Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

When I decided to do an A-Z of Fantasy Authors to help get this blog started, I didn’t think of all the letters I would struggle with, it would be D.  Out of all the books I’ve read, I can only think of Stephan Donaldson as an author I’ve read whose surname starts with D and I haven’t even read all the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.  I’m actually rather surprised I managed to get through the first two Chronicles and if you’re waiting for me to read the third…. well good luck with that and don’t hold your breath.  There are Three Chronicles and each one is made up of three books.

Summary

  2/5 start rating

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever

 

Thomas Covenant, an embittered and cynical writer, afflicted with leprosy and shunned by society, is fated to become the heroic savior of The Land, an alternate world. In the novels, he struggles against the satanic Lord Foul, “The Despiser”, who intends to escape the bondage of the physical universe and wreak revenge upon his arch-enemy, “The Creator”

Comprising of the first three books.

  1. Lord Foul’s Bane  –He called himself Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in the strange alternative world on which he suddenly found himself – the Land.But the Land tempted him. As a leper, in his own world he had been an outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a saviour, the reincarnation of the Land’s greatest hero – Berek Halfhand. Only the mystic powers of the white gold he carried could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despiser, Lord Foul.Yet Thomas Covenant had no idea how those powers could be tapped . . .
  2. The Illearth War  –Thomas Covenant found himself once again summoned to the Land. The Council of Lords needed him to move against Foul the Despiser who held the Illearth Stone, ancient source of evil power.But although Thomas Covenant held the legendary white gold ring, he didn’t know how to use its strength, and risked losing everything . . .
  3. The Power that Preserves  Twice before Thomas Covenant had been summoned to the strange other-world where magic worked. Twice he had been forced to join with the Lords of Revelstone in their war against Lord Foul, the ancient enemy of the Land.
    Now he is back – to a Land ravaged by the armies of Lord Foul. The Lords are besieged and helpless. No place is safe and Foul’s victory seems certain. Only Covenant can avert it.
    Desperate and without hope, he sets out to confront the might of the Enemy. With him go a Giant, a Bloodguard and the madwoman he has wronged. And in Foul’s Creche, Lord Foul grows in power with each new defeat for the Land . . .

 

 

The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

  2/5 start rating

The saga of Thomas Covenant continues in Stephen Donaldson’s highly acclaimed second epic fantasy trilogy.

Also comprising of three books

  1. Wounded Land  -For ten years, Thomas Covenant has set the conflicts of the Land behind him. But thousands of years have passed in the Land and the creeping evil of Lord Foul has grown so strong that its influence is felt even in our own world.Accompanied by doctor Linden Avery, Covenant returns. Together, they find themselves in a deadly struggle to control not only the spread of Foul’s corruption but also the devastating power of Covenant’s own magic.
  2. One Tree  -Knowing that the fabled One Tree may hold the only means of breaking Lord Foul’s power, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery embark on a perilous voyage to discover its location.On their journey, Covenant and Avery will explore new realms and meet new peoples. Even far from the Land, however, the grip of evil is strong and there are many who would see them fail. Soon, Covenant and Avery’s quest becomes a desperate fight for survival.
  3. White Gold Wielder  – Swept far to the north, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery must embark on another dangerous journey, never knowing whether the magic they bear will be enough to reverse the corruption wrought by Lord Foul.Together, they are drawn back to the Land – to the fulfilment of prophecies, to war and loss, and to a stunning final confrontation that will unleash powers far greater than any this world has witnessed before.-

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

I haven’t read any of these, nor am I likely to so they don’t get a star rating. I am a bit conflicted about this as I feel I should read them just to make to review complete.  I don’t really want to though, but I’ve added them in any case.

1.  The Runes of the Earth

Thomas Covenant is mysteriously struck down by a disease believed eradicated; abandoned by his wife and young son, he becomes a pariah. Alone, despairing, Covenant falls – and is drawn into a mysterious new world where gentle people work magic and the earth itself brings healing. He is welcomed as the reincarnation of a legendary saviour, but Covenant is convinced he’s having delusions. At the end of the sixth book, as Covenant battles to save the world, he is killed – in both worlds – as Dr Linden Avery, his horrified companion, looks on.

Now comes the book every fantasy reader has been waiting for. It’s ten years later and Linden Avery thought she would never see the Land, or Covenant, her beloved, again. But Lord Foul has stolen her adopted son, and is unmaking the very laws of nature.

And though she believes Covenant dead, he keeps sending Linden messages: ‘Find me’, ‘You’re the only one who can do this’ and ‘Remember that I’m dead’. The Land is in turmoil, and Lord Foul has plans for them all …

 

2. Fatal Revenant

Linden Avery watches from a balcony while Thomas Covenant and her adopted son, Jeremiah, ride desperately toward Revelstone. But their reunion has vast consequences which she could not have foreseen. Soon she is betrayed by the people whom she most needs to trust. Transported deep into the Land’s past, she is forced to confront mysterious strangers, legendary heroes, and ancient evils, and to stand alone against the malevolence of the Despiser’s minions.

Abandoned in Garroting Deep, the most bloodthirsty of the Land’s long-dead forests, she reaches a fearsome decision: she determines to reshape reality in an attempt to end the Despiser’s evil and her son’s suffering. However, her purpose requires her to find Loric’s krill, a weapon abandoned among the Hills of Andelain millennia ago. And she needs the aid of friends and allies who will turn against her if she reveals her intent. Attacked by enemies old and new, and harried by strange beings with ambiguous agendas, she strives toward Andelain. But the ravenous skurj are rising, and all of her actions appear to serve her worst foes.

 

3. Against All Things Ending

Desperate for help to find her adopted son, Jeremiah, Linden Avery has resurrected Thomas Covenant in a cataclysmic exertion of Earthpower and wild magic. But the consequences of her efforts are more terrible than she could have imagined.

Sorcery on that scale has awakened the Worm of the World’s End: the ultimate end of all Time, and therefore of all life, has been set in motion. And on a more personal level, the results are no less extreme. The stress of reincarnation so many centuries after his death has fractured Covenant’s mind. He cannot tell Linden where to find her son. And his leprosy has renewed its grip on him, inexorably killing his nerves. The Ranyhyn had tried to warn her.

Now, plunged to depths of desperation and despair for which she is entirely unprepared, Linden seeks radical responses to the dilemmas she has created. Searching for Jeremiah, and accompanied only by a few friends and allies – some of them unwilling – she takes chances that threaten her sanity, forcing her to confront the Land’s most fearsome secrets. Dreadful futures hinge on all of her choices, and she and her companions are driven beyond the limits of their endurance.

Yet she still walks paths laid out for her by the Despiser, and his forces are ready ..

 

4. The Last Dark

Compelled step by step to actions whose consequences they could neither see nor prevent, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery have fought for what they love in the magical reality known only as ‘the Land’. Now they face their final crisis. Reunited after their separate struggles, they discover in each other their true power – and yet they cannot imagine how to stop the Worm of the World’s End from unmaking Time. Nevertheless they must resist the ruin of all things, giving their last strength in the service of the world’s continuance.

 

Review

I am not sure why anyone would bother write books like these, let alone publish them, let alone read these monsters.  They do have a strange way of been able to suck you in, or at least I am presuming the rest of the books are the same as the rest.  I’m still not quite sure how I got through the first two Chronicles but I was left wondering why I bothered. Highly depressing and extremely pointless waste of time.

Background Info

Donaldson spent part of his youth in India, where his father, a medical missionary, worked with lepers. Donaldson attended what is now the Kodaikanal International School. He was attending Kent State University as a graduate student at the time of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. Though he was not on campus at the time of the shootings, his apartment was one and a half blocks away, and he was forced to live under martial law for three days afterwards. Donaldson does not like to discuss the incident, as he finds the memories disturbing.

Donaldson is a fan of opera, in 1994, he gained a black belt in Shotokan karate.

 

 

Who should read this book?

From what I gather, some people actually like the bleak, depressing writing of these books.  I don’t really get it.  The books drag on and drag the ever reluctant character, and reader to do what exactly?  Meaningless characters, meaningless plot, meaningless pointless waste of time.

 

Even without reading the Last Chronicles, I still give this series only 2/5 stars