The 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

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The Wounded Land by Stephen R. Donaldson

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It has been 10 years since Thomas Covenant was last summoned to The Land to assist the Lords of The Land in their battle against Lord Foul. His last visit resulted in his confrontation and defeat of Lord Foul by using the wild magic of his white gold ring. During these 10 years, Covenant has tried to make a life for himself as a writer and cope with his leprosy to the best of his ability.

However, Covenant suddenly finds himself summoned to The Land once more and this time his summoner is Lord Foul. Three thousand years have passed since Covenant was last in The Land. But all the beauty and healthful benefits of The Land are gone. Lord Foul has warped The Land to his will through the use of the Sunbane, an evil aura around the sun that bends the laws of nature. The people of The Land must scratch out a meager existence and use human blood in an attempt to control the Sunbane. The people have forgotten all they once knew about the earthpower that they used to cherish and care for The Land. Also, all the healing restoratives that helped Covenant overcome the effects of his leprosy are now gone. To make matters worse, Covenant no longer possesses the "health sense" that allowed him to see what was good and evil about The Land.

Accidentally summoned with him this time is a physician, Linden Avery. Linden possesses the "health sense" that Covenant now lacks. Just looking at the warped nature of The Land is painful to her. Although not suffering from leprosy, Linden has demons of her own from her past that she must come to terms with in order to assist Covenant in the redemption of The Land.

Covenant decides to journey to Revelstone, the former Lordsí keep, to determine if the Clave, strange governing body that manipulates the Sunbane, is acting for the good of the people. Can Covenant find a way to reverse the effects of the Sunbane? Can he face and defeat Lord Foul once again? Can Linden come to terms with the ghosts of her past and find a way to assist Covenant? This and the other two books in the trilogy will answer these questions.

Donaldson is once again masterful without repeating the story line of the first trilogy. The Land is completely different (yet strangely the same) in this trilogy, which opens numerous new possibilities. As in the first trilogy, much of the book is used to explore the frailties of the main characters and how they mirror the basic frailties of human nature. Donaldson triumphs once again. If you liked the first trilogy, this one wonít disappoint you. While not superior to the original trilogy, this is every bit its equal.

Reviewed by: Alan

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The One Tree by Stephen R. Donaldson

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In The Wounded Land Covenant confronted the Clave, strange governing body of The Land that has replaced the council of Lords, and learned the truth about Lord Foulís role in the desecration of The Land. Covenant decides the best course of action is to leave The Land to search for the Isle of the One Tree. Centuries before, Berek Halfhand had forged the Staff of Law from a branch of the One Tree. Covenant feels the only hope of redemption for The Land is to forge a new staff and restore the laws of nature that were broken when the original staff was destroyed. Accompanied by Linden Avery and a ship full of giants they depart The Land. Since no one knows where the One Tree is located, the giants suggest that the company seek the help of the Elohim. The Elohim are a fairy people that appear to be earthpower incarnate. But the Elohim have their own plans for Covenant and the white gold.

A great deal of this book explores the character of Linden Avery. She has terrible secrets in her past that she must explore and confront to overcome her feelings of helplessness. Her confrontation with the leader of the Clave in The Wounded Land left her doubting herself and feeling that she is inherently evil. She must work through her feelings and find a way to help Covenant on his quest to redeem The Land. The giants are all terrific characters, which add to the enjoyment of this book. There is a great deal of action in this book, which flows exceptionally well and never drags.

Reviewed by: Alan

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White Gold Wielder by Stephen R. Donaldson

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Despite the crushing failure at the Isle of the One Tree, Covenant and Linden realize that they have no choice but to go on fighting the nefarious plots of Lord Foul. They decide to return to The Land and attempt to extinguish the Banefire hoping that this will slow the desecration of the Sunbane. The minions of Lord Foul are poised to oppose them every step of the way. They also know that even if they slow down the Sunbane, they still must eventually find a way to stop Lord Foul himself.

Donaldson brings the trilogy to a brilliant conclusion in this volume. Linden finally comes to terms with the "ghosts" of her past and realizes that she is not inherently evil despite having made mistakes in the past. Covenant achieves an inner peace after he finally accepts what he must do to defeat Lord Foul. The triumph of two flawed human beings over the "devil incarnate" provides an interesting premise for Donaldson to explore the frailties of human nature. I finally began to like Covenant in this volume and I actually began to empathize with him. Although we expect Covenant and Linden to win in the end, the ending was inventive and engaging and not at all what I expected.

There is a rumor that Donaldson may write the Third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I, for one, am avidly awaiting their publication.

Reviewed by: Alan

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