is:
J.R.R.Tolkien's Unfinished Tales is a collection ranging from the time of The Silmarillion – the Elder days of Middle-earth – to the end of the War of the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. Its many treasures include Gandalf's lively account of how he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and a description of the military organisation of the Riders of Rohan.
Lovers of Tolkien's mythology will be fascinated to read the only story from the long ages of Numenor before its downfall, and all that is known of such matters as the Five Wizards, the Palantiri, and the legend of Amroth.
The collection has been edited by Christopher Tolkien, who provides a commentary placing each of the Tales in the context of his father's work.