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The Illearth War: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book Two Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1987

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Frequently Bought Together

The Illearth War: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book Two + The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 3) + Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1)
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Product Details

  • Series: The First Chronicles: Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
  • Mass Market Paperback: 527 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345348664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345348661
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'Something entirely out of the ordinary ! you'll want to go straight through Lord Foul's Bane, The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves at one sitting' The Times 'The Thomas Covenant saga is a remarkable acheivement which will certainly find a place on the small list of all true classics' Washington Post 'A feast for epic fantasy addicts' Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

These books have never received the recognition they deserve. It's one of the most powerful and complex fantasy trilogies since Lord of the Rings, but Donaldson is not just another Tolkien wanabee. Each character-driven book introduces unexpected plots, sub-plots, and a host of magical beings so believably rendered you'd believe you might bump into them on your way to the bookstore.
                                                --Alex Klapwald, Director of Production

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Customer Reviews

Best of the series, probably the best fantasy book I've read.
David (
He knows that he will eventually have to "wake up", and if he gives in to his dreams, his existence defined by loneliness and leprosy will be unbearable.
Robert Jenkins
This is one great book filled with complex characters,very beautiful settings, and a great plot.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Appleseed VINE VOICE on November 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's obvious that Donaldson was cutting his teeth, so to speak, while writing Lord Foul's Bane. To be certain, that book had periods of brilliance, such as the occurrences in Andelain, but all in all it was probably the weakest book in the series. (That doesn't mean it isn't good - just that the rest of the books are incredible.)

In The Illearth War Covenant is called back to the Land for a second time, and his image of a reluctant hero is burnished in our mind even more than it was in the previous book, for while he was being summoned he was also on the phone with his ex-wife, Joan. The woman who left him for fear of his leprosy, the woman with whom he was still in love, the woman who was telling him, right then, that she missed and needed him. So he protests his summoning vehemently, but to no avail. As the new High Lord Elena indicates, they have no knowledge of how to send a person back once a summons is complete.

The Council of Lords has some new faces on it. It's been forty years since Covenant has been to the Land, and seven years (seven "Land" years) remain until the fulfillment of Foul's ominous prophecy from Lord Foul's Bane. The Lords are desperate. While they regained the Staff of Law and found High Lord Kevin's Second Ward at the end of Lord Foul's Bane, they have learned very little. The language, they find, is difficult to penetrate, and they find themselves unequal to the task of mastering the lore. Due to their sense of overwhelming failure and inadequacy, and other baleful events, they make the decision to summon Covenant.

There is another addition to Revelstone: Hile Troy. He is a character from the "real world", someone who has read (or had read to him) Covenant's best selling novel.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Steven Dennis on August 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Donaldson's best book -- the best of the Covenant series and better than any other fantasy written in the past 20 years. It's that good. Continuing the story from Lord Foul's Bane, the reluctant anti-hero leper Thomas Covenant returns to the mysterious Land, where he is again called upon to save it even as he must deny its existence to try and maintain his sanity. Of course, there is the added twist that he doesn't even know how to use the awesome power of the white gold wedding band at his wrist, even if he wanted to. Meanwhile, in the "real world," life is getting even tougher for Covenant. The forces of evil are at work in both worlds, with a titanic war splitting the Land and threatening to destroy it utterly. It's rare these days for a fantasy to be truly fantastic. Too often, hacks like David Eddings or Terry Brooks simply recycle plots from their earlier days and write hack and slash 'em pulp novels that are read one day and mind-flushed the next.
Donaldson's novels sear themselves into your brain, so that you remember them for years, decades after you last read them. The characters -- Foamfollower, the Bloodguard, Lord Mhoram, Lena -- each is deep and rich with emotional scars and a quiet strength and courage. Covenant in comparison can't help but appear bad, yet somehow, through his travels in the Land, he slowly, slowly manages to find his humanity again that had been stripped away by leprosy and VSE. If you haven't read the Covenant series, do yourself a favor and go read Lord Foul's Bane, then the Illearth War and the rest of the books. They are the treasure of modern fantasy.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M on January 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
4 1/2 stars.
Having reread Lord of the Rings in anticipation of the films last year, I recently also paid a visit to another fantasy series that I enjoyed while in middle school: Thomas Covenant. Nearly 20 years later, I appreciate the books more. The themes are very adult and while I enjoyed the books as a child because Donaldson creates a great fantasy-world that will interest and draw in readers of all ages, I am better able to understand what Donaldson was trying to accomplish now that I'm older.
The Illearth War is probably the best book in the series. The quick maturation of Donaldson's writing style makes this book a much better read than the first installment. In fact, after rereading the series, I think that Donaldson knew that his second book was put together better than the first to the extent that he made it so that reading the first book really isn't necessary. There is enough back-story revealed in the first few chapters so that any reader could grasp most of what happened in the first book, as it happened, without having to read it.
In my review of the Lord Foul's bane, I was preoccupied with detailing the many similarities between the Thomas Covenant series and Lord of the Rings and, thankfully, there is much less of this in Illearth War. Obviously, the basic principles of the story are retained, but the only new thing added that seems LOTR-related is that this second novel in the TC series is a war novel (with a side story of two major characters being led by a strange guide in search of something), and thus the general structure of Illearth War is copied from The Two Towers. But Dondaldson is more his own voice here, and that is a welcome change.
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