Release date set for Potter novel; Sixth book on wizard out in July.
THE sixth Harry Potter book will hit the shops on July 16 next year, it was announced yesterday.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince will be published simultaneously in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The latest adventure from author JK Rowling is sure to spark a frenzy among Potter fans which her publishers promised it will be the best yet.
``JK Rowling has written a brilliant story that will dazzle her fans in a marvellous book that takes the series to yet greater heights.
``Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince delivers all the excitement and wonder of her best-selling Harry Potter novels, '' said a joint statement from Rowling's UK publisher Bloomsbury and US publisher Scholastic.
The release date was due to be announced on Christmas Day but Rowling brought it forward.
``I know you all expected this to happen on Christmas Day, '' she said on her website.
``But I was sure that those of you who celebrate Christmas have better things to do on the day itself than fight your way into my study, whereas those of you who don't celebrate Christmas would definitely prefer not to wait until the 25th. ''
The novel takes up the story of Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, when the young hero finds himself pitted against his evil nemesis Lord Voldemort.
Rowling has refused to reveal who the Half-Blood Prince of the title is, although she has said it is neither Harry nor Voldemort.
One of her characters will be killed off in the new book but the author is remaining tight lipped about who it might be.
Fans can be reassured that the schoolboy wizard himself is safe - earlier this year Rowling said Harry will definitely survive to the seventh and final book.
The last book, The Order Of The Phoenix, was released in June 2003 and became the fastest-seller in history, shifting 1. 7 million copies.
Rowling back in July