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The Last Dark (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Hardcover – 17 Oct 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (17 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057507602X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575076020
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The big set piece battles were often the equal of Tolkien (Michael Conaghan Belfast Telegraph)

Book Description

The long-awaited final part of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The tenth and final volume of the chronicles of Thomas Covenant has a lot to live up to. The irritating features of the recent series are still present: a lot of talking and over-thinking between events; clumsy lists of who's standing where and who's following who (not aided by the cumbersome names of Giants); and vocabulary that varies from the actinic and pellucid to the lambent and crepuscular. (?)

However, the ratio seems better in this volume, the exotic language better worked-in, and a great deal happens in the way of spectacular confrontations. The moping Jeremiah comes into his own, and his personal resolution is cunningly organised. Linden and Covenant settle and work towards their separate goals with suitably final determination. Donaldson's plotting is smart and his moral philosophy of compassion and responsibility is trenchantly insistent. The climax is multi-stranded and exciting, though I was a little less comfortable with the epilogue, for reasons I couldn't disclose without spoilers.

One glaring peculiarity throughout this closing series of four books is that we see almost none of the ordinary inhabitants of the Land. Linden fled from Mithil Stonedown without meeting anyone but Liand, and later passed through a destroyed village without us hearing a single line of dialogue from the villagers. Apart from those close encounters, the thousands or millions of folk who populate the place remain invisible. It means that Team Covenant seem to be working to save a wilderness reserve rather than a living country - very different from the First Chronicles.

That aside, this volume and this series is a grand achievement, not only as an epic fantasy adventure but as a gymnasium of morality, a turbulent sequence of compelling thought-experiments that challenge the reader as well as the characters to find the best outcome. Impressive, involving and satisfying.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"I see you finally decide to turn up then." Covenant observed with a percipient but impenetrable mien of thesauric obscurity.

"Yes," the Creator replied. "I know you expected it at the end of the book, but frankly I was so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to manifest until now."

"But..." Covenant's ring flared puissant argent with a theurgic mention of the krill thrown in to boot. "This was the final book, ever. It has some great action scenes! I fight a raver! Skurj! Cavewights! Masters do loads of kung fu in an epic underground battle! Linden Avery stops moaning! What wasn't there to like?"

The Creator frowned. "I know there was some really good stuff. The return of the fire-lions was a masterful stroke by Donaldson, and some of the character development, especially for Jeremiah, was actually quite good. But the same old problems remain, don't they? Endless moaning by Linden before the final chapter. The Land feels empty, with a total population of about 20, plus 400 nameless Masters. The repetition of words scoured from from the furthest regions of the thesaurus still grates..."

"Nonsense!" Covenant interrupted percipiently, congratulating himself with a condign simony of guerdon. "And the The Last Dark actually reads as a sensitive exploration of what it is to undergo mental and physical abuse and emerge as a survivor. Surely that deserves 5 stars, not a paltry 3?"

"But what about the many, many pages given over to describing how to mine some rock?" the Creator countered. "Geology isn't that exciting to start with, and although Jeremiah is supposedly capable of making a prison to trap the creator, why doesn't he make one for the skurj? Or the Ravers? Or Sandgorgons? Or Foul? Or the Worm at the World's End?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I began reading the first chronicle back in 2007. Whilst this has not been a continual process I have been steadily working .y way through the whole series. Never has a book so entranced and infuriated me in almost equal parts. I have grown to love the writing style of Stephen Donaldson and I do realise why a more concise book would not work. However, if you're looking for a speedy pick up and read then this book/series is not for you. (To be honest if you're onto this book you'll already be aware of this). The last chronicles I read entirely on Kindle which is a darned sight easier than sitting with a dictionary beside you. I don't consider myself an idiot but even I found at least one word per page that I struggled to grasp the meaning of.
That aside this book is the perfect ending to, what many will surely describe as,
one of the greatest fantasy series of all time.
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Format: Hardcover
I used to love the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but I am afraid the Last Chronicles really did not work for me. Disjointed, uninspiring jaunts into the past history of the Land, and flat or unsympathetic characters - mainly Linden Avery and her eternal angst, but the supporting characters never came to life either.

The Last Dark is an improvement on the previous 3 books, and things do actually seem to happen in this one. Unfortunately it has to deal with the situation set up by the previous 3 books. I don't think Linden Avery was quite as irritating as she has been before, but unfortunately it seems Jeremiah Avery is there to take up the slack. The end seemed a bit pat, and I wasn't convinced by the final resolution.

It's a real shame, there are some elements that could have been great if given a proper chance to develop - the Haruchai turning into the Masters, Roger Covenant as an antagonist, and the Land itself was sketched in, with no sense of place or culture.
Instead the threat for the Worm at World End's never felt particularly real, despite being told many times that this was The End. And all the Sandgorgons in the world seemed insubstantial compared to Nom from the Second Chronicles. Even Lord Foul only seemed to telephone in his lines.

Overall I wish he'd left it at the Second Chronicles. Just as the Star Wars prequels tainted the Original trilogy for me, the Last Chronicles has knifed my good memories of the First and Second Chronicles. I do wonder if I went back and read the first 2 Chronicles whether I would still like them - they shared the constant agonizing and tortured prose of the Last Chronicles, but I remember the story being strong enough to forgive them.

Save or damn? Reluctantly I'm going to have to damn
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