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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever Paperback – July 26, 1993

38 customer reviews

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About the Author

Stephen Donaldson was born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. Between the ages of three and sixteen he lived in India, where his father, an orthopaedic surgeon, worked with leprosy sufferers. This inspired his fictional character, Thomas Covenant. Donaldson served two years as a conscientious objector doing hospital work in Akron, then attended Kent State University, where he received his M.A. in English in 1971. He now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Product Details

  • Series: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 1168 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (July 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006473296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006473299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By sumi jelly on September 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading Fantasy of course with JRR Tolkien's Lord Of the Rings. My second introduction to the world of Fantasy was Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
Thomas Covenant's by some strange stroke of Fate or perhaps calculated strategy, finds himself in The Land - a place of unsurpassed beauty where Earthpower is a source of power/energy that is tapped on by its people. Covenant is given a message of Doom and asked to deliver this message to the Council of Lords. But Covenant vehemently denies the existence of the Land' fashioning himself as `The Unbeliever' and his continuous battle with himself in this new but very real environment as well as the genuinely miraculous healing of his leprosy inflicted limbs, added to my wholehearted involvement in the novel. It was difficult to bear his continuous reluctance to accept The Land and shoulder the responsibilities handed to him - Thomas Covenant is not an immediately likeable character - in his rejection of The Land, he commits shocking acts and yet the reader is drawn to his vulnerabilities and his fierce struggle to above all, keep himself alive. I found myself urging him on - it was an extraordinary effect.
The language of the Land is also intriguing, an `Old Style' English which I loved and as I got more engrossed in the book, found myself using in my everyday speech....
All in all, a superb book, 14 years later, I am yet to find a Fantasy Book that rivals this. Enjoy!
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By NoLongerHere on December 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read all of the reviews here and have something to say to those with negative opinions of this series: for those of you who have relayed your reviews succinctly, I respect your collective opinions. This series is not for everyone. But to those who's reviews seemed to reflect confusion, please give this series another try. You obviously did not 'get it.'

This series is not about a fantasy land within which Covenant travels, such as other fantasy books dictate - yes, it is a story of a man who travels through the Land, however it is mostly about what happens to a person (physically, emotionally, mentally) who contracts and suffers with leprosy. The Land was Covenant, literally. When you look back at the characters, at the nuances of the Land, at the abilities of the Lords and such, and then put these details to the variety of physical aspects of the body, you can see a whole other series and story taking place.

Covenant was the Land. Though it is dreary and somewhat tiresome to read, the first book - Lord Foul's Bane - is the most important. It is where you, the reader, learn all you need to know about leprosy. Apply all that you learn there to the rest of this series, and the next three books, and you have a deeper understanding of Donaldson's genius.

BTW: on a side note, Donaldson - a master of language - spent some time in India with his father, who worked very closely with lepers. His experiences there shine through in this series.

The follow-up series' first book - The Runes of the Earth - follows the same pattern as this sets of series, except instead of leprosy the story follows a more psychological approach, mainly psychosis. I am anxious to read the next three books in the final series of this epic.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Jacobs on November 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you want a review of the Chronicles, see any of the other editions of this book, what I want to warn you about is the quality of the materials from which the book is made.

The cover is very thin and flimsy and promises to scuff easily and tear. Given that the book weighs in at 1150 pages, I was expecting a thicker, more durable cover. I normally carry books in a knapsack but, to be honest, I'm not sure I would risk this one in a sack without a lot of care. If I had seen it in the stacks at the local brick and mortar, I would never have bought it for the price.

The other aspect of the size that concerns me is the height and width; this book is a little larger than the average paperback. I was expecting something closer to the size of a hardcover. The binding *appears* good but given the size and construction, I am honestly concerned that this book may not hold up for more than two or three readings.

You are better off buying the books separately or finding a different combined edition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SockPuppet on October 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is a work of great literary merit and one of the all-time great fantasy fiction offerings. Dark and introspective, bleak yet redemptive, truly strange and strangely compelling, The Chronicles is a work of genuine depth and power. Whenever I read Donaldson I think of another favorite author of mine, Dostoevsky, since Donaldson is to the world of fantasy fiction what Dostoevsky is to the world of literature in general: perhaps the greatest master of conveying psychological depth, turmoil and complexity.

The reader might be forgiven for thinking I was about to compare Donaldson to Tolkien. However, Donaldson-Tolkien comparisons are as unhelpful as they are ubiquitous. Sure, Donaldson's fantasy imagination was obviously influenced by The Lord of the Rings, but in the final analysis this influence is rather superficial. Donaldson has had from the beginning his own highly distinctive and articulate voice. He's used Tolkien's work as a tool, not as a crutch. The sadly all too common complaint that the first Covenant trilogy is a Lord of the Rings retread forces me to suspect that many readers merely taste Donaldson's work rather than chew and digest it. Unfortunately, mere tasting does not provide the nourishment.

Another common complaint, somewhat at odds with the earlier one, takes issue with the dark nature of this trilogy, as exemplified through the soul journey of the selfish, indecisive, self-lacerating, mistake prone protagonist, the leper Thomas Covenant. This complaint rings truer than the first-this series is not for everyone. Donaldson teaches about the human condition through an unsparing and articulate examination of inner pain and turmoil, and this has a limiting effect with regards to his audience.
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