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The Wounded Land Paperback – 2 Sep 2019
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JOHN W. CAMPBELL AND BRITISH FANTASY AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
‘The Thomas Covenant saga is a remarkable acheivement which will certainly find a place on the small list of all true classics’
‘Something entirely out of the ordinary … you’ll want to go straight through Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves at one sitting’
‘An irresistible epic … imagination, heroism, excitement, made all the more real by Donaldson’s deft handling of the rich history of the Land’
CHICAGO DAILY NEWS
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Covenant returns to the Land (where about four thousand years have passed) to find it shockingly wasted, as if the Apocalypse itself had hit it. The change was caused by the Sunbane, a sinister creation of Foul's. Covenant spends half the book just trying to figure out what the heck went wrong and how he can turn things around. Fortunately he finds that he can unleash the wild magic at will, or at least whenever he's upset (sort of like Nynaeve's channeling block in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series).
Each book of the first trilogy had a major resolution at the end. The Wounded Land is difficult to evaluate on its own because there is no real resolution or even climax. About two thirds of the way through the book, Covenant's party embarks on a major quest that clearly will not be completed by the end of the novel. The ending isn't really climactic, but merely segues nicely into the sequel The One Tree.
Donaldson's pace is generally slower in this trilogy than in the first one, but that's not to say that The Wounded Land doesn't contain plenty of action. Covenant barely escapes death a few times. The times when he uses the wild magic are exciting moments, and Donaldson is skillful at quickly heightening dramatic tension. Covenant's stay at Revelstone and his discoveries there are a high point in the novel. The page-turning trek through the treacherous Sarangrave Flats recalls the similar quest of the Bloodguard in The Illearth War.
I haven't read the two sequels yet, but this second trilogy is looking great so far! Highly recommended for fans of simple fantasy with a dark flavor to it.
The Second Trilogy of Thomas Covenant is very different thematically from the first. The question of dream vs. reality is disposed of almost immediately in The Wounded Land (and arguably it was just a plot trick in the first trilogy anyway, so we could comfortably both despise and sympathise with Thomas Covenant). All that the Council represents has been shattered and the strength of their convictions must now be restored by Thomas Covenant and a few friends. He must come to terms with what he has lost, who he is, and what the Land truly meant to him. Linden Avery, his new companion from the real world who is drawn in when Covenant is summoned, is herself a flawed character - but she is a product of events she could not control. In a reverse of the original trilogy, the story of her anguish, the truth she must come to terms with, and her role in the fate of the Land is drawn out slowly, over the course of all three books.
This second trilogy is more personal than the first. In the first trilogy Thomas Covenant is profoundly influnced by the Land and all the people around him, and must reconcile their strength with his own anguish, eventually confronting his own failings to earn redemption; in the second everything the Land was, is lost. Linden and Covenant must personally struggle to restore it despite their own weakness and imperfection, with the help of a group of wandering Giants, the always loyal but subtly changed Bloodguard, and two natives of the Land. Wheras in the first book we know Covenant has a latent power which if he could only discover and unleash, he could defeat Foul, in the Wounded Land Covenant's power is growing out of control and any release could shatter the Arch of Time and give Foul victory - effectively rendering Covenant's White Gold powerless.
Everyone must make tremendous sacrifices in their struggle to see the land restored, and the final resolution in White Gold Wielder is amazing, thrilling, tremendously moving, and ultimately incredibly satisfying - making these books arguably the greatest work of fantasy literature ever written, eclipsing even the remarkable works of Tolkien for depth and power.
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