After months of feverish anticipation, author J.K. Rowling has completed the fifth book about young wizard Harry Potter, and it will be published in the United States, Canada, Britain and several other countries on June 21, her publishers said Wednesday.
At 768 pages, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is more than one-third longer than its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Britain's Bloomsbury Publishers said.
"We are thrilled to announce the publication date," chief executive Nigel Newton said in a joint statement with Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic Children's Books, Rowling's U.S. publisher.
'"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is absolutely superb and will delight all J.K. Rowling's fans. She has written a brilliant and utterly compelling new adventure," Newton said.
When the book failed to make it into print last year, as expected, there was speculation that Rowling — now one of Britain's richest women — was suffering from writer's block. She denied it, but the book has had a far longer gestation period than its predecessors, published every year from 1997.
Fans will have to wait, because no details of the latest story have been revealed. But the publishers did let slip that the book begins, "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."
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is more than 255,000 words compared to more than 191,000 words in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Released in July 2000, that sold more copies on the first weekend after publication than any other book, according to Bloomsbury Publishers.
Rowling's four published titles have sold an estimated 192 million copies worldwide in hard and soft cover, and the books have been published in at least 55 languages and distributed in more than 200 countries.