Lord Foul's Bane (First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series #1)

Lord Foul's Bane (First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series #1)

by Stephen R. Donaldson

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REISSUE)

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“Covenant is [Stephen R.] Donaldson's genius!”—The Village Voice

He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in this strange alternate world on which he suddenly found himself.

Yet the Land tempted him. He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before. Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero—Berek Halfhand—armed with the mystic power of White Gold. That power alone could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despiser, Lord Foul. Except that Covenant had no idea how to use that power. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345348654
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1987
Series: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever Series , #1
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 93,796
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Stephen R. Donaldson is the bestselling author of the series The Gap Cycle, Mordant's Need, and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, including Lord Foul's Bane and The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant; and other works, such as Daughter of Regals and Other Tales and a mystery series under the pseudonym Reed Stephens. He is the recipient of the first prize of the British Science Fiction Society and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

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ONE: Golden Boy

Excerpted from "Lord Foul's Bane"
by .
Copyright © 1987 Stephen R. Donaldson.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Lord Foul's Bane 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like other reviewers here, I read all these books when they first came out and have just begun rereading them. This is not light reading and does require some thought on the part of the reader but the payback is a story of depth and beauty and Thomas Covenant, himself, is a complex, troubled individual. A word on this...there has been some criticism on his behavior early on in this book and, yes, it is impossible to justify. However, remember this is a man who has attuned himself to feel nothing emotionally and, by nature of his disease (leprosy) already feels very little physically due to the destruction of his nerve endings. He is thrust into a world where ALL feeling and perception is vivid and painted in the brightest of colors and hues. His reactions are understandable if not justifiable. I don't want to give too much away but if you are tired of the standard fantasy about handsome/beautiful kings/queens, bad wizard vs good wizard, dragons, dragons and more dragons. Well, try this. It's depth is amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is without doubt the best fantasy story I have ever read. It is complex,has amazing depth and takes readers on a journey that they will never forget. I read the entire series in about three weeks it would have been less but I started slowing down at the end because I didn't want to finish. It was like having to part with old friends that you had been through heaven and hell with. Well done Mr Donaldson for giving the world such a beautiful and complete human story- so dark in places and yet ultimately a brilliantly graceful message. Thanks so much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt, my all time favorite series of books (The First AND Second Chronicles). I, like a lot of other reviewers, read the books some time ago and am now rereading them. I can't wait to get through them again. I'm now finding all kinds of foreshadowing gems in Lord Foul's Bane that I couldn't have recognized the first time through. Anybody who doesn't like these stories is truly incapable of appreciating Donaldson's sense of imagination and storytelling. I've heard people describe his writing style as 'strangled,' 'dense,' etc., but as a professional writer, I believe that his writing style is necessary for story he tells. Other people have called him a 'Tolkein wanna-be,' and even a 'Dostoyevski wanna-be.' These people know not that they honor him by making these claims. All good authors are inspired by their predecessors, but Donaldson adds his own style and his intense imagination to the genre that is unequalled, I believe, by anyone I've yet read. I finished reading the chronicals about 8 years ago the first time, and I still think about the characters all the time. Like others, my heart has been riven from my chest by the horrors of the Wounded Land, but I was absolutely spellbound nonetheless! I am still in awe of Nom, the sandgorgon, an utterly fascinating Second-Chronicals hero. Too many others to itemize here. I still can't believe that anyone who likes fantasy did not absolutely love this series. If you don't believe me, read it...but beware, it isn't Tolkien.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the Covenant series for the first time about 10 years ago, and have reread them several times since. I have read an enormity of titles by countless authors, but never has any literary work by any author ever touched my soul so deeply. My sister had a rare genetic disorder and since she was exremely limited in physical ability, she devoted her entire being to loving her family and READING. These books are indeed pensive and incredibly sad at times, but the EMOTION that the LAND seems to fill the reader with is beautiful beyond compare. My sister and I read the series together and held each other amd cried as though written into the story, and able to touch, see, and feel the characters, which Donaldson makes so human, so vulnerable. Read this book, and you will never forget the likes of Saltheart Foamfollower, Lord Morham, Bannor, Trell(who has much pain), Atirian, and countless others whose fates become all so important to us, the reader. Thank you Mr. Donaldson, your books are one of the few great joys that my sister was allowed to cherish.
TimeChaser More than 1 year ago
I've wanted to start reading this series for many years, and was finally pushed into it now by my girlfriend who has read and loves all the books. While its true that the main character Thomas Covenant is far more anti-hero and is not presented very sympathetically, I believe people are wrong to dismiss this book so quickly. Having spent the last couple of months disappointed by much of what I read, this came in like a breath of fresh air. Donaldson's style kept me locked in and wanting to continuously find out what would happen next. Conversely though, it did drag once in a while, and it was very emotionally taxing, so its not for readers looking for something light and easy. This is one of the more intense pieces of fantasy I've ever read. I would really give this four-and-a-half stars. My only complaint is the number of errors I found in the e-book version. In terms of the total number of words it was probably less than 1%, but they still stuck out and irritated me. Publishers seriously need to take greater care in editing e-books. When many of the errors come as misspelled words that end up being other normal words and not gibberish, there needs to be more than a simple spell check.
Bibliophile1954 More than 1 year ago
Rarely in the fantasy genera, do we come across a more descriptive & bitter "anti-hero" than that of Thomas Covenant. A man who has contracted leprosy not of his own fault, he is an outcast in his own town, his wife & child having fled in fear of his disease. He has so despised & hated himself, that when he finds himself is an alternate reality, where he is regard as an incarnation of the Lands past hero, he steadfastly refuses to believe in it, thereby claiming the title of The Unbeliever. But no matter how much he refuses to believe that he can help this, (to him), imaginary Land, the people of this Land believe that he alone can combat a terrible evil that is threatening the Land. However hard he may try convince himself that the Land is not real, he inadvertently helps the people without ever understanding how, & that is what makes this series so riveting! Unlike us, the people of this Land have great love for it, & will do all to protect it. We "feel" for the people of the Land, & their desire to preserve it, & Covenant can't understand this anymore than the people can understand his self loathing. It is a constant battle between unbelief & belief, that drives this story! Well worth the money!
topazz1963 More than 1 year ago
I read all these books when they first came out, and they have remained some of my favorite. I prefer the first two sets, rather than the more recent third chronicles, as the pace moves a lot faster, yet you still get enough information that you really get to know the characters. Thomas Covenant is no knight in shining armor type of hero. He is a dark character, who does end up making good if not always for the best reasons, especially in the beginning. He is thrust in an alternate world, and for a while believes it is a dream or hallucination, but then learns it is real, and actions have concequences. Dark and gritty at times, yet memorable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific accomplishment by a literary mastermind. Forget the one star reviews. It's obvious that these readers can not grasp the concept of "Anti-Hero". Thomas Covenant is labeled the unbeliever, he travel the Land not believing what is happening to him. He thinks it is all a dream and if so he cannot be held accountable for any and all vile acts he commits.Thomas Covenant is not meant to be likable, he is a scourge, an unwilling component necessary to make the circuit complete. The true main character of these books is the Land. Yes, the world Donaldson has created actually has a life of it's own. Everything in these books revolves around the Land, from the ailiantha to, The Dance of the Wraiths. There are those who have compared this to The Lord Of The Rings? Obviously the for mentioned reviewer is a die-hard Tolkien fan. I find it funny that most die-hard fans of Tolkien like to compare other epic works to TLR and claim them to be rip-offs. Comparing the Giants of Sea Reach to the Ents of TLR is absurd. Perhaps the die-hard fans of TLR should do some research and see who inspired Tolkien. His ideas where not new to fantasy when he penned TLR. This is a truly unique work of art.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
How does one start a review on a book one despised for the first 376 pages, and wavered between love and hate for the last 98? Because that's my general feeling about Lord Foul's Bane. It's a nice long book with a fantasy story, a made up land, a strange language, people with pointy ears, people who live in trees, horses that seem smarter than your average horse, giants, mountains, a ring that glows, old men with long beards and special staffs (staves?), and a creepy underground dwelling "cavewight" who yearns for power. Sound familiar? Yes, it's a lot like The Lord of the Rings. But it's a little different: it's slightly easier to read. But that doesn't make it great. The writing was slow and sluggish at times, far too much expository description for locations which could have been understood better with less detail, "less is more" sometimes rings so, so true. Thomas Covenant's journey is both physical, and mental, as well as emotional for him. The entire span of the book he's convinced he's dreaming. You would think he'd catch on that The Land had helped heal his leprosy, but he's in serious denial. It's one long mental crisis that peaks three-quarters of the way through when Covenant realizes he needs to pick a side, make a decision, but he doesn't do it right away. He has kept moving only because moving forward through the "dream" is the only way he can survive. but when he's met over and over again with those defining moments where an action from him will make him a hero, he cowers and shakes, and runs away. Perhaps that makes him the most realistic fantasy character I've ever read. He doesn't become the hero overnight, in fact, he may not be the hero at all. He doesn't make his own choices because he wants to, he's pushed into a corner where the only thing left is to appear as though he's made a decision. I am not sure if he ever really did decide to be the good or bad guy, or if he did the only thing he could do because that's all there was. He's flawed, and that's real. Overall, I'm going with a neutral 2 1/2 stars out of 5 on this one. I really did not like most of the book, but the end (slightly) redeemed itself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donaldson is definitely brilliant. He creates an incredible world, has fantastic imagery and tells a great story. However, as fantasy goes it sure isn't the good guy wins and all live happily ever after. When it is absolutely darkest and you can't possibly imagine that anything else bad/evil can befall the good guys, then the the final stroke falls. As a writer Donalson is immensely talented, but as a fantasy reader more accustomed to the likes of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, he is just too dark and depressing for me. I read the entire Illearth War series hoping for some positive outcome and only felt like crying when I put the last book down. The ability to awaken that level of depression obviously says he got thru to me and the fact that I read succesive novels says I liked something about him. However, I would recommend a heavy dose of Prozac before embarking on a major read of Donalson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Covenant series are some of the best in the realm of fantasy. Donaldson creates a richly textured and nuanced world, a well-developed supporting cast, and a believable anti-hero in the character of Thomas Covenant. Comparisons to other fantasy giants, specifically Tolkien, are spurious. Donaldson has taken the same rudimentary premise of all fantasy, good vs. evil, and blurred the distinctions. The result is a darker fiction, to be sure, but also a less contrived one. Donaldson's champions are flawed, capable of tragic miscalculations and short-sightedness. In other words, they are truly human, which I found appealing. In all fantasy, Tolkien notwithstanding, we know the good guys are going to win. The trick is in finding a novel and involving way to lead us to the forgone conclusion. Donaldson weaves the personal lives and foibles of his characters into a compelling narrative. Saying that Donaldson is derivative of Tolkien because he uses 'the ring, the descent into the mountain, the rituals, the despiser....' is to misunderstand both Tolkien and Donaldson. A focus on such superficialities indicates a failure to comprehend either writer. Read them both; enjoy them both.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a deep, rich, yet dark fantasy that I have recommended to many friends. Donaldson's descriptions of The Land are so detailed and clear, you'll swear that you have been transported there. The Second Chronicles begins with 'The Woundedland,' a book that will tear your heart out. All six books are highly recommended!
SlySionnach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Did you ever watch a movie, sit back after, and go, "What happened?"That happened with this book. I'm happy to know that it's the first in a trilogy because it really felt incomplete to me. While I remember certain events, it all strung together rather oddly and the end was anti-climactic as I never think we really reached the climax. When we did, everything got foggy.We follow Thomas Covenant, a leper, is determined to go into town and make an appearance, even if his fellow townsfolk think he should be outcast. What ends up happening is far different; he winds up in a world that he swears is a dream. And he has to bring a message of ill-will to the leaders of that world.Throughout the novel, I wanted to punch Covenant. He's rude, he's whiny, and he does things that made me stare at the page and go, "Why would someone have their MC do that?" Through the whole story, everyone is trying to help him but himself. And some of his decisions prove that he doesn't want to really help himself either. And at the end, he has this...I suppose it's a revelation though I'm not sure why.But the world-building is so intriguing that I read on.I liked almost every other character better than Covenant. In fact, I think the only character I liked less that Covenant was Drool, but Drool was at least meant to be a bit creepy. Of course, giving him the name Drool made me chuckle at first. I'll finish the series because I'm a completionist like that. And it wasn't the worst series I've ever read. The writing is there, the worlds are interesting, and I have hope that Covenant has gotten over his whiny-emotional-breakdown and decided to act like a decent human.
Jubercat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This series was my introduction into the world of fantasy, so I will always have a soft spot for it. My friends who read the series became impatient with Thomas Covenant's constant whining of "Leper! Outcast! Unclean!," but I enjoyed the story of his adventures in The Land, and it led me to other (perhaps better?) books and series in the genre.
lighten51 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found the action to be slow in picking up, but by mid book the intensity of the story began to climax, only to fizzle at novel's end.
Mephestophelesx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. The first few pages just didn't pull me in as much as I had hoped it would. The main problem I have with the book so far is the first meeting with Lord Bane. I found his monologue unnessary and just a wall of text. Maybe I'm just too picky.
TEEnglandJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my second time to read Lord Foul's Bane. Stephen R. Donaldson has hit the nail on the head with this book. It is hard to feel sympathy for such a hard man as Thomas Covenant, however; the author makes his leprosy so real. It does not excuse the foul things that Covenant does, and even still they are hard to accept by someone who has never touched the world of leprosy. His whole life is wrapped up in not just protecting, but DEFENDING his existence. In a world where despair is the personified enemy, he is the ultimate hero. He battles despair on a daily basis, but it is all inside. He cannot share, he cannot help, but through his failure, he forces others to extend beyond themselves.I would recommend this book to anyone who can read with an open mind. This I believe is typical of fantasy/sci-fi readers, but with the abhorrent things that Thomas Covenant is capable of, it really forces you to re-evaluate what open mind means.I am re-reading to prepare myself for the third and final Thomas Covenant series, and am glad to be welcomed back to the "unreal world" that Stephen R. Donaldson has created. I have read most of his other work, and Thomas Covenant is his MASTERPIECE!!!
TheCrowdedLeaf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How does one start a review on a book one despised for the first 376 pages, and wavered between love and hate for the last 98? Because that¿s my general feeling about Lord Foul¿s Bane. It¿s a nice long book with a fantasy story, a made up land, a strange language, people with pointy ears, people who live in trees, horses that seem smarter than your average horse, giants, mountains, a ring that glows, old men with long beards and special staffs (staves?), and a creepy underground dwelling ¿cavewight¿ who yearns for power. Sound familiar? Yes, it¿s a lot like The Lord of the Rings. But it¿s a little different: it¿s slightly easier to read. But that doesn¿t make it great. The writing was slow and sluggish at times, far too much expository description for locations which could have been understood better with less detail, ¿less is more¿ sometimes rings so, so true.Thomas Covenant is a leper living in a small town where he¿s generally shunned and avoided. His wife has left him and taken their son. His utility bills are paid by unknown parties so that he doesn¿t have to walk to town and expose everyone to his disease. People fear him, and he¿s become bitter and resentful because of it. He¿s an extremely unlikeable character; I wanted to like him, I wanted to feel his pain and loneliness, but he pushed me away, made it completely impossible to feel sorry for him. When he walks into town one day to pay his phone bill he meets a strange beggar who gives him a note with a short story about a man who finds himself in an other-world which he believes is a dream and so he refuses to defend himself, and a follow up question on courage and ethics. It appears very random, until we look back (hindsight is twenty-twenty afterall) to figure out that the story in the note is really what happens to Covenant. Covenant speaks with the old beggar (who is blind and walks with a staff ¿ methinks this beggar will turn up again in later books) and gives him his wedding ring. The beggar returns the ring, Covenant walks away, is hit by a police car, and wakes up in The Land. He¿s greeted by the creepy cavewight, a lot of clouds and smoke, and a disembodied voice known as Lord Foul (the evil guy). Lord Foul gives him a message he must take to the Council of Lords and then the voice and the cavewight disappear, and a girl comes to Covenant¿s rescue, and the journey begins and doesn¿t end for a long, long time.(Sometimes I wonder how people come up with these intensely overflowing ideas. Whole other-worlds, characters, languages, scenery¿ it¿s incredible.)Covenant¿s journey is both physical, and mental, as well as emotional for him. The entire span of the book he¿s convinced he¿s dreaming. You would think he¿d catch on that The Land had helped heal his leprosy, but he¿s in serious denial. It¿s one long mental crisis that peaks three-quarters of the way through when Covenant realizes he needs to pick a side, make a decision, but he doesn¿t do it right away. He has kept moving only because moving forward through the ¿dream¿ is the only way he can survive¿ but when he¿s met over and over again with those defining moments where an action from him will make him a hero, he cowers and shakes, and runs away. Perhaps that makes him the most realistic fantasy character I¿ve ever read. He doesn¿t become the hero overnight, in fact, he may not be the hero at all. He doesn¿t make his own choices because he wants to, he¿s pushed into a corner where the only thing left is to appear as though he¿s made a decision. I am not sure if he ever really did decide to be the good or bad guy, or if he did the only thing he could do because that¿s all there was. He¿s flawed, and that¿s real.I found the similarites to The Lord of the Rings to be slightly distracting at times. I am sure Stephen Donaldson knew what he was doing when he wrote Lord Foul¿s Bane (first published in 1977, 23 years after The Fellowship of the Ring). Perhaps LOTR wasn¿t as mainstream then as it is now. I am no e
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the rise of Tolkien came several authors writing their own tolkienoid fantasies, some to cash in on the hype, others inspired by the vivid histories, languages, and cultures painted by Tolkien and rehashed by his son.If you were to put all the tolkienoid authors into two groups, authors like Terry Brooks would be the "fast-food tolkienoids", while authors like Stephen R. Donaldson would be closer to the "sit-down tolkienoids."While an author like Brooks hits you over the head with allusions to Tolkien (read my review of The Sword of Shannara for an idea of this), Donaldson creates a new land, called "The Land" and introduces the series' titular character to it. Thomas Covenant,a leper in the real world, whose life is slowly falling apart, finds himself in this fantasy world.As a fantasy author, he disbelieves that his is actually present, and that the world is really a dream manifestation. This is compounded by his regaining of sensation long lost to the leprosy.He finds that he has been summoned to the Land to help battle the nefarious Lord Foul and restore the Staff of Law to the rightful Lords.The Thomas Covenant series is one of those series that the casual fantasy reader will overlook. Donaldson writes in a way that requires many readers to have Webster close at hand. At times, it does get irritating how Covenant disbelieves his situation, but nevertheless, he's used to not taking things for granted, so I suppose it's forgivable.I'd definitely recommend this book (and series) for those who like epic fantasy and find writers like Eddings and Brooks to be merely diluted drinks of Tolkien. This isn't recommended, though, for people who think that Tolkien got it best, and all subsequent epic fantasy is just poor imitation. You'll be gladly disappointed with this one.
peacebeard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I read Tolkien first, but this was perhaps the second fantasy author I read when I was young. After reading the Chroncile of Thomas Covenant I was hooked on the fantasy genre. I have read the series at least a few times.The main character, Thomas Covanant, is a leper who visits "The Land" in what he thinks is a dream. The magic of the land heals his leporsy. Some of his actions in the story are based on his belief, or rather unbelief that "The Land" is a true world. I found this a interesting storyline since I have, on occassion, awoken from a dreams that could not possibly be reality.Many of Donaldson's characters are troubled and dark as they should be in challenging times they face. Not all fantasy books can be bright and cheery. It would be boring to read them if that were always the case. I loved the Giants and the Bloodguard. There are portions of the book that I might have left out, but it's not my book, and I am not a best-setlling author. So what do I know?
socialchild on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh man. I have never been able to get through this one. I first tried to read it in the 80s. I had read and fallen in love with Tolkein's work, and was looking for more in that style. My dad got me this, ad I couldn't get through it. I rediscovered it in a box of books that I was cataloging earlier this year, and I thought I'd give it another try. After all, I'm more than 20 years older, got an MA in English (did my thesis on Geek Literature), and had a much wider experience in both fantasy and anti-hero books.I still couldn't get through it. Not because Covenant is a cranky and ungrateful boor, but because the writing was so clichéd. It probably wasn't at the time, but all I could picture when Covenant is transported into the Land and meets Lord Foul the Despiser was Viggo the Carpathian. "Aww. He misses his kitty." Then after he third or fourth page of Lord Foul just talking, it occurs to me. He's monologuing! Monologuing! I kept waiting for his cape to get caught on something and suck him into oblivion.I just had to put it down. Life is too short to read bad books. Unless they are wonderfully bad like Eragon.
Hopsakee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Can't handle the big schism between the weakness and selfpity of the main character and the utter trust, bravery and good intentions of the people of the land.The story pulls on me. I read a major part of this series when I was at the age of 15. I couldn't finish then because I disliked the main character. But parts of the adventures still ring in my head. So I tried it again now I'm 33. This time I still disliked the main character, but that wasn't the sole reason I stopped reading this time. Some parts I found a bit to cheesy. The bane lord Foul tell's to Thomas is a bit over the top. And all the people he meets are so good. All of that is obviously (rather to obvious in my opinion) to show the big trust they put in Thomas although he doesn't trust himself. And Thomas has every reason to distrust himself. And to drive home 'The Question': is the man's behaviour courageous or cowardly? This is the fundamental question of ethics. (as stated by the awkward hobo Thomas meets in his own world just before he is transported to The Land). And Thomas probably has to learn that to be courageous you have to belief/trust in a good ending. Something the giants (especially Foamfollower) are extremely good at.So I think, Thomas will become a more likeable person in the books to come. And probably there will be some crisis with the trust of the poeple of the land before Thomas really proofs himself. That would also render the story more believable to me. But I won't ever find that out. Because I'm not gonna finish it. Although the land is rich in history and adventures and (more or less) believable races. It reminds me all a bit to much of the utter goodness of the blue indians of Avatar. I also don't really like the jokes in the book by the giant Foamfollower or any of the other characters that are supposed to be funny. In my opinion they all fall short of the hobbits Merry and Pippin or the imp Tyrion Lannister.So, in short. If you like weak (as in The Kite Runner) main characters, don't mind very likeable and good characters (as in Avatar) and don't mind if most of the feelings of the main character is explained in great detail, than you'll probably like this story a lot. The Land is rich, the story surprises sometimes, and the story is finished within a reasonable amount of pages. Something not all fantasy writers are capable of.
JapaG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Comparable to Tolkien at his best" says the cover. Well, I think that this book is really comparable to Tolkien, but at his worst. Long, boring descriptions of fantasy lands and their semi-interesting habitants.I read half-way through. Could not make myself read further. I'm sorry, because the premise of the book seemed interesting enough, and the first 50 pages or so were good. But then the main character got into the epic mode, and it all went downhill...
souloftherose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an epic fantasy novel similar in some ways to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Thomas Covenant is an author, happily married with a young son and his first published novel is an acclaimed bestseller. But then, horrifyingly, Covenant discovers he has contracted leprosy, a disease which will slowly cause him to lose feeling over his whole body and become susceptible to injury and infection as he will no longer be able to feel pain. His wife leaves him, fearing for the health of their child and Covenant is left alone. Once his neighbours find out what is happening he is completely ostracised by the local community to the extent that his bills are paid for him and groceries are left at his door to prevent him even coming into town. To survive amidst all this Covenant has become increasingly bitter and angry, relying on this bitterness and anger to give him the energy he needs to keep going instead of giving in to despair.As Covenant makes one defiant journey into town he is a given a mysterious message by an old beggar: At the time this note seems meaningless but with hindsight it summarises the problems faced by Covenant in the rest of the book. After this, Covenant is knocked down by a car whilst crossing the road and when he awakes he is in the Land, facing Lord Foul, who gives him a message to take to the Lords of the Land.The rest of the book is taken up with Covenant's journey to the Lords to deliver his message and their subsequent journey and battle to retrieve the Staff of the Law from the cavewight, Drool Rockworm. The Land Covenant finds himself in is one of beauty and healing and Covenant discovers that the feeling has come back to his fingers and toes, that in fact the leprosy seems to be reversing, a thing which the doctors told him was impossible. Covenant cannot believe this is happening; he feels that if he believed this to be true it would prove him to be mad and all hope would be lost. His only alternative is to insist that his entire experience in the Land is nothing more than a dream and he sticks to this philosophy throughout almost the whole book.¿He could not bear the alternative. If he were dreaming, he might still be able to save his sanity, survive, endure. But if the Land were real, actual ¿ ah, then the long anguish of his leprosy was a dream, and he was mad already, beyond hope.¿It was very interesting to read a fantasy novel where the hero is not really very heroic. Covenant is best described as an anti-hero in this book. However, it did make it very difficult to sympathise with or like this character. His anger and bitterness rarely relents, the characters he meets in the Land are generally sympathetic towards him although they seem to completely misunderstand him most of the time (I imagine it¿s hard to understand someone who persists in believing that you¿re nothing more than a hallucination!), yet one of Covenant¿s first actions in the Land is to rape the first character who helps him, an act which he refuses to face the consequences of for most of the book as, of course, it didn¿t really happen. Towards the end of the book Covenant does begin to accept that his actions in the Land impact the people who live there and begins to appreciate the consequences of his actions more.I think the similarity to The Lord of the Rings mentioned above comes from the depth Donaldson has attempted to give the book by giving glimpses of an ancient history underlying all the events in the Land, through the stories and songs told to Covenant on his travels. I didn¿t feel this worked quite as well as Tolkien managed it but I¿ve only read one book in this series so far, it might just be that I¿m much more familiar with Tolkien¿s world.To conclude, I wouldn¿t recommend this book to someone new to the fantasy genre but it is a well written fantasy novel with some interesting ideas though it was sometimes a bit of a slog to read. I¿m going to continue onto books two and three shortly as I¿m interested to see where D
alexis3700 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally, the end of the first trilogy. Might take a while to get to the second trilogy. Pretty good, not great. Like that it ended well.