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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever Paperback – July 26, 1993
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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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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I've always felt that the best chapters of any Thomas Covenant book at the ones where Covenant is not present and the story can shine through. The Land is richly detailed and the native characters and storyline are compelling. This book, IMO, is a step down from The Illearth War, which had a great story, dropped Covenant from a large section of the book, and had him be a lot more easy to relate to in his sections.. I had higher hopes for the conclusion of the Trilogy - not necessarily for Covenant to be largely absent again, but for his character advancing to the point where he fit in with the story better. Instead, the story grinds to a halt far too often under Covenants repeated denials, excuses, and tirades. Despite this, however, there is still a compelling story underneath and a satisfying resolution to the trilogy. My four star review comes from a combination of a five star review for the story and a generous three star rating for the writing style.
You may wonder, as I have for 10 straight days, why would one continue on a path so strewn with stupid boulders, so wracked with eye-rollingly incredulous exasperation, that most people in similar situations would just abandon that quest. This is something I still ponder. I guess the simplest explanation is, the story itself isn't half bad.
The premise seems a bit, well, misguided, I guess, or possibly ill-conceived. A man learns he is a leper. Really? A leper? OK fine, I'll go along with it. After hearing this terrible news, his wife takes their son and divorces him, leaving him to live alone with what's left of his life and a tidy sum earned by a best selling novel he wrote years before, on a farm in a small town. The news of his disease has also made him an outcast in town. His neighbors have been anonymously pre-paid his bills leaving hoping he would stay put and not infect the town with his leprosy. He's forced to confront the situation, deciding one day to pay his phone bill in person. Yadda, yadda, he encounters a berobed beggar, possibly a destitute ethics professor, he lays upon him a query; "A real man—real in all the ways that we recognize as real—finds himself suddenly abstracted from the world and deposited in a physical situation which could not possibly exist: sounds have aroma, smells have color and depth, sights have texture, touches have pitch and timbre. There he is informed by a disembodied voice that he has been brought to that place as a champion for his world. He must fight to the death in single combat against a champion from another world. If he is defeated, he will die, and his world—the real world—will be destroyed because it lacks the inner strength to survive. The man refuses to believe that what he is told is true. He asserts that he is either dreaming or hallucinating and declines to be put in the false position of fighting to the death where no “real” danger exists. He is implacable in his determination to disbelieve his apparent situation and does not defend himself when he is attacked by the champion of the other world. Question: is the man’s behavior courageous or cowardly? This is the fundamental question of ethics.
And so begins his fantastical tale, the part of the story that actually engages me. The story from here checks all of the boxes labeled "Tale of Heroic Fantasy". An evildoer to do battle with, strange encounters with the indigenous inhabitants, and even an Epic Quest to save the land. Lots of fun to be had within those parameters. If you can see your way past occasional outbursts of rage and incoherence on the part of the protagonist, then I think you'll find this book pleasing by the time the end comes along.
Most recent customer reviews
straighten up and get...Read more