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White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1987

4.4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

From the Inside Flap

Thomas Covenant knew that despite his failure on the Isle of The One Tree, he had to return to the Land and fight. After a long and arduous journey, fighting all the way, he readies himself for the final showdown with Lord Foul, the Despiser, and begins to understand things he had only just wondered about before....
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Product Details

  • Series: The Second Chronicles: Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (October 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345348702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345348708
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant over ten years ago, and each successive revisit only increases my appreciation of this series. Be warned that it is not a saga to embark upon lightly: I am a voracious reader, but it can take months for me to get through the six books, partly because Donaldson's style begs to be savored, not hurriedly swallowed, and partly because the sheer amount of angst experienced in seeing the Land corrupted in the second trilogy occasionally necessitates putting it aside for a few days in favor of something lighter. Sound painful? It is - exquisitely so.
*White Gold Wielder* is a stunning conclusion to the Chronicles, both in its power and in the unexpectedness of its method of resolution. It is especially refreshing in the wake of the drawn-out and sometimes seemingly pointless sea journey of *The One Tree* - Donaldson gathers up all the loose threads and weaves them seamlessly into a climax in which everything is seen to have its purpose after all. I would compare it favorably to the end of The Lord of the Rings, my favorite fantasy series, although detailing the parallels would spoil the plot. It is completely plausible in the context established and immensely satisfying.
I would like to add that Donaldson made a brilliant choice in bringing Linden Avery into Covenant's one-man antiheroic crusade. She is the perfect foil, and not just because she reminds us of Covenant's initial incredulous reaction to the fantastic Land. Covenant is caught, Hamletlike, between his belief in his own powerlessness and the Land's need for a saviour; Linden is terrified of using her power because she dreads the monster she knows herself capable of becoming.
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By A Customer on June 13, 1999
This review applies to White Gold Wielder and also to the five books preceding it in the series. The Thomas Covenant chronicles was my first real foray into fantasy saga, having developed a fascination and affinity for the genre through playing Dungeons & Dragons as a young teenager, and reading the occasional novel. I read all six books over a one year period (age 18-19), and was utterly hooked almost immediately upon starting Lord Foul's Bane (yes, I'm a slow reader, but I savoured every minute of it!). What impresses me the most is how Donaldson so completely transports you to The Land, and creates in you such a love and wonderment for all its poignant beauty, legendary richness and inhabitants, that you cannot bear to see any ill come to it; it takes on a quality of sacrosanctity. Covenant himself quickly establishes himself as a tragic (if unlikely) hero, but with certain character flaws and frailties which reinforce his humanness. His leprosy is used skillfully as a vehicle to keep himself sane in this fantastic world, which he fears is a construct of madness closing in. His "unbelief" that this "Land" is reality at all lends the saga a delicious aspect of irony, as he nonetheless fights to preserve its beauty and history from the ravages of Lord Foul, the Despiser. The conflict between good and evil is well-defined; never corny or predictable; Foul is undeniably evil, and his contempt for the sacred Land truly disturbing; Thomas Covenant, through the power of his white gold ring (the only hope The Land has of salvation) is a muddle of self-doubts and paradoxes, but undeniably loves The Land and plans to defend it no matter what the cost. The ravage and war waged on The Land is both extremely exciting, and unbearably brutal.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read all of the first six Convenant books in a relatively short ammount of time, I will say that I came away enjoying the saga. White Gold Wielder, for it's part, provides a very good cross-section of the series as a whole. Donaldson's strengths are present in full force. Unfortunately, so are the weaknesses.
I'll mention the strengths first. Foremost is the character development. Thomas Covenant is a character unlike any other in modern fantasy, and Linden Avery is extremely well developed as his foil and complement. Alternating between their respective points-of-view, Donaldson effectively creates reader sympathy and empathy for their sometimes conflicting motives while at the same time advancing their shared cause.
Donaldson's other strength is world building. After the first five novels, "The Land" and it's encompassing world at large are fairly completely developed, so in WGW, Donaldson is able to use his setting as another character to drive the plot and draw the reader in, much as he did in the early part of the first trilogy when Covenant was many times too unlikeable to be engaging. Covenant does not revert to his dispicable past, far from it, but as his future becomes more and more bleak, the future of the land provides the story with hope of a happy ending.
Now, for the negatives. The biggest problem is that the whole thing is just so dark. Like the Despiser, Donaldson assails his characters with blow after blow, failure after failure. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but in this instance, the darkness is not often enough tempered with moments of light. In spite of everything, we've grown to like Covenant and Linden, and their uninterupted plight is draining.
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