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1. Against All Things Ending (The
2. A Man Rides Through
3. Chaos and Order: The Gap Into
4. The Runes of the Earth (The Last
5. Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles
6. Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles
7. Daughter of Regals
8. The Illearth War (Donaldson, Stephen
9. Stephen R. Donaldson and the Modern
10. The Man Who Killed His Brother
11. The Real Story: The Gap into Conflict
12. The Atlas of the Land: A Complete
13. The Power That Preserves (The
14. Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap Into
15. The One Tree (The Second Chronicles
16. This Day All Gods Die
17. White Gold Wielder (The Second
18. The Man Who Tried to Get Away
19. The Man Who Fought Alone
20. The Wounded Land (Second Chronicles

1. Against All Things Ending (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Hardcover: 624 Pages (2010-10-19)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$17.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039915678X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The long-awaited sequel to The Runes of the Earth and Fatal Revenant returns readers to the Land-and unravels some of the mysteries haunting Covenant and Linden Avery.

Thomas Covenant is alive again, restored to his mortal body by the unimaginable combined force of his own white gold ring, Linden Avery's Staff of Law, and the ancient dagger called High Loric's krill. His resurrection is Linden's defiant act of love, despite warnings from mortals and immortals that unleashing this much power would destroy the world. She brought his spirit back from its prison in the Arch of Time, and revived his slain body, so that Covenant lies whole on the cool grass, and the world seems at peace. But the truth is inescapable: The thunderclap of power has awakened the Worm of the World's End, and all of them, and the Land itself, are forfeit to its devouring. If they have any chance to save the Land, it will come from unlikely sources- including the mysterious boy Jeremiah, Linden's adopted son, whose secrets are only beginning to come to light. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson's Fantasy of the Real
In the archetypical fantasy series - following the blueprint first drawn by dear old J.R.R - a Dire Threat appears, a Motley Band is assembled to combat the threat, a Quest is undertaken, they Have Adventures Along The Way, and, ultimately, the Quest Is Successfully Concluded.

The rest is just details.

Donaldson doesn't play that game. His characters, far from being archetypes, are very real and very human. They carry deep flaws and insecurities. They get cranky and say things they shouldn't. They make decisions based on incomplete (or sometimes downright mistaken) information. When things go badly - as frequently, they do; Donaldson has no problems sending his characters off on quests that prove to be disastrous red herrings - they are consumed by self-doubt and self-recrimination. And those doubts and mistrusts invariably lead to yet more problems and more disasters.

And the lead antagonist KNOWS this and actively schemes to promote situations that will produce exactly the types of disasters he requires. Of all the Big Baddies in epic fantasy, he is probably the most competent. He learns from his mistakes and adapts his schemes accordingly - and some of those schemes can be very, very subtle. More than once has a protagonist made what they felt was a series of "correct" choices at every turn, only to learn that they have been carefully and deliberately manipulated to produce those choices.

This produces stories that are as like to the "real" world as you can ever hope to expect. We don't have plucky Hobbits, dour but steadfast Dwarves, heroic Knights, and inscrutable but all-knowing Wizards ticking the boxes in sequences as part of a near-seamless Master Plan for Redemption; instead we have deeply flawed and troubled (but ultimately very real) human beings trying to make the best of a mess they don't completely understand.

Who else but Donaldson can have his characters, after narrowly escaping another disaster, face each other with the question "now what?" and nobody has an answer?

And deaths... as in real war, often death comes swiftly and with no meaning. Donaldson will KILL characters. Unlike most movie gunfights or epic fantasy battles where tons of firepower is crashing around but nobody gets hurt, Donaldson's fights have consequences. When power is exercised, people can die. When Donaldson's characters unleash epic forces, ruin follows.

And his characters don't just shrug off ruin and carry on unaffected. They hurt. They doubt. They question.

This makes them real.

And it makes their rare triumphs exultant.

If you like genre fantasy, where everything follows the rails and the archetypes are respected, this can be a very, very difficult series to read. Not only is there Donaldson's amazing vocabulary to deal with (something that adds a great deal of weight and seriousness to the tone of the story and an integral part of this series) but you have to deal with characters who don't automatically know the next step in the script, who misunderstand the other characters, and who are not afraid to wallow in misery and self-pity (just like a real human would). This refusal to colour inside the lines can be intensely frustrating to those who like formula books, and you can see that frustration boiling over in many of the reviews.

But for those tired of Fantasy Plot #3, Donaldson offers a Land that is challenging, colourful, and above all, grown-up.

He is at the height of his powers and this series is by far the strongest of the three.

Its only flaw is that it depends very heavily on character development and growth established in the earlier series. This series cannot be jumped into lightly; one must have read the previous two series or risk being left completely at sea. One cannot understand the true tragedy of the Masters without having first experienced the Bloodguard. One cannot understand the triumphant redemption of the ur-viles in Against All Things Ending without having been terrified of them in earlier works.

The true shame here is how under appreciated this work is. One wonders if Hamlet's opening night review complained of a mopy, emo Prince of Denmark. One expects that later generations will celebrate what so many of this generation denegrate.


2-0 out of 5 stars Almost unreadable
Huge fan of the first and second "chronicles."WIth this last series, the writing has become increasingly forced and overworked.It is almost too difficult to even get through the reading of the beginning of this newest installment because the language is so stilted- you find yourself asking who edited this manuscript?It seems as if all the characters have long Shakespearean soliloquies (both internally and spoken) in which words are chosen just for the sheer fact that they are rare and require a dictionary.I appreciate literature and its ability to broaden my vocabulary but come on.I wish I just picked this one up at the library rather than paid for the new release.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant- Classic Covenant, the best yet!
Stephen R Donaldson does not write a single word without purpose. His choice of vocabulary, every sentence structure, placement and combination, is loaded with implication. As I read his writing, I am reminded of a Beethoven symphony or Bach passacaglia and fugue.
His writing is so multidimensional, with so many intellectual and psychological levels that I have been revisiting it for decades yet gain new appreciation on each reading. As I approach it with different wisdom or intelligence, each time I learn and appreciate new facets of the drama.
To me, the stories are not plot driven; they are not about facts, events or issues. If I had to label them, they are psychodramas about despair and redemption. His protagonists are well acquainted with suffering, grief, despair, and desecration. They are uncompromising in their complex human frailties yet all retain great staure and dignity. Some reviewers have been impatient with this yet I ask how many people accept the characters on their own terms instead of judging them? How many reviewers have suffered enough to listen with shared understanding and compassion? Having been driven to attempt suicide, for me the pain of Donaldson's characters- and their reasons for going on! - are gutwrenchingly familiar.
The growth- or breakdown- of individual psychologies in response to trauma tells this story as much or more than the actual events, accounting for what some call "glacial pace". It is simply not possible to address and explain the development of so many individual psychologies and justifications, at the pace of an action-driven novel.

As the consequences of Linden's love draws the end of creation nigh, many previously constant things become mutable.
Questions about whether it is *ever* possible to accomplish "good" by "evil" means are discussed deeply.
Covenant's choice to rescue the snakebitten girl rather than answer Mhoram's summons- and Mhoram's response- is also deeply relevant.
Suprisingly, a classic evil foe becomes a force for good. Linden becomes increasingly broken by suffering from the consequences of her good intentions, and her mother's fate becomes very relevant to the story. The tragic relationship between Covenant and Joan is apparently resolved. Several well-loved characters die, but I felt their deaths were neither arbitrary nor meaningless- quite the contrary. Although they appear in the story, the mortal Insequent are no more deus ex machina than the Elohim; I felt it natural that the end of Creation would draw their attention, and their reasons for avoiding the Land previously are explained in the text.
Donaldson has repeatedly stated that this will be his last excursion to the Land, and many readers have begged him for more details about minor references in previous books: This is his last opportunity to develop that lore, and I felt that he delivered it well. For me personally, it was especially gratifying to read Donaldson's descriptions of the ornate majesty of the Lost Deep.

To compare Donaldson's writing with any other, I think does him a disservice: He stands unique.
This is a deeply intellectual work of tragedy and hope, both profoundly cathartic and thought-provoking.
For those curious to know more, the first chapter of this book is available to read for free from his website at [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars Wondrous new hues woven into the tapestry of The Land
I have to purge some of my reactions to other reviewers' negative sentiments before I can speak more freely about my abiding love for this beautiful book. Let's start with the Insequent, who've been dismissed, by some, as contrivances for mere plot convenience. I personally find them enthralling, from The Mahdoubt to The Ardent - one of the "colorful" additions to the cast in A.A.T.E. The Last Chronicles have always encompassed greater scope - both thematically, and in terms of space and time - than previous volumes, so it feels natural for their adventures to involve a hitherto-unknown race hailing from beyond the borders of the Land we've been familiar with. And I fail to see how beings that give with one hand whilst they take with the other (like the similarly duplicitous Esmer), ushering in as much bemusement and havoc as they do clarity and order, could be the ideal vehicles for tidying up a storyline.

But they do contribute an element oftentimes lacking in the earlier stories of the Land: grayness, ambiguous loyalty and motivation; they fill in a lot of the spaces that span between the Land's benevolent Creator and its contemptuous Despiser. To my mind, they seem to have arisen in response to Covenant and Linden's enhanced experience and understanding: As the protagonists grow in stature, newer and more highly evolved forces rise to meet them. This contributes to an overall sense that everything within A.A.T.E. is occurring on a broader and grander scale.

And Donaldson's prose - particularly, the style he's incorporated since "The Runes of the Earth" - is ideal for conveying that sense of escalating scope and complexity. It reminds me of the inner patterns of the stone that Anele so loves: you read a layer of past illumination, then a layer of foreshadowing; here there's a vein of introspection; there, a vein of action. All these gradations coexist on virtually every page (a layer cake could be another analogy), creating an overall conviction that there are no small movements or choices here. Everything is crucial. If what is brought forth from the Land's past is not assimilated, if harbingers of future woe aren't heeded, catastrophe will result. This book is as apocalyptic as the title implies. It's a fine line, and Donaldson walks it with such meaty prose that the whole work fairly oozes with tension and anticipation, breakthrough followed by unforeseen calamity. The stakes keep getting higher; and being a highly exacting artist, Donaldson never settles for pat answers.

And despite the changes that he's undergone - and continues to undergo - it's great to finally, really, have Covenant back, with all of his gut intransigence and reckless love for Linden and the Land marvelously intact.

"Covenant" has been my favorite fantasy saga ever since I discovered the original trilogy 26 years ago, and this latest installment, if anything, surpassed my expectations. It's going to be a long, lonely wait for "The Last Dark".

1-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson is now a George Lucas
All of my fond memories of reading (and rereading) the original two trilogies is slowly being eroded by this mess. I started in expecting the same high quality of story, character development and sense of adventure. Instead the current series makes as much sense as "Phantom Menace". And is ultimately just as forgettable.

Donaldson has never really been fair to his characters. When dropped into any given situation there's an unusual amount of regret and remorse to spread around. This is to add depth to the character and drama to a scene. In past outings, this was marginally fine. Here it reduces to outright stupidity. Case in point: Linden, a trained medical doctor, head of her institution, stands completely stonewalled as others give healing berries to a recovering Covenant. These berries are a basic part of the Land, thus the whole thing becomes stupid, not fair.

A few of the reviewers here have mentioned Donaldson's prose in glowing terms. Really? There must be an app for this....that examines your text and randomly selects obscure, almost-not-quite fitting words from a thesaurus app. Its sole purpose is to provoke a "Huh? That sounds clever." reaction from the reader. I've seen Microsoft Word mangle an idea or three. Donaldson's app was clearly set to level 5.

So back to the George Lucas analogy. Once the Jedi--eh, Lords, Linden were smart, insightful people. Now they are stupid. Once the Force--eh, white gold, staff of law were powerful elements. Here they are eclipsed by a light saber--eh, krill. Whatever. And I'm not too concerned with these characters being killed off en-masse because it means there will be fewer people wandering around, shuffling their feet, regretting what they had for breakfast.

I welcome the worm. It reminds me to load something better onto my Kindle, like Dune. At least that series wasn't ruined 20 years after. Oh, wait.
... Read more

2. A Man Rides Through
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 672 Pages (2003-06-03)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$7.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345459849
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In The Mirror of Her Dreams, the dazzling first volume of Mordant’s Need, New York Times bestselling author Stephen R. Donaldson introduced us to the richly imagined world of Mordant, where mirrors are magical portals into places of beauty and terror. Now, with A Man Rides Through, Donaldson brings the story of Terisa Morgan to an unforgettable conclusion. . . .

Aided by the powerful magic of Vagel, the evil Arch-Imager, the merciless armies are marching against the kingdom of Mordant. In its hour of greatest need, two unlikely champions emerge. One is Geraden, whose inability to master the simplest skills of Imagery has made him a laughingstock. The other is Terisa Morgan, transferred to Mordant from a Manhattan apartment by Geraden’s faulty magic. Together, Geraden and Terisa discover undreamed-of talents within themselves—talents that make them more than a match for any Imager . . . including Vagel himself.

Unfortunately, those talents also mark them for death. Branded as traitors, they are forced to flee the castle for their lives. Now, all but defenseless in a war-torn countryside ravaged by the vilest horrors Imagery can spawn, Geraden and Terisa must put aside past failures and find the courage to embrace their powers—and their love—before Vagel can spring his final trap. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good ending to the series
(4 stars, up from 3.5 that I gave the first book since this one was a lot better)

I have had a long love-hate relationship with this series. There were a lot of things that I didn't like. One: the main character, Terisa, is very hard to like because she has many problems such as lack of self confidence (an understatement) and it is important for me to have the main female likable. Two: the first book is extremely slow. I think all 642 pages span like 5-7 days. I actually almost quit near the end; I started another book I had lined up but I couldn't do it. I kept wondering what was happening to the characters in this book (even Teresa) and so I had to continue on. I wasn't disappointed.

Donaldson is a gifted writer. He injected emotion and life into his characters to the point you believed they were real, even if they were unlikeable. He's not afraid to make characters less than perfect and neither to make them as lovable as they can be. This is the main reason I came away from this series happy; characters are so well developed they make your heart flutter or your skin crawl. The story is unique with a fun magic system: the use of mirrors to move through worlds or to bring things out of them. It's very clever and evolves with the story as you go.

One of the highlights of the series is the romance between Terisa and Geraden. It is portrayed so well and so touching. Geraden is extremely likable and the way they evolve together is realistic yet still romantic. It is intriguing the way he comes to her and brings her to his world; it reads like a fairy tale.

I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy about good vs. evil, a good magic system, a great writer, but one who also has a lot of patience. Even if you hate Teresa sometimes, there are other strong women in this book, and you'll want to find out if Terisa finds herself by the end of the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Follow-up Book...One of the Best I have Read
Second book in a 2 book series and Donaldson does a masterful job. I love the main character, although Donaldson seems to like to use tragic individuals as main characters. If you are reading this one, you've most likely read Book 1, so I hope you enjoy Book 2. I plan on re-reading these when I get the chance.

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE this book
I LOVE Stephen R. Donaldson and this book along with the first in the series are what drew me to his books in the first place. I read them in high school and just fell in love with them. to this day they remain my favorite books of all time!!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Mirror battles.

A somewhat tedious end to what at least is only a duology, as the good guys and bad guys at least from the point of our protagonist run around with their plotting and killing.

At least until they actually come to grips, anyway.Certainly not the equal, storywise, of the other series he has produced.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Part Two of an Interesting Series
Reviewers who found the first book of Mordant's Need (The Mirror of Her Dreams) a tad slow paced for their taste get their rewarding pay-off here: A Man Rides Through is an action packed adventure that intelligently carries the intricate plots on to a crescendo of climactic proportions. Here Donaldson realizes the outcome of his complex plot patterns with deft skill and insight while keeping the reader on seat's edge with brutal exemplar pacing, suspenseful fight scenes, brutal revelations, and tear-jerking heroics. The author also shows a mature sense of character developement (there are few flat characters as everyone is changed by the stories events in various ways and at various times) as well as a believable sense of human character itself. Though it's a fantasy, and there are some strange personages in the line-up, the personalities do indeed seem believable.
However, while the second installment may have more clear strengths than the first one, it also probably has more weaknesses. There was lull a few chapters long after the first or second chapter in the book; once you know the basic "why" of Joyce's actions and once you know that Terisa isn't going to fall for Eremis' manipulations a good bit of suspense and mystery is gone. And then, right when the anti-clamacticism of all starts to sink in, Donaldson starts getting mushy with Terisa and Geradon. Too much flirting and how many times they copulated on the genre, and for a moment you might think you're reading a romance novel like the 1st edition hardcover's picture implies. Here it becomes more apparent that Donaldson's style is leaning more to the modern bait and suspense style a laClancy, Brooks, and Herbie Brennan than to the ancient-sounding style he used in the early Covenant series, which seemed to wax more authentic for a fantasy tale and nodded to such greats as Tolkien and Lewis.
The ending is an excellent grand finale of realization, action, and suspense. it sums the plot up nicely but is also kind of Stars Wars- several simultaneous fights/battles at the same moment that all miraculously end together. But Donaldson can jerk tears with his tellings of heroism and sacrifice; he is able to invest the reader deep enough into the characters throughout the story to enable the reader to truly understand the meaning of what those characters do at the climax.

Donaldsonm also gets high praise from me for making a two book epic fantasy instead of a nine book one, which seems to be the trend nowadays. Not only is this particular world a refreshingly unique one in the world of fantasy lit, but it is also miraculous NOT a quest tale. Though there's some questing in it of a sort, it is more of a political plot, and yet still manages to dish out enough action, magic, wierdness, and intrique to keep you reading cover to cover to cover.

J. Lyon LaydenAn Adventure in Yore for Bedtime Reading ... Read more

3. Chaos and Order: The Gap Into Madness
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 684 Pages (1995-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553572539
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
As the planetoid Thanatos Minor explodes into atoms, a specially-fitted cruiser escapes the mass destruction and hurtles into space only a step ahead of hostile pursuit. On board Trumpet are a handful of bedraggled fugitives from an outlaw world - old enemies suddenly and violently thrown together in a desperate bid for survival. Among this unlikely crew of allies are Morn Hyland, once a UMC cop, now a prisoner to the electrodes implanted in her brain; her son, Davies, "force-grown" to adulthood by the alien Amnion and struggling to understand his true identity; the amoral space buccaneer Nick Succorso, whose most daring act of piracy could be his last; and Angus Thermopyle, unstoppable cyborg struggling to wrest control of his own mind from his UMC programmers. Amazon.com Review
Punisher is on the run from Billingate Space Station,as well as other predators that follow: UMCP Enforcement Divisiondirector Min Donner aboard a crippled Punisher, Nick'sarchenemy (and slave to the aliens) Sorus Chatelaine aboardSoar, and the mysterious hired gun, Free Lunch. Corruptcyborg Angus Thermopyle and ruthless Nick Succorso battle for controlof the ship and the situation. Their trail leads to Valdor Industrial,where geneticist/engineer Vector Shaheed seeks to redeem himself bymanufacturing an antidote to the mutagen used by the alien Amnioni tomutate human beings against their will. Brutalized yet resilient MornHyland, her clone/son Davies, tough officer Mikki, Pup, Sib, and therest continue their suffering and sacrificing.

Meanwhile, back in Earth space, police and politicians battle forpower as UMCP director Dios continues his grim revolution against theDragon. Assassin kazes, political fears, and provocative billsthreaten to paralyze the Governing Council for Earth and Space.

Ships battling in space? Laboratory space stations developingantimutagen antidotes against the aliens who seek to conquer humankindby mutation? Outrage, brutality, betrayal, and secrets? Donaldson laysit all out with sharp dialogue, tense scenes, and zippy action. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Memorable
Donaldson wrote his 5-book Gap series after finishing the Thomas Covenant set of chronicles.He needed to rest for a bit and simply get away from fantasy (his words as I corresponded with him at the time) --- so therefore he wrote this space epic which is worlds apart from his Covenant books.The Gap books are good but do not expect the same as the covenant books --- and, to get the full effect of the books, they need to be read from volume 1 consecutively...

sadly, these books did not receive the rave reviews from his fans that donaldson was expecting and he was a bit disappointed about that.

since then he has written a number of short stories and other semi-fantasy epics --- however, a few years back he resurrected thomas covenant and the last book of 3 is scheduled to come out this fall...

4-0 out of 5 stars On the brink of war
Following the thrilling "A Dark and Hungry God Arises", Angus Thermopyle and his crew aboard Trumpet flee forbidden space with several craft in pursuit and the Amnioni prepared to commit an act of war to recover or destroy Trumpet.While this is happening, the political struggle back home at Earth between Dios and Fasner intensifies.

Though the plotting is looser and less intense than in Book 3, this is a satisfying tale of cat and mouse.Except with four cats after one mouse.Trumpet, already carrying people and information of vital importance to both species, raises the stakes even higher by paying a visit to a very capable research installation hidden in an asteroid swarm.The ship combat at the end of the book was laughably unrealistic (only one way in and out of the asteroid swarm despite three dimensions of movement??), but it still made for an exciting climax to the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Explosive rescue, force grown kids, cyborgs, implants, and space chases.

The aliens have grown Morn's kid up fast, the asteroid has just blown up, and Nick actually rescues some people this time, including the usual suspects.

Cue space chase and battle, as they still have the problem that nobody seems to like them, from aliens to the mining company.

Working together may be harder than avoiding all this death and destruction given their sordid past.

3 out of 5

4-0 out of 5 stars A wild ride
Yet again there is action, counter-action, plot twists, side stories..it's almost dizzying in its MTVish momentary presentation. Maybe that's why it was either widely acclaimed or panned to the skies.For some time, humans have been working on an anti-alien (mutagen) drug that prevents them from converting to something not human.

Thantos, that hell of a place, explodes and Nick manages to rescue several people including Nick (downgraded from hero to simple pirate with illusions of grandeur), Morn, Davies, her son who was aged rapidy by the evil aliens, the sadist Angus, etc.We have lovers, family, enemies -the whole gambit, from good and bad and they are all on the same small vessel.One undercurrent is the struggle against the evil mining company that has control of their brain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb, best one yet
I felt bad giving A Dark and Hungry God Arises four stars--it was sooo close to five. I'm glad to say that this book is even better than the last. Actually, I see why some people are liking the third one more, as there are differences.

Many people, including myself, raved about the complex political intrigues in the previous book. So many new characters were introduced and fully developed with simultaneous plot development. Sometimes it was a sensory overload...a good sensory overload, but an overload nonetheless.

Chaos and Order sticks with the same characters as in the third one. Consequently, readers are better prepared to deal with the lightning pace of the plot, as they are now familiar with the characters orchestrating it.

The bulk of the story takes place aboard the Trumpet, Angus' ship. Morn, Nick, Angus, Davies, Mikka, Vector, and Ciro agree to head toward the Massif 5 (pardon the potentially incorrect spelling) system in order to concoct a counter to the Amnion biological threat. On their tail, however, are three dangerous ships: the Amnion controlled battleship Calm Horizons, the rogue Free Lunch, and Sorus' Punisher.

This is a great addition to the series with a smattering of unique ideas introduced. I like the singularity gun, with ammunition that upon detonation creates a black hole. I hope This Day All Gods Die can maintain the momentum with which the series has coasted for the past three parts. ... Read more

4. The Runes of the Earth (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 560 Pages (2005-08-30)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$3.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044101304X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
More than twenty years ago, Stephen R. Donaldson set a literary landmark with the first fantasy bestseller. His New York Times bestselling series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, transformed modern fantasy. Now, at long last, Donaldson introduces the first novel of the much-awaited, four-volume finale to the series that's sold more than ten million copies.

Thomas Covenant lost everything. Abandoned by his wife and child, sick and alone, he was transported while unconscious to a magical, dreamlike world called the Land. Convinced it was all a delusion, Covenant was christened The Unbeliever by the Land's inhabitants-but gave his life to save this newfound world he came to regard as precious.

Ten years after Covenant's death, Linden Avery still mourns for her beloved companion. But a violent confrontation with Covenant's son- who is doing the evil Lord Foul's bidding-forces her back to the Land, where a dark malevolence is about to unmake the laws of nature-and of life and death itself.Amazon.com Review

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

Worth the Wait
More than two decades after he completed the Second Chronicles, Stephen R. Donaldson has begun a third series about the leprous Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. In this
Amazon.com exclusive essay, Donaldson explains why The Runes of the Earth has been so long in the making. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (165)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best in the series
Background: I just went back and re-read the entire first two series after some 25 years, and now I'm reading this one.

Contrary to some other reviewers, I enjoyed The Runes of the Earth even more than the first series. It feels richer and more complex, and for me even the "non-action" passages are compellingly good. It also seems driven more by mystery than the previous books, and to me everything fits together just fine. I am also enjoying Linden Avery rather more than Thomas Covenant, as memorable as he is. This has been the best book I've read in a long time.

Side note: I am in the middle of Fatal Revenant now, and I am not enjoying it as much, but that's another review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Donaldson so far.
I haven't completed this book yet. So far it is similar to the previous Covenant books. I really like it so far. Hope it continues that way!

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back Mr. Donaldson!
Stephen R. Donaldson's The Runes of the Earth brings us back to The Land where Thomas Covenant was the White Gold Wielder. For those of you who have not read the first six books of this series you'll want to start with Lord Foul's Bane. Mr. Donaldson does not disappoint in this much anticipated sequel set thousands of years after the first 2 series. I won't get into details because I really don't want to give away anything from the first 6 books for those of you who may be interested. However this time around we are following Dr. Linden Avery as she is transported back into The Land that she shared with her love Thomas Covenant. Although it had only been ten years in the real world thousands of years have passed in The Land. Mr. Donaldson does what he does best and that's get inside the head of the characters in such a way that you feel their innermost parts. Their thoughts and emotions are just as much an adventure as the story that unfolds around them. I can do nothing but praise these books for what they are...true fantasy at it's finest.

One of the most important things that I appreciated about this book is that Mr. Donaldson took the time to recap all six previous books and the main plot. Since it has been several years since the previous six books this was refreshing for me personally. Typical of his books they start out a little slow for my liking however once you get past the first couple chapters (yet still very important) you are transported into a fantasy off epic proportions. (I always wanted to say that)

I give The Runes of the Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant a rating of MUST READ for all you fantasy fans out there. I would however caution folks that this is not an easy read but a bit more complex than the average fantasy book that I've read in a while.

Daniel L Carter
Author of The Unwanted Trilogy

3-0 out of 5 stars Wordy
'The Runes of the Earth' is the first book in the 'The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant', this coming some 20 years after the publication of 'The Second Chronicles'. It's good to be back in the Land but 'Runes of the Earth' is definitely a weak link in the series. Donaldson is even more verbose than in prior books and the plot moves forward very slowly as the events of the prior books rehashed over and over. The result is that not much new seems to happen in this one. Also not much seems to have changed in the Land in the many centuries since Linden was last there, the same peoples, cultures even the same villages. It might as well have been five years since Linden was last in the Land, for all the difference it makes.
It all seems very stale, hopefully the next book in the series will add something new.

1-0 out of 5 stars Way to long and uninteresting
I have previously read all of the CTC and enjoyed them. So I bought this book thinking they would be as good.Sadly this one isn't.It's way too long and complicated.Too slow a read to be engaging. ... Read more

5. Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Hardcover: 640 Pages (2007-10-09)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$5.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002PJ4HS0
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The long-awaited sequel to The Runes of the Earth returns readers to the Land-and opens with the reunion of Linden Avery and Thomas Covenant!

Linden Avery, who loved Thomas Covenant and watched him die, has returned to the Land in search of her kidnapped son, Jeremiah. As Fatal Revenant begins, Linden watches from the battlements of Revelstone when the impossible happens-riding ahead of the hordes attacking Revelstone are Jeremiah and Covenant himself, apparently very much alive.

Here in the Land, Jeremiah is healed of the mental condition that had kept him mute and unresponsive for so many years. He is full of life, and devoted to Covenant. But Covenant is strangely changed. Sarcastic and bragging, he no longer seems like the man whom Linden adored. And yet he says he has a plan: he will take her and Jeremiah to a place where they can find a pure source of Earthpower and, after he has achieved his own purposes, Linden will be free to use that great power to go home, to take Jeremiah home, or to do anything else she sees fit. Even though she distrusts the seemingly different man he has now become, how can she make any choice except to follow him?

Their journey will cover unimaginable distances through the Land-even through time itself-and will test Linden's courage again and again. In the end, fulfilling her destiny will call for a terrible leap of faith: Can she give up everything she thought had been restored to her, for the sake of the Land? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (99)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ok but not the best
This is not the best Thomas Covenant book Stephen Donaldson has written but it's still ok . . .

3-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson
The Donaldson series has been wonderful.I look forward to reading this addition when time permits.

1-0 out of 5 stars Review of "Fatal Revenant" by Stephen R Donaldson
Fatal Revenant is book 2 of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I have to say that after so many years I was pretty stoked about this four book series and was happy with the first book The Runes of the Earth. However I can't say the same for Fatal Revenant.

Warning!!! The following contains spoilers.

Linden Avery is a great character. She is compassionate, a mother, a doctor and intricately connected to The Land that makes up this fantasy series. Having said all of that I am exceedingly disappointed with the stupidity of this character in book 2. At the end of book 1 we are left with Linden Avery being confronted by none other than the deceased Thomas Covenant and her autistic son Jeremiah who is apparently no longer afflicted by his condition. She's confronted by these two figures and the conflict to believe or not to believe they are who they say they are begins. I'm sorry Mr. Donaldson but it's very evident that they aren't who they say they are and if you want us to believe that Linden Avery would somehow be fooled by this is not plausible. I feel like I'm not given enough credit as I read page after page of mind games between the three characters. The only reason I read to the end was in hopes that I was somehow wrong and you had strung me along to emphasize the twist. But alas nothing. The end of book 2 is exactly what I thought it would be from the very beginning and the two Fatal Revenants (Fake Thomas Covenant & fake Jeremiah) do not surprise me to find out they are not the real people. This was a waste of an entire book and a waste of my time and money. If the last 2 books are anything like this one then it becomes apparent that the only reason for this series is to make more money and not to actually tell a story. I cannot recommend this book. I give it a rating of Waste of Time!

5-0 out of 5 stars I promised myself I wouldn't read it yet!
The first 3 chapters of Lord Foul's Bane took me months to finally push through.And then I rushed to the bookstore and bought the rest of what was out at the time. That included The Wounded Land, at the time. I missed 2 days of work because I was, quite literally, not able to stop reading. I've read Tolkien countless times...and The First Chronicles, plus The Wounded Land, twice as much. I've never gotten so completely engrossed in a series of books in my entire life. I was held hostage by the slowness of the release dates of the remainder of the second series. The guy at the local bookstore probably got real tired of seeing me. And I was really ticked off by the Trek-worthy 10 minute wrap up and the implied incompleteness.

Then the first book of the last series came out and I let it sit and gather dust. Then the second book came out and I resisted buying it until the 3rd book was nearing the release date. I intended to let that one gather dust also. I promised myself that I wouldn't put myself through the torture of waiting again.And the temptation of having 2 unread books got to be too great. I told myself "1 chapter per day".Yeah...right.Now I'm stuck waiting...again. And at Mr. Donaldson's mercy...again.

I wasn't bothered by the time travel. Things always turn out the way they're supposed to...even if its not obvious at the time.I can see a few possible outcomes.... I, by design, see at least 2 desirable "hook ups".Only one that is remotely possible...and the other that will, quite predictably, not happen due to the almost certain death of my favorite character in this particular series, although I hope to be proven wrong.

Actually, I feel sorry for Mr. Donaldson. It isn't possible for him to write anything better than the Thomas Covenant series. It isn't possible for *anybody* to write anything better.The only possible equal is the Lord of the Rings trilogy (not to be confused with the Lord of the Dance, which is surpassed by almost everything). It must be terrible for your masterwork to be the first thing that gets published.

But I'm glad to have had the great fortune to have readit...I hope. I've suffered through the ridicule of a fewgood friends who took exception at the "misuse of the English language"."Sarcasm doesn't drip!" they say, but I thought that the "misuse" was utter genius. I've never had a fictional universe seem so alive. I could probably find my way around the Land (in its first trilogy form) easier than my home state. But depending on how it ends, I may wish that I stopped at the first trilogy.Not that it was ever an option....

Lordy, I hope it doesn't take too long for the 4th book to come out. It's going to be hard enough to wait the 2+ months for the 3rd one....

1-0 out of 5 stars Just kill me now
I have made it through about 40% of Fatal Revenant.I swallowed "lacustrine roborant", thinking it an amusing display.Then, I came across a passage where in the space of half of a page (hardback) I found 3 words which I did not recognize,and I am no stranger to unusual vocabulary (however immodest that claim might sound).The author's penchant, whatever its motivation, of injecting extraordinarily obscure words into his prose *gets in the way* of enjoying the book.While I do wish to know how the story resolves - the overall plot is somewhat intriguing - between this obnoxious writing style, and the extreme self loathing found in the protaganist (see numerous other reviews) I cannot imagine finishing this book and facing the 3rd and final installment.Therefore, I am doing something I have never in my life done - leaving a book unfinished. ... Read more

6. Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 494 Pages (1997-06-23)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$16.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345418433
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The first book in one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.
He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero....

From the Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (363)

3-0 out of 5 stars Average
Had reasonably high expectations for this book after some of the reviews but found it a bit boring, and really struggled with some bits.

"i'm a leper" is a favourite cry of Covenant yet no one in the book at any time asks him to explain exactly what this is (as they don't have Lepers in the Land).

People like the Giant and Lord Morham call him their friend in what seems like all sincerety when all he has done is bitch and been in general a completelty unlikable character with no traits that would want to make him your friend.

All in all you can find better books that a) have more action if that's what you're after or b) bring characters, places to life much better than this one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Decent Story - Bad characters
The story is pretty good and all three books in the series are relatively fast reads, but the main and central character is so unlikeable and consistently annoying that it ruins the experience.

2-0 out of 5 stars Impressive, to be sure, but not enjoyable.
Many of the other reviewers have already said much about the author's writing talent, and agreeing with them, I won't go into that.My problem is that I can't-- or don't want to-- identify with the main character.
Thomas Covenant is presented as one of the most pitiful, repulsive protagonists any author ever invented: a man wholly eaten up with bitterness and self-hatred, who commits unspeakable acts while lost in his warped perception of reality.I'm sure we can all identify with, at some point in our lives, the feeling of hopeless uselessness; but the tone of the entire book is also cynical, morose, and sombre to the extreme, so unless you are a confirmed masochist, the reading of this work will leave you more depressed than you'd ever want to be.
Granted, this is all personal opinion.I've seen this writing compared to Faulkner's, and the Faulkner I was forced to read in college left the same ugly taste-- a general feeling that the world is hopeless, doomed, and meaningless.Myself, I spent the whole book screaming at Covenant to man up, grow a pair, accept his lot, and deal with it; he only continued bemoaning his fate and lashing out at other people, with disastrous results.Admittedly, I probably should have paid more attention, but when I picked the book up I was expecting a fantasy epic, not a study of defeatism.
The author does try to make you think about many difficult questions (meaning of reality, life, etc. - all mentioned by top reviewers), but almost always with a negative twist.Also, if you're intelligent enough to read through this book, all of these arguments have occurred to you before anyway.The one thing I'm glad of having read is the poem Covenant 'makes up' as a joke, which contains the lines, "These are the pale deaths / Which men miscall their lives".Reading this prompted me to look up the origin online, so without this book I would likely have gone through my whole life assuming the lines were penned by Cliff Burton.
In summation? In his struggle to make us think, the author has forgotten to entertain.I don't read recreationally unless it's going to enliven or uplift my spirits, and the overall tone of this work effectively nullified any affection I would have felt for any of the more jovial characters, instead leaving me determined to forget this book ever existed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst ever
I have never read a book that was more boring. This book was just awful. I didn't even make it half way through this book. It was torture even getting as far as I did. I always read through the entire book no matter how I feel about it because sometimes a book starts off slow. However this book just sucked more and more the further I go into it. I only brought this book because of the reviews others gave. This is the 1st time that the amazon customer reviews has let me down. I don't write reviews often but I had to review this book. I didn't want to give any stars but that is not an option.

5-0 out of 5 stars can't beat this price!!!
1cent!Yeah just 1 cent and came much faster then I was told it would, and book came exactly like it was described ... Read more

7. Daughter of Regals
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Hardcover: Pages (1984-06)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$35.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0937986631
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The first-ever collection of short fantasy fiction from the award-winning author of the Thomas Covenant trilogies.Stephen Donaldson is one of the undisputed masters of modern fantasy, and his two award-winning Thomas Covenant trilogies and the Mordant's Need series are universally recognised as classics of their kind.Daughter of Regals, his first short-story collection, was originally published in 1984 and contains eight superb stories -- including 'Gilden-Fire', the famous out-take from The Illearth War (volume II of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant).Now, Daughter of Regals is being repackaged and reissued to accompany Voyager's publication of Reave the Just, Stephen Donaldson's stunning new collection of short stories -- his first work of mainstream fantasy for more than ten years.Includes the following stories: Daughter of Regals / Gilden-Fire / Mythological Beast / The Lady in White / Animal Lover / Unworthy of the Angel / The Conqueror Worm / Ser Visal's Tale ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Really Great and I'm not even a Steven R. Donaldson fan
I got bored with the Thomas Covenant series and only read the 2nd one because the books happened to be in the free books at the library when it wasnt open. I didn't mind his sci-fi series, either, but it wasn't superb.

This is by far my favorite Donaldson book, and the title novella is awesome.

4-0 out of 5 stars 'Princess Gets Her Own Back!'
In this excellent fantasy short story, the theme of monarchial sucession is dealt with from the insider's point of view.

Of course all is not simple nor magic free (after all this is Stephen Donaldson!), and the heir apparant finds herself pitted against high born rivals, sexy traitors, personal assault and worst of all self doubt..that she is REAL?

Confused?read the book, it is short and unputdownable, and then tell me afterwards....what would you have been? ... Read more

8. The Illearth War (Donaldson, Stephen R. , Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, Bk. 2.)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 424 Pages (1997-06-23)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$14.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345418441
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The second volume in the epic Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
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 ring, he didn't know how to use its strength, and risked losing everything....

From the Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (68)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading for pleasure
The Thomas Covenant Chronicles by Stephen R. Donaldson are the books that I used to indoctronate my oldest son to reading for pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars can't beat this price!!!
1cent!Yeah just 1 cent and came much faster then I was told it would, and book came exactly like it was described

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Series
I used to have this whole series and had to replace it when my original set was tossed out. It was very good reading then, so I had to get it so I could reread it.
I would recommend this entire set to anyone who really likes science-fanticy fiction!
Thank You,
Albert Cantin

4-0 out of 5 stars Part two of First Chronicle
'The Illearth War' is the second part of the 'Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'. In this installment Covenant returns just a week later in real time, to find that 40 years has passed in the Land. Lord Foul is on the move and High Lord Elena has summoned him in the Land's time of need.
Part of the problem with the first installment, 'Lord Foul's Bane', was that Covenant was so bitter and unsympathetic. This time Covenant is basically absent for the middle section of the book, giving the reader some respite from Covenant's perpetual dourness. The middle section centers on Hile Troy, another person from the real world. In the first book Donaldson tried to make it ambiguous whether the Land was 'real' or just a creation of Covenant's fevered mind. Centering the story on Troy with Covenant absent for so long weakens that plot device although Donaldson tries to reinforce it again at the end of the book.
Even when Covenant is front and center he doesn't do anything. His relationship with Elena borders on the incestuous and makes for some cringe inducing scenes. Still for all that, it is a good book, although if I remember correctly the next one,' The Power That Preserves' is the best of the first trilogy

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Nutted back to The Land.

A whack on the head has Covenant back in the fantasy realm, and discovering that several decades have passed since he was there last.

He is in now in the middle of a war buildup, with new politicians, magic wielders and others to deal with, although the Bloodguard still stand.

So, your good old nasty quest to find a magic item of power you may or may not know what to do with.

Plus a couple of large battles.

... Read more

9. Stephen R. Donaldson and the Modern Epic Vision: A Critical Study of the "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" Novels (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy)
by Christine Barkley
Paperback: 223 Pages (2009-05-13)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786442883
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This critical study analyzes Stephen R. Donaldson's role as a modern writer who uses the fantasy genre to discuss situations and predicaments germane to the modern world. Donaldson reclaims an epic vision in his Thomas Covenant novels that is lacking in most modern literature. Chapters demonstrate how this use of epic heroism helps solve seemingly insurmountable problems and provides more meaning and purpose for individuals. As Donaldson's characters learn to transcend their world, the reader is engaged in a serious, enlightened discussion about the need for imagination, responsibility and acceptance to resolve such problems as alienation, pollution, disease and despair. ... Read more

10. The Man Who Killed His Brother
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 240 Pages (2003-10-19)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$92.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765341255
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Mick "Brew" Axbrewder was once a great P.I.That was before he accidentally shot and killed a cop-worse, a cop who happened to be his own brother.Now he only works now and then, as muscle for his old partner, Ginny Fistoulari. It's a living.And it provides an occasional opportunity for him to dry out.

But their latest case demands more than muscle. Brew's dead brother's daughter has disappeared. His brother's widow wants him and Ginny to in-vestigate.And both of them seem to expect him to sober up. Because the darkness they're finding un-der the surface of Sunbelt city Puerto del Sol goes beyond one missing teenager. Axbrewder will need all his talents to confront that darkness. Most of all, he'll need to confront his own worst enemy-him-self.

Over two decades ago, bestselling author Ste-phen R. Donaldson published three novels about Mick Axbrewder and Ginny Fistoulari, as pa-perback originals under the pseudonym "Reed Stephens."More recently, under his own name, Donaldson published a new novel in the se-quence, The Man Who Fought Alone.Now, for Donaldson's millions of readers worldwide, the first of the original books The Man Who Killed His Brother appears under Donaldson's own name, in revised and expanded form.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson lite
Donaldson has stated in an interview that he writes an Axbrewder mystery each time he finishes writing a major series of books, in order to recover.(This is the first of four such mysteries, written after the first chronicles of Thomas Covenant and originally published around 1980.)Likewise, if you have just finished reading something ponderous and need a break, this is a fun easy read.The book moves along quickly, and is written in the crisp prose style of Donaldson's non-Covenant books.Donaldson's usual darkness and angst is here (alcoholism, guilt over accidentally killing brother, etc.), but not as heavy as in some of his other books.Some of the details of the story are a bit dated, but I found this to be interesting rather than a detraction.Donaldson fans who are willing to depart from science fiction and fantasy should enjoy this.I am not a mystery buff so I can't really compare this to other mysteries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson surprises--again
Most people are only acquainted with Donaldson's Thomas Covenant trilogies and are unaware that he has written other fantasy (Mordant's Need), sci-fi (The "Gap" series) and mysteries ("The Man Who" books). What I appreciate most about Donaldson's body of work is his dedication to his stories and his characters.The Man Who Killed His Brother does not disappoint on either count.

I believe I also must note that I don't usually read mysteries because most mystery writers insult their audience by giving too many clues or too few; the stupidity of an otherwise-smart character is often counted on to advance the plot; red herrings are so obvious they might as well be printed in red letters. Donaldson manages to give his readers information without condescending yet still manages to keep you guessing until the end.In The Man Who Killed His Brother, the actual perpetrator doesn't even show up till the last third of the book, and he seems a bit creepy from the get-go.Very refreshing, since most mystery formulas call for a bad guy to be present throughout and play a game of cat-and-mouse while putting forth an appearance of goodness to divert suspicion,which fools clever readers not at all.

Mick Axbrewder is a private investigator and sometimes-recovering alcoholic whose 13-year-old niece has disappeared.Several other girls her age have disappeared in his community over the past couple of years and later been found dead, so Mick also has the challenge of working against the clock while fighting withdrawal after a drinking binge. I won't give huge spoilers, but this is niece is particularly close to her Uncle "Brew," particularly since the recent death of her father.However, she doesn't know of certain events in Axbrewder's past. The world is pretty black-and-white for a good many young teens, and Axbrewder also faces the challenge of remaining worthy of her love; eventually he will have to be honest with her--if he's even able to find her and save her.That is another gift of Donaldson's.He presents flawed but believeable characters you can't help but like in spite of their flaws.Also gutsy, to present a substance abuser as a worthy character.All his characters in all his books have to find inner strength to forgive others and to redeem themselves.

This non-reader-of-mysteries highly recommends this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Strange Brew
Part of the genius of this hard boiled detective book is that its author is so well known for another genre (fantasy/sci-fi) that one may expect this to be the adventures of Tom Covenant, private dick, but it absolutely isn't. Other than having the hero with a tragic flaw (this time being an alcoholic rather than a leper), this book is so different in style and substance than Donaldson's other works that it could have been written by another author. Very grim. Very hard boiled. Very decent detective story. Very angst ridden. And very good. Axebrewer starts the book in the throes of his alcoholism, a malady so bad that he once accidentaly killed his brother while under the influence, but when his brother's little girl is kidnapped and slated for murder, he must claw his way up through the pain of sobriety to track down her abductor. Come at this looking for good crime noir rather than a detective book by a fanatsy writer and you won't be disappointed. My closest comparison is Andrew Vachss, which I consider very high praise indeed.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre effort
While not entirely lacking in emotional resonance, this book is definitely a drop in quality from Donaldson's science fiction and fantasy. I got the impression that he tosses these mysteries off, for fun and without much attention to detail, between writing the books he really cares about. It's not that it's entirely unworthwhile, but mostly the characters resonate only in two dimensions, and come off as insanely obtuse. The plot is so simplistic as to be laughable. You'll have it figured out by Chapter Two. This can be a fun, quick read nevertheless, but don't expect the grace, dignity, and care that Donaldson generously lavishes on his sci-fi/fantasy works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well Done Hard Boiled Dectective Story
Stephen Donaldson is better known for his fantasy and science fiction, but anyone reading this hard-boiled detective story will have no doubt that this is an authentic Donaldson work.Mick "Brew" Axbrewder is an alcoholic ex-private eye who accidently shot his police officer brother while trying to stop a robbery.His ex-partner and occassional love interest wants him to dry out so that he can track down his niece, who has gone missing.But in trying to find his niece, Axbrewder discovers some truly disturbing secrets.Even for detective fiction, this is dark stuff.Donaldson seems to know the psychology of an alcoholic very well, and he writings convincingly about Axbrewder's struggles with liquor.The plot is top-notch, and the characters are convincing and human.I cared what happened to Axbrewder and his partner, and was actually shocked at some of the horrors they uncovered.The biggest problem with the book is that the plot has some holes; it is extremely difficult to accept that a police department would blithly ignore seven 12 and 13-year old girls showing up dead within a two-year period.Still, you can see, even twenty years ago, that Donaldson had talent, and it is nice to see this book reissued. ... Read more

11. The Real Story: The Gap into Conflict
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 272 Pages (1992-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553295098
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
With an enormous corporation controlling all of explored space in an era of a faster-than-light travel known as ""crossing the gap,"" Morn Hyland flees from the military police she once served and joins space pirate, Angus Thermopyle. Reprint.Amazon.com Review
The Real Story is a short but intense tale set in afuture in which humans travel between the stars using "gapdrives," controllable brain implants are punishable by death, anda private company called the United Mining Company runs lawenforcement for all of known space. Ensign Morn Hyland lives aboard apolice ship with most of her family, chasing down pirates and otherillegals who prey on the weak or smuggle goods into forbidden space.

Through a strange turn of events, one particularly nastyperpetrator ends up with Morn as his companion--or at least that's theway it appears to the folks at the space station's bar. Why would ayoung, strong, beautiful police officer associate with a crusty,murdering pirate? People watch with interest as Morn appears to fallin lust with another racy illegal, Captain Nick Succorso. Morn andNick must have plotted together to frame Angus and escape together,right? But the real story was quite different. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (101)

2-0 out of 5 stars Succeeds in Its Aims, but Fails on a Broader Scale
"Most of the crowd at Mallorys Bar & Sleep over in Delta Sector had no idea what was really going on. As far as they were concerned, it was just another example of animal passion, men and women driven together by lust - the kind of thing everybody understood, or at least dreamed about. The only uncommon feature was that in this case the passion included some common sense. Only a few people knew there was more to it.
That, of course, was not the real story." (p. 1-6)

The Real Story opens by giving us the general view of what happened between two space pirates over a woman. What we see is bland and predictable. It is not, of course, what really happened. Next we're shown the experts' point of view those same events, probing deeper beneath the surface. That is not the whole picture either, however. Finally, we're shown the real story, played out scene by agonizing and unilluminated scene, and we come to understand the intricacies of Donaldson's creation.

Donaldson's central conceit is to begin with a classic Antagonist-Victim-Rescuer triangle and turn it on his head, with Donaldson saying as much in the afterword:

"My original intentions were explicitly archetypical. What I had in mind was an aesthetically perfect variation on the basic three-sided story: the story in which a victim (Morn), a Villain (Angus), and a Rescuer (Nick) all change roles...Victimized by Angus, Morn is recued by Nick - but that, of course, is not the real story. The real story has to do with the way in which Nick becomes Angus's victimizer and Morn becomes Angus's rescuer." (p. 224-225)

In this, Donaldson moves with power and subtlety. From the opening, Angus Thermopyle seems a standard villain, vain, greedy, run down, powerful, and all but cackling. As the narrative progresses, however, we come to truly understand (though still revile) him. Morn Hyland's character, on the other hand, doesn't become deeper, but rather shallower, in devastating, heart wrenching, and drawn out torments. The final member of our subverted triangle, Nick, is viewed only on the periphery, for most of the story, but he is handled as well as the other two.

There are two main problems with The Real Story, however. The first of them is the sheer grimness of Donaldson's vision. Now, I like dark fiction. I think that, imply what it may about my psyche, the most interesting stories are the ones that hurt the most, that make us reel back and try to shy away. In The Real Story, Donaldson has plenty of that. What he has absolutely none of, however, is contrast. There are no, and I mean that quite literally, uplifting moments in The Real Story. None.

This isn't a black and white drama, but I'm not sure if it's necessarily more complex. We aren't talking about that new fad of gray versus black. This isn't even gray versus gray. The Real Story is full on black versus black, pitch battling midnight, with an is-that-black-or-just-a-really-really-dark-gray watching from the sidelines. If black and white morality can be criticized for taking the human element out and exculpating the characters from all meaningful moral choices, this is the same. By painting everyone in an equally despicable light, Donaldson shirks away from any real moral dilemmas to the same degree, no longer a battle between Rand and the Dark One, it's just the Dark One squaring off with Sauron, innocent slaughtering, sadistic, misogynistic pirate versus innocent slaughtering, sadistic, misogynistic pirate.

The other major problem with The Real Story results from the interesting opening and increasingly deep conceptions of just what happened. Now, I think that the structure of the book was extremely well done, and I was curious as to just how certain events played out when everything began, but the real story turns out to be far too similar to the experts' conception of it. Yes, over the two hundred pages of narrative we get more motivations, some events that those experts didn't imagine, etc, but on the whole, our initial grasp of what happened is pretty much sufficient to extract all suspense from the story, turning nail biting fight scenes into yeah, I know how this ends. Can we speed things up a tad?

The Real Story set out with a very specific concept in mind and succeeded perfectly in its aim. Unfortunately, its narrow focus led to a whole host of other problems, and I'm unsure if that one success really justifies the flaws of the story. I suppose that this volume's worthiness will really depend on the strengths of its sequels. On its own, however, I'd only advise checking out The Real Story if the concept is something you feel you need to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Necessary set-up for a major character in an epic story
I guess I should give this five stars since there's no other way to write something like this, really; and it's an important set-up for the story ahead.This book is brutal, disturbing, and short-- if it wasn't short, it would be impossible to finish.

The Real Story serves nothing more than the purpose of setting up the characters of Angus Thermopyle, Morn Hyland, and Nick Succorso; and gives frame of reference to events later referenced as minor parts of larger plot devices, simply for anchoring.Still, the circumstances of these characters requires some explanation; besides the mechanics, they all seem to have huge psychological issues.This book explains Morn's; Angus' and Nick's are later explained, deep in the story.

The story requires unique attention to Morn's development specifically because the depth of her mental disorders defies simplistic explanations like "her mommy never loved her" or "she was abused as a child," or "she watched her family die."Explanations like these are used for other characters later, revealed in thoughts, anecdotes, dialog, flashbacks, the like; but they only give shape to believable emotional scarring.

Morn's emotional damage, on the other hand, doesn't border neurosis; neurosis doesn't even begin to describe it.To explain such a condition in terms of vague references and flashbacks would portray her as a weak character that couldn't handle a scarring and unfortunate situation, at all; it would show a complete psychological disaster in the face of something that should have been deeply upsetting, but not so much.Further, the huge disconnect between her ability to function as well as she does under stress of such memories and the immense impact of those memories on her emotional character would create a completely unbelievable character.

Instead, The Real Story sets up her character by following her traumas, brutally.By the time the reader finishes the novel, he will be deeply immersed in his own feeling.Deep graphic details are only alluded to, not strongly described; in this way, enough fast content comes to bombard the reader with the most disturbing, disgusting sequence of events imaginable.The story quickly becomes upsetting; the characters garner sympathy and hatred; and the reader will see all of Morn's future behavior as pretty much normal.

The Real Story is a horrible story as it stands.It cannot stand on its own.It is the most disturbing, unsatisfying thing you could possibly read.It exists solely to establish facts and an empathy for characters that follow in the remainder of The Gap Cycle; and it satisfies that need extremely well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kindle availability
The Gap Cycle consists of:

1. The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story, Bantam/Spectra, 1990
2. The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge, Bantam/Spectra, 1991
3. The Gap into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises, Bantam/Spectra, 1992
4. The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order, Bantam/Spectra, 1994
5. The Gap into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die, Bantam/Spectra, 1996

Only books 1 and 3 are available at this time (June 2010) on Kindle.All are from the same publisher so why are not all available on Kindle?It is quite frustrating.Please get the whole cycle onto Kindle.

5-0 out of 5 stars We need more nightmarishly dark stories.
Angus Thermopyle is truly vile. Revolting, worthless, and at his core, evil in the most contemptible ways. Science Fiction needs many more heroes like him.
We have many admirable SciFi heroes. But we meet Angus as a monster, and his ruination and redemption IS an epic. No apologies to Wagner required.

Sure, we love David Weber's Honor Harrington. But characters like her cannot fail, they cannot fall. Their souls are never in jeopardy. When Angus begins to even HAVE a soul, it is a fragile, precious thing. It's survival is always in doubt, even past the end of the work.

If this book was boring, stupid, or poorly written, then there would be no excuse for the long slog through the filth and gore that this book chronicles. But it is expertly crafted, brilliant, and riveting.

There is much more to love and hate about this book, but it certainly deserves to be very widely read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great story
Simply one of the best, if not the best science fiction I have ever read. Stephen R. Donaldson is an excellent writer, but his entire Gap series is great. The first book has some brutal, sick moments, but it all comes together, and I think is necessary for the story to be what it is. The characters start off kind of shallow, especially in the first book. But, it's basically an overview, an introduction, backround. They quickly become more complex, and with Stephen R. Donaldson's writing style, ( In the Thomas Covenant books, he was a little over describing and melodramatic), it becomes his characters and thier trials. It just works. Also, he backs his futuristic technology, with what I consider very realistic, scientific explanations. I'm no physicist, but it sounds about right to me.
Also, his characters to me, seemed very realistic. I just really liked these books. ... Read more

12. The Atlas of the Land: A Complete Guide to the Strange and Magical Land of Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
by Karen Wynn Fonstad
Paperback: 201 Pages (1985-10-12)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0345314336
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great for Covenant fans, but worst of Fonstads atlases
While any Thomas Covenant fan will undoubtedly enjoy this book, it is the least detailed of Fonstad's Atlases.No color and some of the pages are sparse on illustration.This is the Fonstad's first atlas (others being atlases of Pern, Middle-Earth and the Dragonlance world), and it shows in this atlas.

On the other hand, it does do a great job on visualizing Donaldson's world, reguardless of comparison to the other atlases.

Good book, but the other atlases are much better.

3-0 out of 5 stars fonstad's weakest atlas
while impressed with the ammount of detail that fonstad put into the middle-earth and dragonlance atlas', the atlas of the land seems almost bland in comparison (most likely because this was fonstad's first book).most of the pages have barely anything on them, and the maps confuse the time periods from both trilogies.the areas are listed by region, seemingly jumping around from place to place and time period to time period seemingly at random, rather than chronilogically from both the covenant books.even worse, there are hardly any cross-sections, which fonstad excelled at with the dragonlance atlas.what a pity.if you're a die-hard covenant fan, this may be worth an absolute maximum of $25, but otherwise you're best suited to your imagination - you will be dissapointed otherwise.

5-0 out of 5 stars What an excellent piece of work!
A definite must for any Donaldson reader!I can't imagine the amount of work that must have went into the construction of this book!The Land comes to life through meticulously researched and constructed illustrationsand maps.Virtually all of the places presented in both the Covenantseries are illustrated and scaled.Maps of Covenant's journey are drawn toscale and labeled to correspond to events in the series.A superblyresearched and constructed work. The perfect companion to one of (if notthe greatest) fantasy series of all time.Excellent excellent excellent!Since this book is out of print, if Amazon can't get one for you, go toEBay and bid on one.You can't fully appreciate the Covenant serieswithout having read it with Karen's book at your side.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Altas of the Land was clear,concise and engaging.
I found Karen Vonstad's The Altas of the Land to be an exhaustive geographic representation of every inch of the Land.It was delightful to see Donaldson's words portayed in a graphic map-like format.I've readboth chronicles multiple times and this book filled in blank spaces thathad persisted through the many readings. I found myself engaged with everyinch of the plot as I moved geographically through the Land.A thoroughlyimpressive work and excellent companion to the chronicles themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent pictorial representation of The Land
I purchased this book in between reading the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. After reading the First Chronicles, I had a great admiration for Mr. Donaldsons depiction of Thomas Covenant and his journeys through The Land. He tells an outstanding story (which remains my favorite fantasy series to this day). It was not until I read Ms Fonstad's Atlas of the Land that I acquired a truly indepth feel for The Land. Thanks to this work, I feel as though I have actually been to the places Covenant had been. She includes maps of all the locations Covenant visited in all four of his translations to the land. Highly recommended. ... Read more

13. The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 3)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (1987-10-12)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345348672
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"A trilogy of remarkable scope and sophistication."
Twice before Thomas Covenant had been summoned to the strange other-world where magic worked. Twice before 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 was back. This time the Lords of Revelstone were desperate. Without hope, Covenant set out to confront the might of the enemy, as Lord Foul grew more powerful with every defeat for the Land....
... Read more

Customer Reviews (57)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ties the first two together
I do not recommend this book if you haven't read the first two in the series. Once I read this one I understood better the emotional state of the main character, Thomas Covenant. It focus a lot on the inner struggle of the main character but there is constant reference to characters that were introduced earlier in the series. It is a good read but won't have a clear ending since the story is left open for the next in the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Last of the first chronicles
'The Power That Preserves' is the last book in the first 'Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'. Covenant returns to the land after a few days in the real world where is health and state of mind have deteriorated considerably. When he returns to the Land he finds that seven years have passed and the Land is in dire straits as Lord Foul has besieged the Lords at Revelstone and the Land is permanently in winter.
This is the best of the first trilogy as the various threads are brought together and concluded. As well Covenant has lost almost all his bitterness and has come to terms with the land even if he still does not believe its reality. The parallels between Covenant's health and the well being of the land is most explicit in this book- Lord Foul is the leprosy of the Land and if Covenant can 'cure' the land then Covenant can if not cure his own leprosy at least come to terms with it.A good conclusion to an excellent series, but it would get even better with the second chronicles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
High Lord summons.

Called back to the Land because they are in trouble again, Covenant finds only a few years have passed, not a few decades as per last time.

Things are still bad with Fouly now having control of Elena after her screwup last time.

The Bloodguard have also given the High Lord et al. the arse, and decided to go hang out with the giants and horses and try and hep out there.

Covenant is left with some tough decisions on what to do, including being about to save the life of a little girl in the real world.

3.5 out of 5

5-0 out of 5 stars At Last Wild Magic Erupts!
The first trilogy of "Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" was Donaldson's initial opus and launched him to immediate consideration of public & critics.

One great thing about this trilogy is that it was conceived as a whole and complete work. The other Covenant's trilogies were product of editors, market and public pressure exerted on Donaldson to continue writing adventure using this great scenery.
What do I mean with this comment? Well...that reader won't be disappointed with an open end as some time occurs with sagas &series.

Donaldson's proposal is quite risky.
The main character is a sick man unable to compromise with the fantastic universe that deploys before him. The reader will certainly not identify with Covenant's sour & bitter personality.
Nevertheless a powerful story is constructed over this implausible pillar!

"The Power That Preserves" is the third and closing volume of the trilogy and I strongly recommend reading the first two volumes before start reading this one. It is true that the author provides a two page summary of what happened before, nevertheless The Land scenery & characters is too complex to be understood with that intro only, and the reader risk to get confused and even bored.

The tale is as follows: after a second return to our own world, Thomas is recalled to the Land. Yet this time he is able to refuse returning and when he effectively and almost voluntarily returns there is a subtle difference: Covenant is in his own skewed way compromises with the Land.

This time a malignant unnatural Winter froze the Land and the soul of its inhabitants. Lord's Keep is under siege. The Giants are annihilated. The Rhiannon are decimated and the Ramen are frenzied. Stonedownors are dispersed and thrown into wilderness. Bloodguard disbanded. Ur-viles, ghouls and wicked Foul's armies are free and destroying everything.

From this starting point two main & parallel stories evolve.
One line follows the defense of Lord's Keep.
The other line follows Covenant and his small band attempting the impossible: reaching Foul's Crèche and confronting the Evil one in person.

In this third volume of the saga each character will be confronted with its own past acts and their consequences. Each of them should pay the highest price and will reach a point of supreme decision.

IMHO this volume is the best in the trilogy. There are not only adventures tales in this book, there are ethical & philosophical issues to be solved by characters and readers!

It is great book that may be enjoyed by fantasy fans and general public as well! But remember read Book One and Two first!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for the Clinically Depressed
This book should come with a warning on the cover "Do Not Read if You Are Suffering From Depression".The first 2/3rds of this book is just so bleak and dreary that depressed people may commit suicide just from reading it.The only good thing I can say about the first 2/3rs of the book is that at least Thomas Covenant is not his usually whining self.His attitude has at least improved in this book and he becomes a man of action........problem is that he can't decide what action to take.Although there is plenty of death and small victories for the evil followers of Lord Foul, not much really happens in this book.Revelstone is under siege (boring until the last battle), and the rest of the characters wander around aimlessly getting slaughtered by the evil ones.Thomas Covenant first decides to do battle with Foul, then he decides that is the stupidest thing he could do, then in the end he battles Foul anyhow?The logic of his decisions is never really explained in the book.It almost seemed that the author was trying to decide whether to end the series with 3 books or go for a 4th, and then finally decides to end it quickly.

I didn't like the ending.All the death and sacrifice of all the other characters in all the other battles in this book and the other books seemed like a total waste.All that was really needed all along was to put Covenant and Foul together in the same room.Covenant still didn't understand his power, only how to trigger it.All the other death and sacrifice didn't really make sense.Covenant and the Giant basically saved the world by themselves.It seemed that all the other events in this and previous books did nothing to contribute to Covenant's success.The ending was just too easy and too quick.
... Read more

14. Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap Into Vision
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Paperback: 480 Pages (1992-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553297600
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With an enormous corporation in control of all explored space, beautiful Morn Hyland must use her feminine wiles to win the affections of Succorso and defeat her new enemy--an alien force intent on mutating human bodies into alien forms. Reprint.Amazon.com Review
The RealStory was just a preview to this action-packed tome... The Gapseries steps on the accelerator with Forbidden Knowledge.Beautiful cop Morn Hyland, desperate and in pain aboard Captain'sFancy, controls her body and mind with her illegal zone implant,recreating herself as a superbeing worthy of holding Captain NickSuccorso's affections. Jealousy among the crew, threats of rape andship self-destruction, prisoner torture, and government cyborgprograms keep things moving along. Alien Amnioni seeking geneticdomination over humankind enter the scene with new technologies suchas mutagens and force-growing fetuses. Bite your fingernails while youlive it all (vicariously!) through brilliant survivor Morn andvillain-turned-conspirator Angus Thermopyle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

3-0 out of 5 stars Forbidden Knowledge:Falls Flat
Title:Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap into Vision by Donald Stephenson

Pages: 455

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 4 years.

Days spent reading it: 5 days.

Why I read it: I have read a few books by Stephenson, so I read one more.

Brief review: I think this is probably the last Donald Stephenson novel I will read. I just have not been very impressed. His books are easy enough to read, but I realized I just do not like his protagonists. I am not drawn to them. I do not want to be them. I sometimes pity them or revile them, but never feel good about them. This is a big deal because I like characters so much, thus when I don't like the character development I tend not to like the story.

Forbidden Knowledge is about Morn Hyland, a space cop who becomes connected to a group of pirate scum. She does what she must to survive, and this means she makes unpleasant decisions frequently. Donaldson writes in a way that pretty much only depresses me.He's dark, with very little silver lining to redeem the characters.Sure they are tough, but they are also sad to read about.I was unimpressed by the story until about 2/3 of the way through, when the plot finally grabbed my attention. The pirate ship enters "Forbidden Space" where a group of aliens who are trying to control the human species through genetic warfare. That was interesting.

Overall I liked how this book progressed as I got into it some more, but honestly I was not interested enough to continue the series from here, even though it does continue for a few more books. It just was not good enough for me to consume my time anymore.

Favorite quote: "Unlike the crew, however, she didn't regret his death. Such men didn't deserve to live, no matter how expensive it was to get rid of them."

Stars: 3 out of 5

Final Word: Flat.

4-0 out of 5 stars Huge improvement from Book 1
It can't be stressed enough that "The Real Story" is just a half-baked prelude to the grand vision that Donaldson really had in mind.It's unfortunate that many science fiction fans will likely not bother reading the sequels after the mediocre first book.They will miss the boat.

With little preamble, "Forbidden Knowledge" launches into a long and satisfying epic that concludes four books and well over 2000 pages later.The focus of this book is primarily on the adventures of Nick Succorso's ship Captain's Fancy, with UMCP Ensign Morn Hyland aboard.In the second half of the book we are also introduced to the much larger background story consisting of the human-Amnion conflict and the UMC-UMCP conflict.We also learn what happens to Angus Thermopyle after his capture in the first book; he plays a much larger role in the later books than in this one.

Besides developing an intriguing plot with many twists, Donaldson hooks the reader with excellent rendering of at least a few of the main characters.In particular: Milos Taverner, Vector Shaheed, Marc Vestabule, Warden Dios.Donaldson doesn't do as well with the women; Morn Hyland, Mikka Vasaczk, and Min Donner seem to all be cut from exactly the same mold, and it's not a convincing mold.And there are a few annoying male characters, most especially Davies Hyland.

This book and its sequels are absolutely worth the time for sci-fi readers.Don't bother with "The Real Story".

4-0 out of 5 stars Strays from Real Story formula, maintains norms
While The Real Story (the first Gap book) didn't exactly NEED a sequel, this kind of sequel is a welcome guest. Donaldson proceeds with the same cast and the same technologies, so he doesn't stray too far from what we already knew in The Real Story. One notable difference between the two books are their lengths. Real Story was a short book divided into edible parts which made it a 2-3 day read. Forbidden Knowledge, on the other hand, is a bit voluminous. It's filled to the brim with predictable characters displaying stereotypical gender related attributes which Donaldson seems fond of: the men are solid, raising to anger easily yet sharp as whips, yet the women act as wildcards when the act flippantly emotional. This sort of division between the sexes is one large turn-off in the series, as the women are treated as objects in the Gap Series. Perhaps Donaldson can actually write a decent novel in the Gap series without degrading women.

4-0 out of 5 stars An unrelenting adventure
This is the second book in the Gap series, though the first book (The Real Story) seemed more like a prelude. Donaldson himself saw it more as an introduction to the characters rather than the launching of the primary story. Forbidden Knowledge picks up right where The Real Story leaves off, and immediately kicks things into high gear.

What frustrated me so much about the first book was that I felt that Donaldson showed so much potential in these characters and in the universe he created, yet he never quite reached the potential of what he had created. In this book, he definitely begins to tackle that potential. More than anything else, I loved that the story just moved. I love any story which just takes me away, and Donaldson does just that.

With that said, I must say, again, that I am disappointed once again at the centrality of the character's sexuality (or distorted and/or damaged sexuality) to the story. I do appreciate that none of it is irrelevant to the characters and plot - it just seems quite a depraved way to build a plot and characters. It gives a very futile and almost hopeless tone to the story, developing solidly depressing overtones. Of course these provide the motivations for the characters - they move and strike out in their desperation.

It seems that in a quest for complexity of characters within the plot, Donaldson has, in fact, created a story full of anti-heroes, with the one character who has potential for truly heroic motivations and/or actions having her character broken, twisted, and hopelessly distorted at the initiation of the original story.

Overall, it is an incredibly well-written story, with complex characters and a completely intriguing plot. But I find myself hesitant to recommend it due to the distorted sexual themes and overtones.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Alien atrocities and conspiracy.

If being captured by pirates wasn't bad enough, it turns out that Morn and well as the two pirates in competition with her have an alien invasion to deal with, as they discover the rather nasty Amnion doing far worse things than violence and assault to people they have captured.

She has to work out how to survive her captors, use her resources, and maybe convince others to help with the threat. ... Read more

15. The One Tree (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 2)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 496 Pages (1987-10-12)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345348699
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery begin their search for the One Tree that is to be the salvation of the Land. Only he could find the answer and forge a new Staff of Law--but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....
... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars can't beat it!!
1cent!Yeah just 1 cent and came much faster then I was told it would, and book came exactly like it was described

1-0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly the Worst Book Ever Written
Book 2 in the 2nd Thomas Convenant Series tells the tale of the search for the one tree so that the party can make a new staff of law.

Sounds simple. The starting location is Seareach. They have a big boat. And they know who has the knowledge where to find the One Tree. Shouldn't be that difficult. I can understand devoting a chapter to this task. Maybe two chapters. But 500 pages! Is Donaldson out of his mind! I realize that the One Tree is very important. But todevote an entire book to finding it is ridiculous.

So how does Donaldson fill up the pages? By going into constant digression mode. Digression about Convenant's paradox of power of how he can't control it. Avery has issues with her parents. Keeps asking herself is she is evil. Is she evil? Does the reader really care, if Convenant can't control his power? And I doubt the reader really cares if she is evil.

Overall, the pace of events is beyond slow. It's painful. When the characters aren't digressing, Foul is launching more attacks again using a array of creatures. The reader is never stimulated, bc the book is 500 pages long! Chances are that the main characters aren't going to be eliminated in page 50 so why bother these pointless attacks!

So this book is a complete waste. Regardless of whether the quest for the staff of law is successful, the party still has to return to the land; meaning this book is pretty much pointless.

Overall I'm shocked that this book is still in print. No way does it deserve anything more than 1 star.

Take my advice. Skip this book. Go straight to book 3 or don't bother to read the series. The 3rd book contains a 3 page synopsis that will give all the info you need to know.

As for book 3, don't expect things to get much better. It's beyond lousy. This whole series just plain sucks.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great series
This entire series is incredibly good.Donaldson portrays the heart of his hero with understanding, compassion, and candor.His Hero, except for tenacity, is very flawed, but his very flaws make him the person he is.A great series worth reading by anyone who appreciates psychology, religion and adventure.

4-0 out of 5 stars Search for the One Tree
'The One Tree' is the second book in 'The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'. It is a direct continuation of 'The Wounded Land' which should be read first.
When we last left Covenant he had decided that the only way to fight the Lor Foul's Sunbane was to create a new Staff of Law to replace the one Covenant had destroyed in the first trilogy. So he enlisted the help of the giants and their ship to search for the One Tree in oder to create a new Staff.
Like the middle book of the first trilogy which focused on Hile Troy for much of it, 'The One Tree' focuses on Linden Avery's point of view for most of the story. The story drags a little when the quest is on board the ship, but the scenes on land are better. Especially good were the scenes with the wizard Kasreyn and the Sandgorgon. Besides the slow sections this installment definitely has a couple of weak points. First of all the character of Findail is annoying. He keeps warning Covenant not to do something, but won't say why, so naturally Covenant does it anyway and disaster ensues, then Findail complains that no one listens to him. It's pointless. Secondly the whole plight of the Land seems a lot less terrible when it becomes clear that the Land is only one part of a much bigger world. Part of the attraction to 'The One Tree' is the introduction of places outside the Land but at the same time it dilutes the urgency of the fight against Lord Foul. Finally the fact that the whole quest ends in failure, with very little to show for it leaves the reader with kind of a 'what was the point' vibe.
To sum 'The One Tree' is somewhat uneven, and not as good as 'The Wounded Land', but still enjoyable as it introduces new vistas and provides interesting background for the series as a whole.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
We fought the Law and, well, the dark lord pretty much came out on top of that one.

Covenant wants to do something about the whole screwed up Staff of Law situation, and this involves a quest with Avery and some Haruchai.

Many mysterious mythological races and monsters to be encountered along the way to the One Tree and World's End.Not that Covenant really knows what to do when he gets there.

3.5 out of 5 ... Read more

16. This Day All Gods Die
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Kindle Edition: 704 Pages (2009-12-09)
list price: US$7.99
Asin: B003TSEL78
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
From the bestselling author of "Chaos and Order" comes the conclusion of the "Gap" series. As the crew attempts to pursue the pirate ship "Soar" and her captain, their hopes turn to Angus Thermopyle. Angus, Morn Hyland, and her son, Davies, race home, unaware that Warden Dios and The Dragon are locked in a final confrontation that may alter the fate of humankind forever.Amazon.com Review
Tough-as-nails Morn Hyland, pirate-turned-cyborg AngusThermopyle, and the whole crew from the United Mining Company Policeare back in the final book of the Gap series, This Day All GodsDie. The Gap plot has raced through the galaxy at breakneckspeeds, and the conclusion is no exception.

Morn, her alien-grownson Davies, geneticist/engineer Vector Sheed, competent Mikka, and hercabin-boy brother Ciro wait aboard Trumpet. Angus liesunconscious, possibly in permanent stasis. Ciro plots to destroy theship, driven insane by the knowledge that alien mutagens have beenshot into him by Nick Succorso's sworn enemy, SorusChatelaine. Following nearby, Min Donner, faithful head of the UMCPExecutive Division, watches the action and grits her teeth aboardCaptain Dolph's battle-fatigued Punisher. Will Morn trust her?Will her voice commands over Angus's programming prevail? Who hassurvived the strange journey and battles since leaving the Lab? Backat United Mining headquarters, the Dragon and UMCP Chief Warden Dios'sstrange, twisted duel of manipulation, assassination, and corruptioncomes to a head when an Amnion warship sets course for Earth... andthat's just the first few pages.

Get set for more of the action,betrayal, characterizataion, intrigue, corruption, and adventureyou've enjoyed in the previous Gap books. If it has been a few yearssince you read the last installment, you may have trouble rememberingsome names and particularly insidious points of plot and governmentintrigue; you may even be tempted to reread the preceding books. Alsotroubling is Angus's continual rumination of a couple phrases,including "We've committed a crime against your soul" and"It's got to stop." However, you may be reading so fast youwon't notice. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars I thought I'd never find this !
I got the book just days after I ordered it. I was not even finished with the 3rd book in the series when it came. It is in mint condition and even the cover is great.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Day All Gods Die
the book was exactly as stated! And I got it just a few days after ordering!

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly stunning climax
I agree with the others that this series as a whole is just amazingly good.Granted, it's also amazingly brutal, which can make it hard to recommend to friends, but it's one of the best sci-fi series I've ever read.And the ending is just unbelievably good.I started reading the series around the time the 3rd book came out, and waiting for the remaining two to be published was hard.I read this book 12 years ago, so I don't really remember many of the details, but the simple fact that I still remember how amazingly good the series was (and particularly the ending) should speak volumes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Big showdown
This book concludes the five-part Gap Cycle.Several plot threads converge at Earth for a climactic ending.The showdown begins quite early in the book, on page 197 of 688.So it's a bit protracted but I stayed up late finishing this book and it takes quite a page turner to make me forego sleep.Like in the previous books, there are few wasted pages describing superfluous events or conversations.It's non-stop.

This book also contains what was for me the most emotional moment in the series, one that nearly made my cry.I've read many books that made me cry from laughter, but this was due to an emotion more like exultation.And I can't remember the last time a book did that.I don't want to give it away, but I'll say that it occurs just slightly under 3/5 of the way through the book.And it has to do with Angus Thermopyle.Now how did I come to like Angus so much?He was outright scum of humanity in the first book.Donaldson's pretty good...

Well, the ending's good and most of the loose ends are wrapped up.The larger scale conflict, however, remains unresolved.I'm not sure if Donaldson intends to continue the saga but I for one would love to re-enter his universe for more.

3-0 out of 5 stars An explosive conclusion
Here it is, the final book of Donaldson's Gap series. It does not disappoint. But I would be remiss if I did no warn all potential readers to make sure they have read all the other books of the series (The Real Story: The Gap into Conflict (Gap), Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap Into Vision (Forbidden Knowledge), A Dark and Hungry God Arises, and Chaos and Order: The Gap Into Madness (Gap)). Though you could, maybe - just maybe - read this book without having read the previous books, you would be missing out on so much character development (or deformation, depending on your perspective) as well as multiple plot twists and turns which really do make the story.

It it quite an 'explosive' conclusion (in a very literal sense as well). Morn Hyland struggles trying to save humanity from what could be either a huge tragedy or a road to extinction while at the same time trying to draw together the tattered remains of her character and integrity, and at the same time Warden Dios finally sees all his carefully laid plans begin to finally draw to fruition.Angus Thermopyle, a cyborg finally released from his hardwired enslavement, faces the dilemma of using his newfound freedom to flee from the chaos and danger or to utilize courage he's never known to save those whom he has never cared for.

Where this last of the Gap books picks up all the different threads Donaldson has been weaving throughout the last few books finally come together. It really is an incredible vision and an excellent example of very well-crafted story.

As a reader, you finally get to see some of the despicable characters strive for some of the most unlikely potential, and also to finally see some measure of peace come to the innocents who have been wounded and crushed in the midst of others machinations. The book does not quite retain the dark overtone which so pervaded the previous books of the series, though there is still quite a strong nihilistic strain running through the narrative. This is definitely not a book or series for younger readers.

So I do recommend this book, but with many cautions. This specific book is still very dark overall, with pretty descriptive violence and explicit language. Thusly I have to emphasize that it is for mature adult readers only (at least in my mind). For the dark nature of the material the book engages (and in some places almost embraces) the trade-off of being exposed to such things for the story you actually get is almost not worth it. It is excellently written and developed, though, so the only reason I actually recommend it is for the well-honed craft the writer employs in his narrative. ... Read more

17. White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3)
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (1987-10-12)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345348702
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Thomas Covenant knew that despite his failure on the Isle of The One Tree, he had to return to the Land and fight. After a long and arduous journey, fighting all the way, he readies himself for the final showdown with Lord Foul, the Despiser, and begins to understand things he had only just wondered about before....
... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

1-0 out of 5 stars Battle of Despite Fails to Save Earth from Lousy Fantasy.
With the completion of the quest for the One Tree, the quest now returns to the land.

Unfortunately, the slow plodding pace of events from book 2 continues into book 3. Countless pages are devoted to describing the scenery and to describing minor conflicts that don't add anything to the story.

Convenant goes on and on about the paradox of power, then when the actual finally heats, up the outcome is determined by luck or chance. There is the law of the land, there is Donaldson making up the law as he goes along. Very very weak. Overall, the characters remain one dimensional. The story is extremely predictable. But above, it's just not fun. After a while you begin to really not care about the characters. I got tired of their depression. I kept begging for a shrink to join the party.

Then, there is the ending. Pure disappointment.

4-0 out of 5 stars End of the second Chronicles
'White Gold Wielder' brings 'The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever' to a close. Covenant, Avery and the Giants return to the Land in order to quench the Banefire and defeat the Clave.
Donaldson manages to wrap things up well, answering most questions adequately, although I would have liked a more thorough explanation for Vain. Looking forward to the 'Last Chronicles'.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Slight Disappointment
Have just finished Book 3 of the 2nd Chronicle, I'm going to touch upon the first two books here instead of reviewing them individually.Spoilers of varying degree are peppered throughout the review, be forewarned!

I read the 1st Chronicle about 2 years ago and loved it.Yes, Covenant's constant whining is annoying as is generally agreed but the plots, battle scenes, and assortment of well-charactered humans, non-humans, and creatures are enough to nullify the negatives.In series 2, Book 1 is a setup for the journey and it is fine.There is still a lot of goodwill left from Chronicle 1 that I was very happy to revisit the Land and its denizens.Book 2 is the problem.The entire book centers on an ocean journey that takes way too long.Nothing happens that impacts the central story line, not until the end Book 3 that some connections are established.But by and large, Book 2 can be drastically shortened and incorporated into Book 1 and 3.It seems Donaldson wanted another 3-book tome to mirror the 1st Chronicle and so he stretched the subplots out to fill out 3 books of nearly 500 pages each.The first two books also have many words that have archaic or poetically usage as well as jargons only specialists such as metalsmiths, geologists, or dyers would know.He also likes to coin words as there are some words that are not in any dictionary.I've seen the word "analystic" in all 3 books as an adjective, "... anylystic sleep.".Now, analyst is a word, and analytic is also a word, but what in damnation is analystic?Why not just use analytic but I'm not 100% sure that's what he meant.But we all know there is no $20 word that Donaldson doesn't like. Strangely, there are only a smattering of big money words in Book 3.Maybe he ran out of obscure words to use by then.

The trouble with this series is that, like the 1st series, we've to deal with a most uncharismatic, annoying, and whinny hero; a totally original creation from the usual heroic archetype.He has mellowed out a bit here but then the author added a female version of him. The way the two of them whine and moan and complain and fall into depression and catatonia is just too much to bear over almost 1500 pages.It's nonstop, "I am undeserving, I am bad, I am evil, I am broken, I am unclean," etc ad nauseam.They really grate on my nerves.Moreover, the constant psycho-babble sprouted by the author stops whatever action there is on its track.I'm not educated in psychology but I would think that the accomplishments and struggles from the 1st series have changed and enriched Covenant for the better.But nope, he is fundamentally unchanged by his experience.That rings false to me.

There are also two characters, Vain and the Elohim that serve as deus ex machina in the story.As characters, they're inert and opaque except when needed as a plot device.In the end, their hidden agendas are as unexplained as the rationale for their existence.I consider them the weakest yet original creations by the author.

The ending is another problem.I applaud the author for doing something different than the standard climax and kudos to him for that.In exchange for originality, however, the much anticipated cathartic experience never materializes which is disappointing given the buildup over 1500 pages.

On the whole, there are sections of the 2nd Chronicle that are great, many are on the verge of very good, but because of the let down in Book 3, I can only say this series as a whole is just good. I'm disappointed but at least you can't say the author repeat himself.I'm giving this 3 stars and the series as a whole 3.5 stars.Maybe after another couple of years, when nostalgia sets in, I might give the Last Chronicle the chance to amaze me like the 1st series did.At a projected 4 books, that's a big commitment though.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just bad writing
I picked up a copy of this to re-read, remembering having enjoyed it some years past.While the trilogy (the second about Thomas Covenant) does have some good points, there are certain things about the books that make them almost unreadable.
First, the writing is atrocious.Donaldson has a large vocabulary of which he is obviously proud.But I don't like to feel that I've been beaten about the head with a thesaurus when reading a fantasy novel.Nineteenth century pre-Raphaelite poets use language that is less ornate and opaque.Worse yet, when Donaldson discovers one of these words, he can't resist the temptation to haul it out and abuse it over and over again.If you can bear it, read the books and count up the times he uses words like "threnody", "preterite" and other $20-words where a shorter word would not only do, but would be better.
Second, characterization.What Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery need is a truckful of Prozac.I have never read novels starring characters more miserable, depressed and self-doubting than these two.It would be fine if they were ever able to conquer their self-loathing, but this occurs only in the very last pages of the third book.They start depressed and stay that way for hundreds upon hundreds of pages.They lack even flashes of joy or happiness.The lack of character development, along with the depressing and, frankly, boring characters they do have makes reading the books a slog, and further makes it impossible to have any sympathy for these characters.They don't even seem real; no real person could actually survive full of so much self-doubt and -hatred.The other characters, on the other hand, namely the Giants and the Bloodguard, are utterly one-dimensional in their sturdiness, and show no development either. I agree with other reviewers that the mute Sandgorgon, Nom, and the mute Vain, are the most interesting characters of all.That says a lot.
In the end, reading through this trilogy felt like work, not pleasure.If you like reading extravagant, over-wordy descriptions of depressed people arguing with each other while failing actually to work through their self-hatred, then this trilogy is for you.If you'd like to read a fantasy and come to the end feeling less miserable than you did before, then skip it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
We have that sinking feeling.

Having made it out alive of the complete balls up that was the sinking of the One Tree, the main problem still remains, and it is worsening.

The Clave have gone overboard with the whole human sacrifice to the Sunbane thing, chucking whole towns into the pot.

So, what do your fantasy heroes do with what seems to be an overwhelming force opposing them?

Yep, attack, and hope whacky magic and a few monsters etc. can squeak them through.

3.5 out of 5 ... Read more

18. The Man Who Tried to Get Away
by Stephen R. Donaldson
 Hardcover: 304 Pages (2004-11-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$53.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000VYM6TS
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Ex-alcoholic private investigator Mick "Brew" Axbrewder is in trouble again - he's taken a bullet in the stomach, and someone wants to finish the job. His partner, Ginny Fistoulari, is determined to keep him safe, so she takes an 'easy' job, an assignment so straightforward it is practically a vacation. Murder On Cue, Inc. run mystery camps, and their insurance company requires a security presence. The camp is being held at an isolated hunting lodge, and all Ginny and Brew have to do is show up, play along, and keep their real identities secret. But the game becomes only too real - and Brew and Ginny find themselves at the heart of murder hunt ... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent but predictable, a good read
I love Donaldson. His Covenant Series, His science fiction, his mysteries.That having been said, This book, The Man Who Tried to get Away is not so special.The main characters are too flawed in it, the plot predictable enough so I guessed who the main perpetrator was.
Still, if you love Donaldson you'll like this book. I enjoyed it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Donaldson writes a tight but dark mystery
Science Fiction fans will probably recognize the name Stephen R. Donaldson because of the popular Thomas Covenant series. Some fans may not know that Donaldson also wrote a series of mystery novels.

The Man Who Tried to Get Away is an Axbrewder/Fistoulari mystery.It is a well-written, well-plotted novel.But beware!It is a dark book with dark, dysfunctional characters. As good as it is, I felt sad and a bit depressed while I read it.

Mick "Brew" Axbrewder is an alcoholic private investigator who has been spiraling downward for some time. Actually he's been on his downward spiral since shooting a cop who happened to be his brother - and since his partner Ginny Fistoulari blew off her own hand protecting him. The relationship between Brew and Ginny is twisted and as dysfunctional as the other members of the murder mystery camp.

The Man Who Tried to Get Away opens following an incident in which Brew was shot. Barely back on his feet he is joining Ginny in providing security for a murder mystery camp. The players are staying at an isolated, snowbound lodge for a week and during that week, they are to solve a murder mystery.

Before the mystery camp begins, someone kills or attempts to kill the players. Brew, recuperating from his gunshot wound, wants to help Ginny, the mystery campers and himself stay alive and find the murderer. He just doesn't have the confidence that he can, without a drink.

The Man Who Tied to Get Away is a good, well-written novel, but be prepared to visit the darkest sides of humanity. But as dark as it is, I would read another of Stephen Donaldson's Axbrewder/Fistoulari mystery novels in a heartbeat.

... Read more

19. The Man Who Fought Alone
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (2002-10-13)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765341247
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In a sprawling new novel, Stephen R. Donaldson tells a tale of a hero's dark night of the soul.
Mick Axbrewder has enough problems to kill any ten lesser men. He's a recovering alcoholic. He's also healing-painfully and slowly-from a gunshot wound that nearly killed him. His old partner, Ginny, seems to want as little to do with him as possible.

Years ago, he and Ginny worked side by side. That was before he accidentally shot and killed a cop. While drunk. A cop who happened to be his brother.

Now Axbrewder-"Brew" to his friends-is trying to make his way back to self-respect. It isn't easy. It doesn't help that Ginny has moved them to the sprawling, heartless Sunbelt city of Carner, where he can't get the "feel" of the streets. At least he has work, handling security in the booming martial-arts industry centered in Carner. A world of modern commercial competition and ancient resentments. A world with hidden stakes, over which someone is evidently willing to kill.

But Brew's real job isn't the one for which he's been hired. His real job is regaining his own self-respect.
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Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Technical details
I read the first three Axbrewder novels with some enjoyment, but the fourth novel presents a major technical problem surprising for a science fiction author:the first three novels are set in the 1980's, which was contemporary when the book was written.Axbrewder and Ginny Fistoulari spend quite a bit of time finding a pay phone or calling Ginny's exchange.The fourth book is set only a few weeks after the third book, and yet there are cell phones and hotel security video cameras and a whole bunch of background technology that just didn't exist in the mid- (or even the late-) 80's.

I tend to think of the city the novel is set in as Dallas rather than as Phoenix or Tuscon (because it's so new, shiny, rich and hot), but it doesn't affect the way the story is read.I'm not finished with the book yet, so maybe the story will redeem the technical snafu's, but c'mon...

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Quality in Delivered Product as well as Content.
A quick and easy transaction.

3-0 out of 5 stars Brew-fu
As an unabashed SRD fan and having enjoyed the other books in this series, I was surprised to find this read a little flat. I think the thing that initially threw me off was to find that tough-as-nails Mick Axebrewer starts the book by taking a job as a rent-a-cop at a kung fu tournament. WHAT? Is this how far the mighty (or at least grim-and-gritty angst-ridden heroes) have fallen. Seriously, Brew as a security guard?!? And this three day tournament which sets up the whole mystery portion of the story takes a mere 150 pages to slough through. The set up is extremely slow and could have (should have) been edited down to a few introductory chapters. Once the tournament is over and the meat of the story takes place, it becomes a pretty solid effort, but getting there can be a bit of a chore. Sure, the drama is a little "over-acted" and Donaldson does tip off who he real bad guy is a little early in the story but the last half of the book is still a pretty decent read. A hundred pages shorter and a little less grim introspection and this could have been a much better book. I think Donaldson may have gotten caught up a little too much in expounding on a subject with which he is very interested but which his readers might not find quite so captivating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful New Series by my favorite author
First, I'd say that Stephen R. Donaldson is my favorite author. Secondly, I'm not just a sci-fi/fantasy reader. My primary reading is the mystery genre. I started reading Mr. Donaldson's work in the early 80s and have continued to read everything he's written. If I'd stumbled across these books before I knew who wrote them, I'd have been addicted years ago to this series.

I began this series with this particular book approximately 6 months ago. It was so awesome that I searched out all the other books and was amazed I didn't know about it for over 20 years.

While this series is quite different from any other Donaldson has written, you can still strongly see his signature in the characters. The language is far less complicated than in his other works and I vaguely missed the challenge of the strong vocabulary while at the same time, appreciating his vivid and evocative descriptions of persons, places and events.

The characters, as in Donaldson's other series, are typically dark and wounded. It's always clear to the reader that if they would only talk openly to each other, they could move more lightly through the world. Alas, it's not meant to be and, as in real life, the characters hold their grief and guilt close and use it as an excuse to not communicate with those who are most important to them and to engage in self-indulgent behavior.

Brew and Ginny are excellent examples of Donaldson's characters. I find them to be very believable and compelling. Mick lives in deep shame and guilt over his alcoholism, accidentally killing his brother while trying to stop a purse snatcher, believing it was his fault his partner lost her hand in a bombing. Yet even in his grief, guilt and self-pity there is a core of strength and loyalty that are compelling. An earlier reviewer referred to him as a wounded bear... I think that analogy is dead on.

In this story, the pair of detectives work apart for the first time in their long history together and both are partially crippled by the distance between them.

As in all the stories, the plot has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. The depth of his insights into Shotokan Karate inspired me to seek out a Shotokan class when my daughter was interested in learning a martial art. Like Mick, the more I learned, the more interested I became.

Overall, I'd rate this book and the entire series 5 stars. The characters are compelling, the plots are captivating and the writing is superb.

3-0 out of 5 stars A not so decent Man who lives for trouble.
This is one in a series of THE MAN WHO which followed all those CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT,a kind of follow through with some of the same characters.This one is a violent man involved with the martial arts and who kills without conscience.He had killed his own brother while drunk.Enough said.

This is touted to be a 'tale of a hero's dark night of the soul.'I feel he has no soul.Any killer is lacking morals and any other virtue.Most drunks lack all the needed virtues to function in this world.

Stephen Donaldson is one of my favorite writers for the trio he did with A MAN RIDES THROUGH as one of them.He had a good woman in these about time travel back to medieval times.I read his GAP series, GAP INTO VISION, GAP INTO MADNESS; I think there had to have been a third in this series.Anyway, I read them but did not understand much, so I classed it as science fiction.

If this book is based on real life, it is a life I know nothing of and wouldn't want to -- I had a young neighbor boy back in Pulaski who watched KUNG FO on t.v. and would get out in the front yard and perform all those moves with a long stick.Before I realized what he was emulating, I thought the child had gone crazy.To me, the martial arts are too noisy to begin with and ridiculous to watch.I suppose you're supposed to scare off your opponent by kicking high and yelling.To me, that is the coward's way out, not real fighting.

Brew fits his name as he is an alcoholic whose loved ones have turned their backs on him (mainly because of the murder he committed), not his drinking.The love of his life seems to be as seedy a character as he.

Donaldson, who lives in New Mexico (my daughter-in-law said she had met him when my son was a teacher in Alburque), is perfect with his use of the English lalnguage, the thing which attracted me to his writings.Now, he is on a MAN thing, THE MAN WHO RISKED HIS BROTHER, THE MAN WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER, THE MAN WHO FOUGHT ALONE, (a new series, I guess) and A MAN WHO RIDES THROUGH (which I loved, he was not a modern man but was from the medieval times).We need more dignity and humility as they practiced back then, even with the cruelty in wars.

We still have much cruelty in war.Consider the beheadings which are a continuing thing going on at the moment in Iran.Where has civilization gone -- to the dogs?!A dog-eat-dog world, what a drudge for sensitive, civilized folks. ... Read more

20. The Wounded Land (Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book One)
by Stephen R Donaldson
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1981)

Asin: B003YK0AFI
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brief Comment - Re-The Land Books
Is Donaldson a Conservationist? Read closely and perhaps you will arrive at that conclusion. Read the Chronicles I & II many years ago, and recently have found his latest works about the Land. Have not read them yet, but purchased them based upon the previous two series.

Donaldson is a good story teller and if you liked Tolkien you will probably like these. The books are not a quick read, but are a good read.

1-0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a forgettable series - Please recycle
Set more than 4,000 years after Thomas reigned victory over Lord Foul the despiser, Lord Foul has risen to power again. This time he is more powerful than ever. Having lost their lore and earth power the people of the land are seemingly powerless against Foul's minions the clave.

So begins Thomas's tale. However, this time he is joined by a woman from his world named Linden Avery. Lord Foul summons Thomas to his world with the hope of obtaining the white gold with which to rule both worlds.

Then inexplicably, Lord Foul let's Convenant go. What the hell? The whole 1,500 page series should have been over at page 50. Foul is all powerful. All he has to do is squash Convenant and take the ring.

But in Donaldson's world, Thomas is set free to wander the land.. in frustration. Foul has eliminated all earth power and replaced with Sunbane, which controls the weather and make life hell for the inhabitants. It's either way too hot; way to raining; or way too many insects. Everybody hates the Sunbane.

Even though Foul has let Convenant go, he finds it necessary to launch wave after of attacks using insects, rats, or whatever creatures he can find. Would it have been that hard for Foul to send out a few soldiers to fetch him? He already knows where is. This is so stupid.

So page after page is about the latest attack. Than there are the emotional problems of Avery and Convenant. Conventant can't figure out the paradox of power. Too much he breaks the arch of time. Too little Foul squashes him like a bug. Apparently, the white gold doesn't come with a throttle. Or Convenant lost the instruction manual and doesn't know how to use it.

For Avery the issue is her parents. She feels responsible for their deaths and can't get over it, asking herself over and over again. Am I evil? Am I evil?

Along their way, Avery and Convenant pick up misfits, with strange abilities, but nowhere in the land could they find a dam SHRINK!

However, as bad as this book is, it might actually be the best in the 2nd Chronicles. The 2nd book should have negative stars. It's so bad, I would only recommend that you keep it on your book shelf if you are one of those people who like to brag to guests about having a lot of books.

The 3rd book does mercifully bring the series to an end, but is so bad I was left wondering if the editor ever bothered to read the dam thing or if they just nodded off in mid-sentence like I kept doing.

4-0 out of 5 stars As good as the first Chronicles, maybe better.
I just finished reading this first book in the second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, so my perspective does not include the conclusion of this adventure.The way the book just ends is not like the previous trilogy, but it's not unexpected or necessarily bad... in fact, it might be tedious to keep sending Covenant back to "our" world, and, as one might surmise (I won't give anything away), there might be a good reason he doesn't go back.

As usual, I think Donaldson enjoys patting himself on the back for coming up with the most obscure, uncommon words he can.Either be prepared to figure out the meanings from context, have a dictionary next to you, or just ignore it.I've done all three.

That said, Donaldson's writing style is excellent; despite the vocabulary, I found this book an easier read than any of the first three books; the story is compelling, sad, and has drawn me in a lot more than the first book of the first trilogy did.

We start off with Covenant being drawn back into the Land as he has been before, but the means by which he gets there have changed drastically, and involve a lot of people on "our" side, including his ex-wife and Doctor Linden Avery, a new doctor in town tasked with keeping tabs on Covenant.When he gets there, he finds things are vastly different than he previous visits, all for the worse.He has the task of explaining what's going on to his new companion (Avery), trying to keep her sane while he figures out what's going on.

Like most "quest" stories, he picks up companions along the way to help him along.The land has been corrupted by Foul, and the ravers are back causing problems that have deeply rooted themselves and disrupted the Earthpower by which occupants of the land previously lived by.As usual, Covenant blames himself... and tasks himself with setting things straight, starting with his decision to recreate the Staff of Law that was violated and ultimately destroyed by High Lord Elena on his previous visit to the Land.

If I had to make a one line summary of how I feel about this book right now it would simply be that I cannot wait to pick up the next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantasy reading,Thomas Covenant -THE BEST!
I started with the first set- "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" back in the late 1970's and waited feverishly for each book to come out.
I thought that would be the end of it. Then in the early 1980's, this, the second set back to "The Land" came out and I couldn't have been more pleased. These books are an excellant read, with or without the first set, though obviously it will be more meaningful to anyone that has been to "The Land" with Thomas and Stephen Donaldson before.
Now here I am, getting close to my half century age, and imagine my suprise and delight to see that Stephen Donaldson is back at it with a third set of "Thomas Covenant" books!
Even though I have read these first two sets many times since I first discovered them, it's been about 10 years. So here I am, I have replaced for the 3rd time the 1st set of three books, the 2nd time for these, the second three books, and now the first two that I just found out about.
That is how good these books are, every time I read them I enjoy them more, in my teens and twentys- then 30's, now almost 50 (2 more years).
The only downside that I'm aware of is that some individuals that don't have a wide vocabulary MAY have a difficult time with some of the language. The words "of The Land" are in an appendix at the back of each book, however alot of the very descriptive words that Stephen uses to help us FEEL his creation are not in common usage today. I would suggest anyone keep a dictionary handy just in case.

4-0 out of 5 stars Return to the Land
It is 10 years after 'The First Chronicles' and Thomas Covenent has returned to the Land.It has been 4,000 years by the Land's reckoning, and much has changed. The land is plagued by the Sunbane, a corruption of the sun which causes either rainstorms, desertification, putrefaction or unrestrained fertility for days at a time. Summoned with Covenenat to the Land is Linden Avery a doctor in our world with a troubled past.
'The Wounded Land' is the first book of 'The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'. As good as the first series was 'The Wounded Land' is even better. The horrors of the Sunbane are well conceived (reminding me somewhat of David Lindsay's 'Voyage to Arcturus') and Covenant is a much more symapthetic figure this time around. ... Read more

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