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The Last Dark: The climax of the entire Thomas Covenant Chronicles (Last Chronicles of Thomas Cove) Hardcover – October 15, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 367 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 €œthe 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.)

From Booklist

After 35 years and nine previous installments, Donaldson wraps up the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Epic in scope, this fantasy series ends with an electrifying bang as sometime partners Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery, two tortured souls on a desperate mission to save the alternate world known as the Land, are reunited. Discovering that the power they wield together may be strong enough to defeat the Worm of the World’s End, they continue on their quest as the action ratchets up to an appropriately explosive climax. Readers who have faithfully followed the exploits of Covenant and company may be sad, but they will not be disappointed as this masterful, mystical fantasy series concludes. --Margaret Flanagan
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Product Details

  • Series: Last Chronicles of Thomas Cove (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1st edition (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159206
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are reading this review, then there is no point in recapping the series (incidentally, the "story so far" summary at the beginning of THE LAST DARK is one of the most lucid and well-written for a series this monumentally long that I have ever read).

I have been looking forward to this summation of Covenant's and Linden Avery's stories for many years and parts of this book were entirely satisfying in that regard. I will begin by talking about the things that I thought were very well done, followed by a few problems that I regret mar this book for me and cost it two stars. Spoilers ahead, although I will try to be circumspect!

Pros:
1) Lots of Giants (but, see also, the cons below). The Giants are one of the most affecting recurring characters in the Covenant canon. Donaldson took some pains to clarify what it means that "joy is in the ears that hear, not the mouth that speaks." There is a surprising level of angst with the Giants in this book that is partially settled by a kind of caamora which readers will recognize from an earlier book. That said, Giants are the characters whose nobility and capacity for courage and sacrifice are made archetypal rather than caricatured. I will always be haunted by Baf Scatterwit and how beloved she is by her crewmates.

2) The Haruchai. These are arguably the most carefully considered characters in the series. They are flawed, though immensely admirable, and Donaldson obviously venerates them and their lives of passion and service.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Donaldson's first two Covenant trilogies were masterworks. He could have stopped with White Gold Wielder and the volumes would rank up there with the great fantasy of the age. Unfortunately, there seems to be a Peter Principle effect in fantasy publishing, by which authors continue to expand their universes up until the point at which they ruin them.

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*SPOILERS BEGIN HERE*
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From Runes Of The Earth through Against All Things Ending, I kept reading a story that was well-narrated but had a fairly incoherent plot, reading on in hope that Donaldson would pull it all together in The Last Dark. In Runes of the Earth and Fatal Revenant, Donaldson builds up a dizzying array of characters, many of whom either have no particular impact on the plot (e.g. Liand, The Harrow) or serve among the multitude of blatant deus-ex-machina who zap in and magic up Ur-Viles/the Illearth Stone/caesures/a fake Thomas Covenant (e.g. Roger, Esmer, Kastennessen) whenever the plot demands it.

Donaldson seems to recognize his mistake in Against All Things Ending, and begins methodically killing the superfluous characters off (I had particular hope for the story when he killed off Esmer, whose power and sheer randomness made everything arbitrary). Unfortunately, he does this in the quickest possible way - which often involves the actions of more deux-ex-machina (Roger, cavewights, sandgorgons, skurj, or ur-viles zapping in and impaling people), adding to the general incoherence of the plot.

But that is all What Has Come Before. Now we're done culling out all of the superfluous elements of the first three books and ready to get down to some real storytelling, right?
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Format: Hardcover
There are some spoilers in here, but I can't really imagine that's an issue -- if you read the first NINE books in the series, you're GOING to read the tenth, if you haven't already. And if you haven't read the other nine, you're not going to start here, are you? Nonetheless, here's my review of this book in particular and the series as a whole.

In 1980, my Senior year in High School, my brother returned home from his Freshman year in college and gave me a birthday present of a book that he'd heard would be good for a Science Fiction fan like myself. "Thanks!" I effused, thinking how stupid my brother was for not knowing the difference between Sci-Fi and Fantasy. But a voracious reader leaves no book unread, so soon I found myself slogging through fifty pages or so of a depressing story about a leper in modern society, outcast and unwelcome, hated by everyone around him, and feeling smug about just how much of an idiot my brother was.

Until......suddenly I was introduced to a Land where health and beauty are tangible things, where power and authority are palpable and used to serve noble purposes instead of as tools of mendacity and greed, where corruption and goodness are deified in the personage of good and evil Lords. This was a world that could be loved by a tech geek that was bored to tears by "The Hobbit", these were people and beings that deserved the utmost respect and affection. But in this world of health, beauty and respect, a normal man with normal human foibles and a profound illness has a hard time fitting in, especially when it's vividly pointed out to him just how much he's lost, how mundane and empty his normal human life has become.
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