- Paperback: 1168 pages
- Publisher: Voyager - GB (13 October 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780006473299
- ISBN-13: 978-0006473299
- ASIN: 0006473296
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 6.3 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 680 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Paperback – 13 Oct 1993
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From the Back Cover
Since its publication in 1977, Stephen Donaldson’s award-winning trilogy has become an indisputable fantasy classic, hailed by the critics and loved by millions of readers around the world. Now all three books are available in one paperback volume for the first time.
“In ths enormous fantasy, the timeless battle of good and evil is played out against a stunningly detailed and imaginative alternate-world background – giants, cave-dwellers, intelligent horses, strange beasts, potent talismans, and men with incomprehensible powers. The hero, a modern American transported mysteriously to this strange environment, manages to make it all believable because he has trouble believing it himself. Donaldson has created a classic.”
“Something entirely out of the ordinary … you’ll want to go straight through 'Lord Foul’s Bane, The Ilearth War' and 'The Power That Preserves' at one sitting.”
“A trilogy of remarkable scope and sophistication.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
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Thomas, a Leper whose family and friends have abandoned him, is struck by a car while walking through town one day and transported to "The Land". Thomas himself is morbid, angry, and realistic, so I was eager to see how the culture shock of him entering a fantasy world populated by optimists would play out. It doesn't. Covenant never reacts to any of the strangeness around him with any more care than he did walking around the streets of his hometown. He does not struggle to come to terms with the fact that he may have died, or that magic is being done, or any of the numerous impossible things that occur throughout the story. Similarly, characters from The Land don't seem to remark upon his foreign-ness until he begins saying "I'm not from here," and even then it has no effect on the story. Covenant seems to be a jerk, but the only person he lashes out at is himself, over and over and over again. I was sick of the chorus of "Leper! Unclean!" running through his mind well before the twentieth time it came around. This is despite the fact that his leprosy seems to've been cured within the first few pages of the story. This is something he never really seems to grapple with mentally. It's almost ignored. So, Covenant is pulled along throughout the story by various characters and despite every reason not to, and even saying "I'm not going to", he goes along with them every time. It's immensely unsatisfying, as if the entire book were an illusion of false choice. Similarly, other characters lack motivation, purpose, and meaningful personality traits.
The writing itself is sub-par. Descriptions and language are very detailed. Again, this is something I normally enjoy, but here I found it tiring. Descriptions aren't used on characters, emotions, or anything interesting. Instead you'll be treated to multiple pages describing stone rooms and chambers, murky gray water, and other similarly dull landscapes (there are such things as interesting landscapes, but there are few here). As stated above, characters are written very poorly. Thomas gets the widest variation of dialogue, encapsulating a series of yes's, no's, and edgy diatribes. Other characters are largely exposition machines, with one or two delivering standard fantasy-fare speeches or singing songs that have no meter or flow to them. Nearly every occasion in which a characters speaks felt extremely jilted, as if they'd been written by someone who hadn't heard or had a conversation in years.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the book is how completely typical it is (maybe this wasn't the case when it was published). It's a standard fantasy setting, with a standard fantasy plot, and standard fantasy characters whose names are either nonsense you won't remember once this book is done (Atiaran) or typical AdjectiveNoun names (Foamfollower, Rockworm, Halfhand). Donaldson's discussed how some of his earliest forays into literature were fan-pieces (fanfiction) based on Heart of Darkness or other novels. That's exactly what this novel feels and reads like: a piece of fanfiction stretched over 1,100 pages and published without an editor. It's distasteful enough that I likely won't finish reading the other two novels in the omnibus despite enjoying Donaldson's short stories.
Previous review retracted.