Fatal Revenant (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series #2)

Fatal Revenant (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series #2)

by Stephen R. Donaldson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441016051
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/05/2008
Series: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever Series , #8
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 135,988
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stephen R. Donaldson is the author of six previous Covenant books: Lord Foul's Bane, The Illearth War, The Power That Preserves, The Wounded Land, The One Tree, and White Gold Wielder, as well as many other novels.

Read an Excerpt

Part One

“lest you prove unable to serve me”

1.

Reunion

In sunshine as vivid as revelation, Linden Avery knelt on the stone of a low-walled coign like a balcony high in the outward face of Revelstone’s watchtower.

Implacable as the Masters, Stave of the Haruchai stood beside her: he had led her here in spite of the violence with which his kinsmen had spurned him. And at the wall, the young Stonedownor, Liand, stared his surprised concern and incomprehension down at the riders fleeing before the onrush of the Demondim. Like Stave, if by design rather than by blows, he had abandoned his entire life for Linden’s sake; but unlike the former Master, he could not guess who rode with the Haruchai far below him. He could only gaze urgently at the struggling horses, and at the leashed seethe of theurgy among the monsters, and gape questions for which he seemed to have no words or no voice.

At that moment, however, neither Liand nor Stave impinged on Linden’s awareness. They were not real to her.

Near Liand, Manethrall Mahrtiir studied the exhausted mounts with Ramen concentration while his devoted Cords, Bhapa and Pahni, protected mad, blind Anele from the danger of a fall that he could not see.

With Linden, they had crossed hundreds of leagues—and many hundreds of years—to come to this place at this time. In her name, they had defied the repudiation of the Masters who ruled over the Land.

But none of her companions existed for her.

To the north lay the new fields which would feed Revelstone’s inhabitants. To the south, the foothills of the Keep’s promontory tumbled toward the White River. And from the southeast came clamoring the mass of the Demondim, vicious as a host of doom. The monsters appeared to melt and solidify from place to place as they pursued their prey: four horses at the limits of their strength, bearing six riders.

Six riders. But four of them were Masters; and for Linden, they also did not exist. She saw only the others.

In the instant that she recognized Thomas Covenant and Jeremiah, the meaning of her entire life changed. Everything that she had known and understood and assumed was altered, rendering empty or unnecessary or foolish her original flight from the Masters, her time among the Ramen, her participation in the horserite of the Ranyhyn. Even her precipitous venture into the Land’s past in order to retrieve her Staff of Law no longer held any significance.

Thomas Covenant was alive: the only man whom she had ever loved.

Her son was free. Somehow he had eluded Lord Foul’s cruel grasp.

And Jeremiah’s mind had been restored. His eager encouragement of the Masters and their mounts as they struggled to outrun the horde showed clearly that he had found his way out of his mental prison; or had been rescued—

Transfixed, she stared at them past the wall of her vantage point, leaping toward them with her gaze and her health-sense and her starved soul. Moments ago, she had seen only the ruinous advance of the Demondim. But now she was on her knees, struck down by the miraculous sight of her adopted son and her dead lover rushing toward Revelstone for their lives.

Already her arms ached to hold them.

For two or three heartbeats, surely no more than that, she remained kneeling while Liand tried to find his voice, and Stave said nothing, and Mahrtiir murmured tensely to his Cords. Then she snatched up the Staff and surged to her feet. Mute and compelled, she flung herself back into the watchtower, intending to make her way down to the open gates; to greet Jeremiah and Covenant with her embrace and her straining heart.

But the chambers within the tower were crowded with tall mounds of firewood and tubs of oil. At first, she could not locate a stairway. And when she discovered the descent, the Masters refused to let her pass. One of them stood on the stair to forbid her.

“We prepare for battle,” he informed her curtly. His people had already refused her claims on them. “You will be endangered here.”

He did not add, And you will impede our efforts. Nor did she pause to heed him, or to contest the stair. Linden, find me. Her need for haste was too great. In all of her years with her son, she had never seen him react to people and events around him; had never seen an expression of any kind on his slack features. Riding toward Revelstone, however, his face shone with excitement as he waved his arms, urging his companions forward.

She wheeled away from the stair; ran for the suspended wooden bridge which linked the tower to the battlements of Revelstone.

Stave came to guide her. He had not wiped the blood from his mouth and chin. Dark stains marked his tunic. But his hurts did not slow him. And Mahrtiir accompanied him, with Bhapa, Pahni, and Liand grouped around Anele at his back.

They were her friends, but she hardly noticed them.

Fearless with urgency, she followed Stave and Mahrtiir across the unsteady span above the courtyard between the watchtower and Revelstone’s inner gates. Gripping the Staff hard in one hand, she pursued her guides into the sudden gloom of the Keep’s lightless passages.

She did not know the way. She had spent too little time here to learn even a few of Revelstone’s complex intersections and halls. And she required illumination. If she had been willing to move more slowly, using only her enhanced senses, she could have trailed Stave’s hard shape and Mahrtiir’s more legible tension through the wrought gutrock. But she had to hurry. Instinctively, irrationally, she felt that her own rush to meet them might enable Jeremiah and Covenant to reach the comparative safety of the massive interlocking gates, the friable sanctuary of the Masters. As the reflected sunshine behind her faded, and the darkness ahead deepened, she called up a gush of flame from one iron heel of the Staff. That warm light, as soft and clean as cornflowers, allowed her to press Stave and the Manethrall to quicken their pace.

Nearly running, they descended stairways apparently at random, some broad and straight enough to accommodate throngs, others narrow spirals delving downward. Her need for haste was a fever. Surely she could reach the cavernous hall within the gates ahead of Jeremiah and Covenant and their small band of Masters?

Her friends followed close behind her. Anele was old; but his intimacy with stone, and his decades among the mountains, made him sure-footed: he did not slow Liand and the Cords. And after them came the three Humbled, Galt, Clyme, and Branl, maimed icons of the Masters’ commitments. They were as stubborn and unreadable as Stave; but Linden did not doubt that they intended to protect her—or to protect against her. The Masters had rejected Stave because he had declared himself her ally; her friend. Naturally they would not now trust him to fill any of their self-assigned roles.

Fervidly she tried to cast her health-sense farther, striving to penetrate Revelstone’s ancient rock so that she might catch some impression of the Vile-spawn. How near had they come? Had they overtaken Covenant and Jeremiah? But she could not concentrate while she dashed and twisted down the passages. She could only chase after Stave and Mahrtiir, and fear that her loved ones had already fallen beneath the breaking tsunami of the Demondim.

But they had not, she insisted to herself. They had not. The Demondim had withdrawn their siege the previous day for a reason. Possessed by some fierce and fiery being, Anele had confronted the Vile-spawn; and they had responded by allowing Linden and those with her to escape—and then by appearing to abandon their purpose against Lord’s Keep. Why had they acted thus, if not so that Jeremiah and Covenant might reach her? If they desired Jeremiah’s death, and Covenant’s, they could have simply awaited their prey in front of Revelstone’s gates.

Jeremiah and Covenant were not being hunted: they were being herded.

Why the Demondim—and Anele’s possessor—might wish her loved ones to reach her alive, she could not imagine. But she strove to believe that Covenant and Jeremiah would not fall. The alternatives were too terrible to be endured.

Then Linden saw a different light ahead of her: it spilled from the courtyard into the Keep. A moment later, Stave and Mahrtiir led her down the last stairs to the huge forehall. Now she did not need the Staff’s flame; but she kept it burning nonetheless. She might require its power in other ways.

The time-burnished stone echoed her boot heels as she ran into the broad hall and cast her gaze past the gates toward the courtyard and the passage under the watchtower.

Beyond the sunshine in the courtyard, the shrouded gloom and angle of the wide tunnel obscured her line of sight. She felt rather than saw the open outer gates, the slope beyond them. With her health-sense, she descried as if they were framed in stone the four Masters astride their laboring horses. Covenant clung to the back of one of the Haruchai. Jeremiah balanced precariously behind another.

The mustang that bore her son was limping badly: it could not keep pace with the other beasts. And Covenant’s mount staggered on the verge of foundering. All of the horses were exhausted. Even at this distance, Linden sensed that only their terror kept them up and running. Yet somehow they remained ahead of the swarming Demondim. If the monsters did not strike out with the might of the Illearth Stone, the riders would reach the outer gates well before their pursuers.

The fact that the Vile-spawn had not already made use of the Stone seemed to confirm Linden’s clenched belief that Jeremiah and Covenant were being herded rather than hunted.

She wanted to cry out her own encouragement and desperation; wanted to demand why the Masters had not organized a sally to defend her loved ones; wanted to oppose the horde with Law and Earthpower in spite of the distance. But she bit down on her lip to silence her panic. Jeremiah and Covenant would not hear her. The Haruchai could not combat the Demondim effectively. And she did not trust herself to wield power when the people whom she yearned to save were between her and the horde.

Grimly she forced herself to wait, holding her fire over her head like a beacon, nearly a stone’s throw from the courtyard so that the Keep’s defenders would have room in which to fight if the monsters could not be prevented from passing the gates.

Abruptly the Masters and their horses surged between the outer gates into the dark tunnel. Hooves clanged on the worn stone as first Covenant and then Jeremiah fell into shadow.

A heartbeat later, ponderous as leviathans, the outer gates began to close.

The heavy stone seemed to move slowly, far too slowly to close out the rapacity of the monsters. Through her fear, however, Linden realized that the Demondim had once again slackened their pace, allowing their foes to escape. She felt the impact as the gates thudded together, shutting out the Vile-spawn, plunging the tunnel into stark blackness.

Then the riders reached daylight in the courtyard, and she saw that all six of them were safe. She did not know how far they had fled the Demondim; but she recognized at once that none of them had suffered any harm.

The mounts had not fared so well. Like their riders, the horses were uninjured. But their terror had driven them to extremes which might yet kill them: they had galloped hard and long enough to break their hearts. Yet they did not stop until they had crossed the courtyard and passed between the inner gates. Then, as those gates also began to close, shutting out the last daylight, Jeremiah’s mount stumbled to its knees; fell gasping on its side with froth and blood on its muzzle. Jeremiah would have plunged to the stone, but the Master with him caught him and lifted him aside. The horse bearing Covenant endured only a moment longer before it, too, collapsed. But Covenant and his fellow rider were able to leap clear.

When the inner gates met and sealed like the doors of a tomb, the flame of the Staff was the only light that remained in the forehall.

The Ramen protested at the condition of the horses; but Linden ignored them. She had already begun to rush forward, avid to clasp her loved ones, when Covenant yelled as if in rage, “Hellfire, Linden! Put that damn thing out!

She stopped, gasping as though his vehemence had snatched the air from her lungs. Her power fell from her, and instant darkness burst over her head like a thunderclap.

Oh, God—

Just be wary of me. Remember that I’m dead.

If she could have found her voice, or drawn sufficient breath, she might have cried out at the Despiser, You bastard! What have you done?

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Fatal Revenant"
by .
Copyright © 2008 Stephen R. Donaldson.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Fatal Revenant (Last Chronicles Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have had a hard time putting the book down and now cannot wait for the final (3rd) book to come out. I read and still have all of the Thomas Convenant books and will go back and re-read them.
nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
I won't spoil anything for the future reader of this book except to say that nothing is as it seems. The only certainties are Linden Avery herself and the immediate members of her party - the Stonedowner Liand, the Ramen, and the Haruchai. Don't trust anything or anyone else in this book. It'll make for a far more enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fatal Revenant picks up the pace after the meandering Runes of the Earth. The action comes at a much faster pace and much more happens in this book. Obviously, if you're new to Donaldson's work, you'll need to back WAY up and start with his earlier works, but Donaldson fans will love it. The negatives are the word choices, which sometimes make it seem like Donaldson's thesaurus vomited all over the manuscript, and the character of Linden Avery, who is just plain annoying. Despite these shortcomings, this is still a step in the right direction for Donaldson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I could rate this book in halves, I would rate the first half at 1 star and the 2nd half at 3 stars. This first half is slow going. It is boring, so repetitive. Linden whining and then whining some more about her son, mostly to herself. Nothing really happens. Was Donaldson trying to make us irritated with Linden? I almost quit reading it and I rarely do that. The second half of the book is substantially better. However, it by no means reaches the heights of Donaldson's previous work, in The Land and elsewhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Given the fact that there are such a large number of books, I guess I can't expect to love them all. I frankly got a little tired of linden's attitude and 'poor me' syndrome, but frankly I never liked Thomas either as a hero, it was the surrounding cast that I was so addicted to, the Lords, the Giants, Bloodguard, etc. Postiives: The story continues, I always loved it so to read more of it is just plain nice. New races have been added, and the story is growing more complex which is a good thing. I won't get into extended plot details in case you haven't read it. Negatives: Linden is a little whiney... gets on my nerves, and calls for help at every turn. Half the book was wasted imho during the trip to the mountain and the meeting with Berek was dissapointing at best. 250 pages to expose a conspiracy... 'doh' I suffered through it. Overall: If you've read the other books in the series, its a must read, if for nothing else than the continuation of characters 'or types' that you love. And i'm hoping that two 'thick' books of setup will make this book 3 interesting. In meantime, i'll probably just go back and read Illearth war and White Gold Weilder again while I wait for the last book. I've read all of Donaldson's works, some good some bad but the Covenant series brings me back. In the meantime
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big Donaldson fan, and I've read all the Covenant books. For the most part I enjoyed them all. I can't say too much about this book because I haven't gotten very far yet. Maybe it's a great book like the other reviewers say, maybe not. I simply cannot stand to read any more about Linden whining. Is this the hero we are supposed to be excited about? Someone that needs to be practically carried to her room after a stressful conversation. Someone that thinks it's the end of the world that she can't touch her son, or Covenant. Someone that whines and cries and can't seem to do anything on her own. It may end up being a good book. But all this whining is driving me crazy.....
harstan More than 1 year ago
Looking down form the watchtower of Revelstone, Linden Avery sees men and riders being chased by Demondim to her shocked elation the riders are the love of her life Thomas Covenant while the other is her adopted autistic son Jeremiah. Covenant explains that though he holds together the Arch of Time together still, he is through a fold in time here in the flesh. Jeremiah is being held by Lord Foul the Despiser who seeks destruction of the land while part of him is here thanks to Covenant. From the first moment, Linden senses a change in her beloved who is short with her and very sarcastic and scornful. Jeremiah makes it clear that he worships Covenant and has no time for Linden. They trick her into meeting him in an isolated place where they separate her from her friends and allies. They travel thousands of years back in time because Covenant needs to drink the Blood of the Earth so he can use the Power of Command to put an end to Lord Foul. When Linden learns why the two men she most lives are cold to her, she feels her heart torn apart she vows revenge on those who caused her such anguish if she ever returns to her future present. --- FATAL REVENANT, Book Two of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, is a complex poignant epic fantasy about The Land where wild and tamed magics are part of the earth. The Land is populated by various races including creatures out of myth and legend some of whom serve as pivotal plot points to move the complicated story line forward even when the heroes go back in time. Lord Foul never appears, but his shadow minions are everywhere seemingly to stop Linden¿s quest.. Stephen R. Donaldson is a great worldbuilder as he makes his characters even the monsters seem real, but it is the poignancy of relationships that make him one of the best fantasists today. --- Harriet Klausner
HollyinNNV on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Reading a Thomas Covenant book is like rediscovering old friends. After a little uncomfortable small-talk, you remember why they were your friends and rejoice in renewing the friendship. I was not disappointed by my trip to the "Land" in Stephen Donaldson's latest Covenant adventure. I was surprised at various plot shifts. I was incredibly happy that the giants made an appearance towards the end of the book. And the addition of the Insequent helped explain some of the questions I had in earlier books.Unlike those readers who really like Thomas Covenant, I had grown a wee bit tired of him. I have been much happier to get a break from his perspective and I do really like Linden Avery. Linden's total inability to forgive her son's kidnapping rings true for me. I think most moms can appreciate her furor.I also totally enjoy the language that Donaldson uses in his books. I don't bother looking up the words, but just figure them out with context clues. I think the language flavors the book perfectly. I only have one small quibble with this particular Thomas Covenant book. I feel like the author was constantly rehashing the plot and reminding me of details that I already knew. I don't know if someone told him that the book was too confusing, or that the readers wouldn't remember details, or what? Maybe this was done because there were so many years between the book series? Honestly, I felt the rehashing was overdone. I've read these books so many times, I remember the story of the merewives and of the giants at Seareach. So, I felt that Fatal Revenant was a bit choppy with its constant reminders of past stories.And that IS my only quibble. Other than that, I love, love, love these books. Mr. Donaldson, please write more, soon :)
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is possibly the most emotionally wrenching and exasperating of any of the books yet, but still as well done as any of the others. Linden continues to struggle with what appears to be impossible odds, but perseveres as you would expect. However, at time she seems impossibly foolish, ignoring the obvious in such a way that it is even out of order for her character, which tends to take away some from the anticipation and emotional stress she is supposed to be feeling. It would have been a bit more believable if she wasn't quite so gullible. Otherwise, an excellent book, as we would expect, and I'm looking forward to the last of the series.
cnewbycnewby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although I was enchanted by the first book in "Final Chronicles", I was captivated by Revenant. The calm after the storm, as Linden regained herself after her battle with Roger and her son, showed me the true mastery that I have come to expect from Mr. Donaldson. This was a book worthy of my memories of previous trips to the land (which I'm sure have grown with age). The return of giants along with their laughter, honor, and grief was also a welcome sight. I am often gladdened by Mr. Donaldson's insight into the honor and injury of the human condition and I welcome, with long, drawn-out, baited breath the coming of the next book.
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For me, this one isn't up to par with the ones that have come before. The story has gone a bit stagnant. Something has happened to the magic that made me, as the reader, care about the main characters and their actions; perhaps Covenant's self-imposed detachment has leaped off the page and numbed my mind. Donaldson's series has been wonderful and engaging until now, so perhaps the next installment will resurrect my interest. The search for the next simile and the over-use of a thesaurus are often intrusive and torturous and may be what kept me at a distance. It is difficult to become invested when the prose is unnecessarily encumbered and prodigiously peppered with stumbling blocks.
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