So, how real is this?
Real enough that amazon.co.uk is taking preorders.*
Real enough that The Tolkien Society is helping to spread the news.
Real enough that amazon thinks it has 304 pages, making it a fairly substantial volume, about the same size as last year's BEREN AND LUTHIEN.
If there is such a book (as the evidence suggests), then it will probably v. much along the lines of BEREN & LUTHIEN, bringing together into one volume all the existing bits of the various forms of the story: the BLT-era FALL OF GONDOLIN (the only complete version of the story), the wonderful fragment Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin (previously appearing in UNFINISHED TALES), concise but eloquent excepts from the ANNALS, and perhaps a few misc. bits.
Publication of a stand-alone FALL OF GONDOLIN would complete one of Tolkien's unrealized dreams: to publish each of the (three or four) 'Great Tales'*** that underlie the Silmarillion as stand-alone books: the stories of TURIN, BEREN & LUTHIEN, and now THE FALL OF GONDOLIN. All that wd leave is the (unwritten) TALE OF EARENDEL, the first of them all but the only one never to have any completed form (the longest bit being Bilbo's Lay of Earendel sung in Elrond's hall.
That makes the following excerpt from the Amazon produce description perhaps the best of all:
After a minutely observed account of the fall
of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape
of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel,
looking back from a cleft in the mountains
as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage
of their city. They were journeying into a new story,
the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote,
but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.
That is, it sounds as if Christopher has brought together all the fragments of poetry and the quickly jotted outlines about what wd have appeared in Earendel's story--just as he did in the penultimate chapter of THE BOOK OF LOST TALES Volume II--and placed them all together in a section of their own at the end of the work. I'm looking forward to this part of the prospective book even more than the main Gondolin section.
So, we'll see, and soon know one way or the other whether there will be celebrating or sorrow all round come the beginning of September.
--current reading: SUN SPOTS (CoC scenario)
*I got mine in today.
**also at this link is a reasonably informative description of its contents.
***Tolkien was inconsistent whether their were three or four of these; I've tend to include Earendel's story, which raises the total to four.