Against All Things Ending (Last Chronicles Series #3)

( 85 )

Overview

The New York Times bestseller is "a fascinating fantasy" (Midwest Book Review).

Thomas Covenant is alive again, restored to his mortal body by Linden Avery's magic-a defiant act of love that has unleashed unimaginable power capable of devastating the Land. The only hope to stop this may lie with the mysterious boy Jeremiah, Linden's adopted son, whose secrets are only beginning to come to light...

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Against All Things Ending: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

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Overview

The New York Times bestseller is "a fascinating fantasy" (Midwest Book Review).

Thomas Covenant is alive again, restored to his mortal body by Linden Avery's magic-a defiant act of love that has unleashed unimaginable power capable of devastating the Land. The only hope to stop this may lie with the mysterious boy Jeremiah, Linden's adopted son, whose secrets are only beginning to come to light...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Thomas Covenant is alive again, his spirit resurrected from its prison in the Arch of Time, and the world seems at peace. That harmonious moment is broken, however, by the awakening of the Worm of the World's End. With the Land itself threatened with total devourment, Thomas, Linden, and one mysterious young boy must forever halt the destruction.

Publishers Weekly
The unreservedly emo penultimate installment in the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (after 2007's Fatal Revenant) follows Linden Avery as she struggles to rescue her adopted son, Jeremiah, from the Despiser and forestall the Worm at the World's End, which she awoke by yanking her love, Covenant, free of the Arch of Time. While an introductory plot summary does yeoman service bringing new readers up to speed, it may be hard for them to keep so many characters straight--or care about them--when most of their development took place in previous volumes published decades ago. The focus is on Linden rather than Covenant, whose passive and distracted presence mostly gives others something to react to, but that won't matter to Covenant's large and loyal following, for whom Donaldson delivers all the self-loathing, despair, guilt, pain, and stubborn determination they could ask for. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Thomas Covenant has returned from the dead, raised to his own body by the love of Dr. Linden Avery through the use of the Staff of Law, the white gold ring, and an ancient dagger known as High Lord Loric's krill. But in the Land where he was once healthy and whole, Covenant suffers a reoccurrence of his earthly disease, leprosy. In addition, his return has freed the Worm of the World's End, threatening both the Land and the Earth with destruction. The penultimate novel in Donaldson's final series involving this character opens the Land to a new level of danger and intrigue as Avery, now the Chosen, must struggle to save her adopted son while coping with the consequences of her questionable action in bringing Covenant back to life. VERDICT Donaldson's fan base will enjoy the further adventures of these familiar characters; expect demand.
Kirkus Reviews

Daggers and wizards, time travel, leprosy—for fans of fantasy, there's much to like in Donaldson's latest installment in the multivolume Thomas Covenant epic series of yore.

When last we saw Thomas, way back in 1983, he was, to put it gently, dead—and not, in the words of the necromancer of The Princess Bride, merely "mostly dead." The intervening three decades have served him well, for the saintly Thomas—who "had turned his back on scorn and punishment long before Lord Foul had slain him"—is back courtesy of some kindly magic on the part of lissome Linden Avery, in tandem with the white gold ring (in fantasy, it seems, it's always the ring) he bears and a few othersoupçons of sorcery. He has a quest before him, natch, for the bad guys are plotting, yet again, to subjugate the otherwise idyllic realms of humankind and replace them with some grim Ragnarok. Having already toured hither and yon, "toward the Sunbirth Sea" and into the land of the Elohim, "cryptic beings of pure Earthpower who appear to understand and perhaps control the destiny of the Earth," Thomas is understandably tired, but he knows the call of duty when he sees it. As befits the genre—and this is respectable genre fiction, if likely to appeal largely to those who have already followed the series or embraced fantasy lock, stock and pestle—Donaldson trades capably in ersatz Icelandic saga, with shades of Tolkien throughout. Alas, this is much talkier than Tolkien, though, who favored explication in the doing, not in the describing. No harm there, save that a few hundred pages in, the reader may wish a salutary sip of the waters of Middle Earth as a palate cleanser.

If the likes of Cirrus Kindwind, the Lost Deep and She Who Must Not Be Named, and lines such as "Through the bane's ferocity, she smelled the acrid pulse of unnatural blood,"are your bag (or Baggins), well, then this is just your book.

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Stephen R. Donaldson is the New York Times bestselling author of three series of fantasy novels about Thomas Covenant, as well as several science fiction and mystery novels. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 85 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 85 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    Pedantic Drivel - don't bother

    When an author stops writing for his readers, and starts writing for himself and his colleagues, it's time for him to move away from fiction and start writing his memoirs. In this latest book, Stephen Donaldson pummels us, page after boring page, with his intimate knowledge of the most arcane corners of the English language. His character development so outweighs his plot development that it's almost impossible to stay interested. Every step in the story line is so enshrouded in tedious detail, and the pace of the action is so excruciatingly slow, I nearly gave up. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were great. The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were good. This book was insipid. Goodbye Thomas Covenant, I'll miss you!

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    What We've Been Waiting For

    I have been following the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant since the 70's. The series is unlike any other.

    Against All Things Ending does not let me down. It is full of the same strong characters, the land, and what good people stand for, inner crisis regarding decisions, as all the rest of the Chronicles. He drops hints of where the book is going, and you raptly follow along through the twists and turns to get there.

    I have seen other reviews of people complaining that there are archaic terms, and difficult reading. As a professed logophile, I enjoy this. Anyone who complains, has not read the previous chronicles!

    The only negative part of the book is, this one was promised to be the last, and come out in 2008. This is not the last, there is another that we find out about at the end. I kept looking at the page number and thinking, it is getting close to the end, I hope he is not pulling some fast, dumb stunt at the end. Well, he didn't; just the promise of one more book. I guess I'll just have to wait for this one too.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a fascinating fantasy

    Linden Avery worries about her adopted son Jeremiah as the Despiser wants the lad though she is unsure why. Meanwhile, over the objections of others who fear what she plans will destroy the world, Linden, using her Staff of Law and the High Loric's krill dagger, brings out of the Arch of Time her dead lover Thomas Covenant.

    However, for every action there is a reaction. In this case her awakening her beloved from beyond the grave also rouses the dormant Worm of the World's End, who will devour all in its path. While her lover lies calmly in a field hating who he is; Linden knows she must risk her life to prevent what she wrought. Her only answer to her desperate prayer comes from the last person she would expect to possess such power.

    The latest tale in the Last Chronicles arch of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever series is a fascinating fantasy with a neat twist that makes it read different from previous entries. While Thomas is mostly negatively musing but inert, this time Linden is the prime player as she tries to undo what she caused while also keeping her lover alive; a want your cake and eat it too scenario. The story line is fast-paced and contains a strong back story though first time readers will still be lost in the complex realm of Stephen R. Donaldson. At a minimum, readers should read the first two entries in this segue (see The Runes of the Earth and Fatal Revenant). For long time fans, Against All Things Ending is a strong thriller even with Thomas taking a time out to reflect.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    Skip

    Unless you have read all the other Thomas Covenant novels and are determined to stick with it to the bitter end, skip this one. I loved the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, in fact I re-read them every other year or so. The Second Chronicles were good and I re-read them too. But in the Final Chronicles, Stephen Donaldson has lost what made the others so wonderful. It is more like reading a dictionary than a novel. He seems to be saying, "Look how many big words I know". Doesn't matter if you spend more time trying to understand his verbage rather than fall in love with the story. AND REALLY, "She who must not be named", what is that? I felt like it was a copy of Harry Potter. I slogged my way through it, but I am sorry I ever started reading the Final Chronicles. Don't know if I will read the last one or not.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    A slog

    There were a few bright climactic spots that generated genuine interest for me, but it was mostly a slog through repetitive frameworks and conventions that seemed contrived in an effort to extend page count. I will probably suffer through the final book as I did this one, but I should not have to do that - this story should have been drawn to a close in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2010

    SciFi/Fantasy Literature defined

    As with the other books in this series, the conflicts surrounding Linden Avery dominate the bulk of this piece. The character development is heavily dependent on previous works that may lead the current or new reader to feel as if there is no 'real' connection between the characters. As a stand-alone series, the work has to struggle to tie in and relate. Where character development has always been a forte of the author, here, much must be either previously developed through past readings, glossed over or ignored.

    The work remains a dramatic and fascinating adventure into surrealism and the definitions of who we as people really are, how we are seen, and ultimately, the need to react as instinctually as needed, trusting to the collective wisdoms of having lived a life and having gained those life experiences.

    Each strict definition of the characters is forcibly applied to each other character, forcing the reader to acknowledge the 'lacking' part of the other. Psychological profiling apart, the relational dynamics is crucial to making the other life forms of the "Land" equal to the main characters in perspective and objectives. The issues of morality and ethics follow many of the Grecian models at times.

    I thank the author for developing such a terrific piece of work and look forward eagerly to the conclusion in the fourth installment of the "Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant."

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    I'm constantly baffled by reviewers who accuse SRD of being exce

    I'm constantly baffled by reviewers who accuse SRD of being excessively verbose (intentionally redundant for those reviewers), especially those who have read all of the previous TC Chronicles. Have they not realized by now that this is Donaldson's writing style - one that Donaldson admits to and for the most part whole heartedly embraces? SRD's most clear influence if Conrad, and anyone who has read Heart of Darkness can see the similarity. Donaldson used words to convey his imagery. He admits that he want little do to with film adaptations, because doesn't know how to deal with visual media. So the detail with which he writes is his only method for relating the depths of his stories to his readers. Admittedly this is not fluff - this is meat and potatoes reading. So if this style of writing is not for you, then read something else! (Dan Brown comes to mind as the antithesis. His stories have no character development and can be read with little or no effort.) I LIKE the fact that i have to work at the Covenant books. It's challenging. I LIKE the fact that i have to use the dictionary to look up words that i don't know. And i've realized that you cannot absorb all of the magic of his stories in a single reading. Even after multiple readings there are still things that pick up on that i missed on previous readings. So don't trash SRD for his style of writing if its not for you. As for the Last Chronicles specifically - after a somewhat mundane start (i cringed at the similarities at the start of Fatal Revenant to that of The Wounded Land - namely Kevin's Dirt and the Sunbane) i've been pleasantly surprised at the way story has unfolded. The weaving of characters and story lines from the previous Chronicles, and the introduction of the Insequent is brilliant in my opinion. This is a story that you can immerse yourself and lose yourself in. It takes some work, but if you're willing to work at it the resulting imagery is everlasting and the stories remain forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    This series gives the appearance of being Stephen Donaldson's pe

    This series gives the appearance of being Stephen Donaldson's pension plan. It is repetitive, boring and to my mind, destroys the brilliance of the first two Thomas Covenant trilogies. God only knows why he decided to write four volumes for a story that could be finished in two. I can only assume he had discovered the "cut and paste" function on his computer, and decided that plot and character development, and dynamic story telling could be replaced by repetition. I have gone from comparing all other fantasy authors and stories to Stephen Donaldson, and found them wanting, to wishing I had never heard, or read, the last chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    These books are only for the compulsive fan of the prior series,

    These books are only for the compulsive fan of the prior series, and even then it's a lot of work for very little payoff. While there are electric moments in the storytelling, they are separated by long periods when little happens except character development, much of which quickly becomes redundant. Donaldson has always perserverated on certain themes, and one wonders if his editor ever suggests any cuts, as the same issues are covered in the same excruciating detail time and time again. Does every scene need to start wtih the description of every character's position, using their full name? The use of unnecessarily complex words, when simpler ones would do, is not only frustrating (I have a post-graduate education and still often have to go to two or more references to find a definition) but becomes ludicrous - does he know no synonyms for "puissant" or "condign"? I'm probaby too far in now not to read the 4th book when/if it comes out, but when the reader's strongest feeling is a sense of reilef when the book ends, it's not promising. I agree with one of the other reviewers: the first series was outstanding, the second interesting, and this one, in retrospect, isn't worth the effort.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Need the next book now!

    This is typical Donaldson writing - beautiful, obscure words all over the place, and that unique cadence of his of course. (The dictionary/lookup feature on the Nook is extremely useful when reading his work!) There was a LOT of ruminating, discussion, and philosophical debate in the first third of the book, with the action kicking in after that.

    My only complaint is that I'll now have to wait at least another year or so before the next book is published.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    G Good Good

    A little disjointed at times

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Could have been shorter

    I have been reading and enjoying the Thomas Covenant books since high school, and have always loved the rich descriptions of the Land, and the characters in it. Donaldson makes them seem so real. However, the Last Chronicles, this one included, tend to get very bogged down in repetitiveness and non progression at times. The repetativeness is fine, especially for those who may not have experienced the earlier books, but too much is too much. How many times do we need to revisit why Linden Avery became a doctor because of her miserable parents, and how indecisive she is. I would recommend the earlier books, as they move along quicker, and you get a better feel for why the characters are doing what they are doing. At times I found myself just reading to get to the part where things start making sense. I am not one to skip pages, just to save time, because there may be a single sentance or word that is key to understanding something later on in the story. All in all, however, I still enjoyed the story, trying to second guess what the characters will do next, or what is going on behind the scenes. It continues the saga of Linden Avery's quest to try to get her son free, and restored to her, and the interactions of the other secondary characters as they try to help or hinder her on the way. Thomas Covenant is still trying to get a grip on himself, and get ready to face his ex wife Joan, knowing he will have to do that eventually in order to set things right. All the while, they are under the gun so to speak, knowing they have only a limited amount of time, as the Worm is coming. It finally becomes clearer what Jeremia's key importance is, and the goals of the Despiser. At least, it seems to. Donaldson likes to keep you guessing, and throws surprises at you. Looking forward to the final segment of this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Never ending... not an easy read

    I have read all of the books in this series over the years, although I have to admit with lessening interest as the newer books/series emerged. However, I was still curious to read what I thought was to be the final book. The storyline remains quite complex and relatively impenetrable, but the biggest turn off for me was the use of obscure language. I consider myself fairly well educated, and with a good vocabulary, but earlier in the book I was finding several words a page I did not recognize (and nor did the, admittedly limited, look up feature in the Nook software). I became tired of having to continually Google obsure words, and just ended up skipping over them (with no noticeable loss in comprehension....). Not sure if the frequency of the self indulgent langauge reduces as the book progresses (a relative term) but I noticed this less the further in to it I read.

    Probably the most depressing thing (and you do not read one of these books for a light uplifting read) is that I reached the end of the book to find..... there will be (at least) one more in the series. While I enjoy sagas in general, and enjoyed the earlier books in this one (1 throgh 6 at least), enough already!

    Overall disappointed, but perhaps thinking back to the other books in the "Last Chronicles", I should have known what to expect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    Terribly dissapointed in this book

    I LOVED the first series. I have read it many times as I have the second and third. This one is lame. Against all things... is the worst. I am half way through and struggling to even continue. A lot of this book is review of what has happened in the prior books. VERY LITTLE new material. I am so dissappointed since I really liked the first and 2nd chronicles.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Classic Donaldson - Complex, thoughtful, and full of twists

    No Spoilers (Yet)

    A grand story begins to wind up in this volume. The protagonists face many trials both personal and physical. The volume does start a bit slow - theres a LOT of hand wringing in the beginning. Once thats done the action begins in earnest. There are fascinating new places and beings to encounter, strategy to plan, and losses to bear. Equally important are some bits of the Land's history that get disclosed and the satisfaction of seeing some story lines getting tied off. This book is definitely a good read and left me waiting for the final volume.

    Minor Spoilers

    -almost here-

    The world definitely gets darker in this volume. Lindens self doubts grow. The stakes of this final confrontation between Covenant and Foul are already high enough (the Worm of Worlds End is awake) but Donaldson finds a way to raise them even higher. To paraphrase the 'heros' have more work to do than any mortal heart can bear. And that happens through the sacrifice of people of the Land and elsewhere. Three 'minor' characters leave the stage in this volume. One will be greatly missed.

    Bottom Line: Well worth the hardback price.

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  • Posted October 27, 2010

    I waited 3 years for pure wonder.

    Thank you Mr. Donaldson.
    Can you please consider not waiting 3 years to release The Last Novel?
    You have made this writer so appreciative of your Chronicles for 33 years.

    2012 possibly?

    Thank you very much for making reading both difficult and wonderful. I purposely re-read your text 3 times in one sitting because it's so wonderful. A word or meaning I missed the first time was gained the third time.
    Melenkurion Abatha Duroc Minas Mill> I'll leave off the last two words of power.

    p.s. Will you consider a new novel approach concerning the New Lords? I sure enjoyed their lives, meanings and consternations. A Novel about Lords, with High Lord Mhoram to start.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 85 Customer Reviews

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