The long-awaited 10th and concluding episode in Donaldson’s sprawling epic of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (after Against All Things Ending) opens with Thomas gravely injured but cured of the malady of mind that had impeded his ability to save the Land. In the meantime, the Worm of the World’s End and She Who Must Not Be Named have both been roused, and “the last crisis of Earth” is at hand. By the novel’s end, Thomas, his wife, and her son will all have made extraordinary sacrifices to rebuild and redeem the Earth, following the collapse of the Arch of Time and the liberation of Lord Foul the Despiser. Although richly allegorical, the novel’s great strength is the warm humanity of its characters, who distinguish themselves by repeatedly confronting and overcoming their personal frailties. Donaldson’s fans will find this a fitting finale 36 years in the making. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Oct.)
It will take a long time for fans or critics to digest and appreciate Donaldson's almost 40-year achievement. But in time “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” will be seen as one of the self-defining works of the third millennium, our equivalent in scope and ambition of earlier epics and fantasies, from Virgil's “Aeneid” to Tennyson's “Arthurian Idylls” and Tolkien's “Lord of the Rings,” the last now a lifetime (Donaldson's own) in the past.
"Although richly allegorical, the novel's great strength is the warm humanity of its characters, who distinguish themselves by repeatedly confronting and overcoming their personal frailties. Donaldson's fans will find this fitting finale 36 years in the making." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for FATAL REVENANT:
"Difficult but worthwhile, this complicated and emotional continuation of the Thomas Covenant saga is exactly what Donaldson's fans have been hoping for." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for THE RUNES OF THE EARTH:
“[A] landmark fantasy saga.” --Entertainment Weekly
“A reawakening of a classic fantasy saga.” --Library Journal
“A trilogy of remarkable scope and sophistication.” --Los Angeles Times
“Startlingly original antiheroic fantasy resonating with echoes of both Tolkien and Philip K. Dick.” --Publishers Weekly
“An epic with page-turning intrigue.” --Detroit Free Press
“Impressive…filled with splendid inventions.” --Booklist
“The most important and original work of epic fantasy after Tolkien…Rich in paradox, metaphor and symbolism…Donaldson’s writing remains one of the most original and intellectually challenging works to have graced contemporary epic fantasy.” --SF Site
"Donaldson has met [readers'] high expectations...you might utter at the book's end: 'I want the next book right now.'" --Detroit Free Press
"Fans can celebrate." --The Kansas City Sta
Praise for THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT:
"A feast for epic fantasy addicts." --Publishers Weekly
"The most original fantasy since THE LORD OF THE RINGS." --Time Out
"I don't think a books like this come along more than a few times in a lifetime." --Marion Zimmer Bradley
Reborn through the extraordinary sacrifice of Linden Avery, Thomas Covenant returns to the Land for one last time. Fortified by the company of Linden, her newly awakened autistic adopted son Jonathan, his beloved giants, and the gallant steeds of the Ranyhyn, Thomas sets out to confront the would-be destroyers of the land, including his rebellious son Roger, She Who Must Not Be Named, and, finally, Lord Foul himself. VERDICT The tenth and final volume featuring Thomas Covenant provides a satisfying wrap-up to an opus that began in 1977 with Lord Foul's Bain and has garnered millions of fans. Donaldson's landmark historical fantasy series marks a milestone of epic storytelling and deserves the widest audience. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/13.]
The Thomas Covenant series comes to a lumbering halt after four decades. Donaldson (Against All Things Ending, 2010, etc.) opened the 10-book series in 1977 with Lord Foul's Bane, Lord Foul being, as his name suggests, a decidedly not-nice fellow whose job it is to bring misery to the Earth and The Land, the latter a place that exists if you click your heels together three times or otherwise believe. Like so many fantasy series of the era, Donaldson's labors under the heavy shadow of J.R.R. Tolkien, and at times, it reads like a lost million or so words from the Lord of the Rings as filtered through H.P. Lovecraft, who never met an eldritch sentence he didn't like. And Donaldson's series and this last book are as eldritch as they come, populated by the likes of magic-shunning warriors called Haruchai; horsemen, and not Japanese noodle makers, called Ramen; and Ravers, not MDMA-partaking hipsters but very, very unpleasant evil spirits whose nastiness is tempered only by the will of old Lord Foul himself. Thomas Covenant is an unusual hero to the extent that he's not really very likable, though he's got an interesting CV, including having survived a fearful bout of leprosy and every demon The Land could throw at him. Donaldson brings this tale to a close with an epic showdown between Lord Foul and Covenant, and it moves from Tolkien Lite to Tolkien Heavy: "Barnl...passed Bluntfist and Stonemage, drifted like a shadow among the Cavewights. With the rippled edges of his longsword, he seemed to reap creatures all around him. Howls became shrieks. Bodies fell." It's the standard good-versus-evil yarn, save that if evil is always evil, good is not always good. It goes without saying that a reader who enters the series without the benefit of the preceding volumes will be utterly lost. Definitively of a piece with what has come before; if you're a fan of Donaldson, this is indispensable. If not, of course, not.
Epic in every sense, The Last Dark not only brings an end to Stephen R. Donaldson's Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant tetralogy; it also completes a ten novel series that the Washington Post has already predicted "will certainly find a place on the small list of true classics." In this final manifestation, cynical Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery reunite as the Worm of the World's End moves ever closer to destroying the Arch of Time.