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The Runes Of The Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Hardcover]

Stephen Donaldson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Oct 2004 GOLLANCZ S.F.

In 1977, Stephen Donaldson changed the face of epic fantasy. With the publication of THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELIEVER, Donaldson took the world of fantasy publishing by storm, and created a true phenomenon: an epic fantasy instant bestseller that has gone on to sell millions.

The 'hero', Thomas Covenant, is mysteriously struck down with a disease believed eradicated; he is abandoned by his wife and young son and becomes a pariah. Alone and despairing, Covenant falls - and is drawn into a mysterious new world, where gentle people work magic and the earth itself brings healing. He is welcomed as the reincarnation of a legendary saviour, but Covenant refuses to believe; he's convinced he's having delusions. At the end of the sixth book, as Covenant battles to save the world, he is killed - in both worlds - as Dr Linden Avery, his horrified companion, looks on.

Now comes the book every fantasy reader has been waiting for. It's ten years later, and Linden Avery thought she would never see the Land, or Covenant, her beloved, again. But Lord Foul has stolen her adopted son, and is unmaking the very laws of nature.

And though she believes Covenant dead, he keeps sending Linden messages: 'Find me', and 'Don't trust me'. The Land is in turmoil, and Lord Foul has plans for them all . . .

Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (21 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575075988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575075986
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17.6 x 5.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Donaldson lived in India for 13 years with his father, a medical missionary, who worked extensively with lepers; it was here that he conceived the character of Thomas Covenant.
He was awarded the John W. Campbell Award as Best Writer of the Year for The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever, which, with the sequel trilogy, became instant bestsellers.
He is also the author of the fantasy duology 'Mordant's Need', the SF epic quintet 'The Gap', and a number of mysteries written under the pseudonym Reed Stephens. He won the World Fantasy Award in 2000.

Product Description


He creates a constant tension that grips and won't let go (Barbara Davies STARBURST)

Donaldson has developed a gift for labyrinthine plotting... Runes introduces many intruiging characters with the promise of complex interaction to come. (David Langford SFX)

Not your typical fantasy, this enjoyable read comes alive with Donaldson's vivid descriptions (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Morally complex and rich in detail, this is a novel which reminds you that fantasy needn't equate to lowest common denominator simplicity. One of fantasy's heavyweights reminds us that he still has much to offer the genre. (Jonathan Wright DREAMWATCH)

Book Description

The most important Fantasy Event this century: at long last, the return of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
As a young man - a novelist, happily married, with an infant son, Roger - Thomas Covenant is stricken with leprosy. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donaldson: A return to surpass expectations. 2 Nov 2004
As,I'm sure many Donaldson fans would agree, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant have captured the imagination of readers in a way only a handful of other fantasy novels have done. Critics have often argued vociferously that Donaldson's 'Chronicles' draw too much from the works of Tolkien: an accusation which I believe to be totally unfounded. Thomas Covenant is one of the most well rounded literarym characters I have ever come across. His fundamental human weaknesses create a wonderfully paradoxical air of reality in a novel based in a world of fantasy.
Like many fans, I faced Donaldson's return novel 'The Runes of the Earth' with extreme apprehension, but I have to say he has surpassed himself. If it were possible Donaldson has suceeded in adding a new dimension to the 'Land' that was already rich in detail and plausibility. He seems to have found the perfect balance between drawing from the first two chronicles and incorporating new themes and concepts. The lack of Covenant as the main figure to base the narration around detracts nothing from the novel. Furthermore, the subtle suggestions that Covenant is indeed alive tantalizes the reader and adds to the ambivalence of the novel.
I shall say no more! For Donaldson fans 'The Runes of the Earth' is a dream come true, for new readers the time has come for your initiation into a truly remarkable saga.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My heart may rule my head 10 Feb 2006
Like some of the other reviewers, I first read the original 'Chronicles' some twenty years ago, during my teens, and for this reason, the first trilogy in particular is indelibly woven into some special memories I have of growing up.
I think I loved The Land as much as any fan. In a time still threatened by the Cold War, I was moved by the author's descriptions of a world of transcendant natural beauty where individuals were willing to make extreme sacrifices to prevent the triumph of Despite. And though I had read Tolkien and other fantasy classics, the anti-heroism of Thomas Covenant, his startlingly original character, his unbelief, pain and eventual salvation was compelling.
I explain my own background to the stories by way of explaining the title of this review. By sheer coincidence, I was halfway through re-reading the Chronicles for the first time in years when I became aware of the 'Runes of the Earth'. I was naturally thrilled but somewhat confused knowing that Covenant had died at the end of 'White Gold Wielder', but I couldn't wait to begin the new book, which I have just finished.
So why do I think my heart may rule my head? Firstly, I have obviously changed as a reader and I analyse Donaldson's writing in a different way to my teenage self. My perception is that his style has changed over the years and that his prose no longer has the same sense of grandeur and epic scale of the first Chronicles. Many people have commented on his tendency to overwrite and some people may find this off-putting. Against this, however, there is no doubt that he still has an enormously rich imagination and a great talent for fantasy writing that is strikingly original.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 29 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting and intriguing continuation of the previous two trilogies, which I have read many times and much admired. Indeed there is much to be admired in this book too: fans will find the same luscious, lavish (or slightly overcooked, if you like) use of English here; I have to say that I'm slightly suspicious as to whether Donaldson really writes like this naturally , or does he write the basic story with markers saying "insert obscure word here" - I suppose we'll never know, but there are one or two places where the writing dips a little, where one would expect "Avatar" or another of his favourite words.
About the story, all I can say without spoiling everything is that Linden Avery returns to the Land alone, finds the "comeback king" Lord Foul up to no good and naturally begins a new quest to oppose him. This time, it's all very subtle, Lord Foul doesn't seem to be doing anything particularly dreadful, this time he seems to be relying on others to work his will. There are other evil powers mentioned in this book, eg Skurj... I would love to read more, and find out what they are going to do.
I suppose if I had criticisms of this book, it would be that it is a little longwinded, and not much really happens. And the biggest criticism is the (spoiler alert) time travel bit. It really doesn't seem necessary, serving only as a plot device.
Apart from that, I'm eagerly waiting for the rest of the series.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fanboys beware 6 April 2005
If you've read the other chronicles - and if you haven't, don't buy this book until you have - you'll be familiar with 'The Land' and Thomas Covenant.., or at least you'll think you are.
Stephen Donaldson has taken everything he has written before and twisted it beyond expectations. The result is a fresh and very vibrant story that makes a lie of a lot of the original material and weaves a new perception of The Land. Oh the hallmarks of Donaldson's writing are all here; the depth of characters, the detailed almost poetic descriptions, the rich and sprawling scope of the story itself and of course the familar species and topography of The Land, but this story is not just another plod through familiar territory it takes new directions and liberties with characters and is a stunning reinvention of The Chronicles.
I guarantee, absolutely guarantee that the twist at the end will have any fans of the original deploring the fact that authors can't write as fast people read.
If you don't want your perceptions of the first two chronicles ruined, don't buy this book. If you want to see what a master storyteller can do to your perceptions with an amazing, well told, story.., buy it now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Return to the Land
Over twenty years ago it seemed as though there were not many fantasy books on the bookshop shelves. Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2012 by Perpetual Man
5.0 out of 5 stars A great return
It must be twenty years since I last read the 'Chronicles of Thomas Covenant' by Stephen Donaldson. I was hooked by the whole story and couldn't wait to get the next in the... Read more
Published on 9 July 2011 by Citygent
2.0 out of 5 stars Just boring
I struggled. I wanted to like it for old times sake, but it was so badly written that I just couldn't stick with it. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2010 by Garasu
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, hideously wordy and unnecessary
I'm sure that this isn't what the fans of the previous books want to hear but what a waste.

Donaldson wrote six really interesting books about the Land and nearly ran... Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2007 by Mr. RCS Young
5.0 out of 5 stars The Runes of the Earth, a Prequel to the Last Chronicles
I always love the series, The First, especially the Illearth War, the Second, and here the Last!!! Most are trilogies, but not the last, it's a quartet, tetralogy: includes the... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2007 by Princeiris
3.0 out of 5 stars The Land Calls
Having read the previous chronicles, I was expecting another large volume! and was not disapointed. I found it slow to start, but picked up later towards the end, when things... Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2006 by John Burford
4.0 out of 5 stars The Runes of the Earth
I came into this book without reading the previous books, I suppose that means I am less bias about the book than say those who have read the previous titles. Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2006 by DraggingDeadweight
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost and found
This one is difficult to judge as it is the first of a trilogy as there will be much more to be revealed. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2005 by Deoradh
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a worthy sequel
I have read an article by Donaldson in which he claims that he had to learn to be a better writer before attempting to write the final Chronicles of the Land. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2005 by J. Kearney
3.0 out of 5 stars Is he paid by the word?
The imagination is not far short of Tolkien's, the concept likewise, but the Covenant books get longer and longer. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2005 by Jim Pepin
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