Excerpt from The Runes of The Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Runes of The Earth

The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1

by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Runes of The Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson X
The Runes of The Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2004, 560 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2005, 560 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Hell, where did he get the idea?

"I'm sorry." Apparently he wanted to be polite. "I still don't see the problem. She's my mother. I'm her son. I'm willing to take care of her. How can the law object? How can you, Dr Avery? I don't understand why she and I haven't already left."

She turned away for a moment to look out the window. It gave her an unilluminating view of the parking lot, where her worn old car crouched over its rust, waiting for the day when its welds would fail and it could finally slump into scrap. She had kept it only because it had carried her to her first encounters with Thomas Covenant.

If Roger would not leave, surely she could simply drive away? Go out to her car, coax its engine to life, and return to Jeremiah?

No. If she had wanted to be a woman who fled whenever her job became difficult, she should have bought herself a more reliable vehicle.

Old habit lifted her hand to press the hard circle of Covenant's ring through her blouse. Sighing, she faced his son again.

"Let me try to be plain. Whether or not you understand is beside the point. The point is this. Unless and until you bring me a court order signed by a judge instructing me to release Joan Covenant to your custody, she stays where she is. End of discussion." She gazed at him expectantly. When he failed to take the hint, she added, "That's your cue to leave, Mr Covenant."

Don't you understand that you're not the only person here who cares about her?

However, she doubted that Roger Covenant cared at all for his mute mother. His oblivious manner, and the incipient madness or prophecy in his eyes, conveyed an entirely different impression.

He had explained that he had not come for Joan earlier because he had not been old enough. But he had passed his twenty-first birthday yesterday. Now he was ready. Yet Linden believed intuitively that he had some hidden purpose which outweighed love or concern.

In his unwavering insistence, he reminded her of some of the more plausible psychotics she had known in her tenure as Chief Medical Officer for the Berenford Memorial Psychiatric Hospital. But perhaps he suffered from nothing more treatable than terminal narcissism, in which case he was telling her the simple truth. He could not "see the problem."

This time, however, something in her tone--or in the conflicted fire mounting behind her eyes--must have penetrated his strange unction. Before she could offer to call Security, he rose to his feet as if he comprehended her at last.

Immediately she stood as well. She saw now that he was an inch or two shorter than his father, and broader in the torso. For that reason, among others, he would never evince the particular gauntness, the cut and flagrant sense of purpose--all compromise and capacity for surrender flensed away--which had made Thomas Covenant irrefusable to her.

He would never be the man his father was. He had too much of his mother in him. His carriage exposed him: the slight looseness in his shoulders; the tension which compensated for his poor balance. His arms seemed full of truncated gestures, expressions of honesty or appeal cut off prematurely. Behind his insistence, Linden heard hints of Joan's weakness, forlorn and fundamentally betrayed.

Perhaps his real desires had nothing to do with his mother. Perhaps he simply wanted to prove himself his father's equal. Or to supplant him--

When Roger had gained his feet, however, he did not admit defeat. Instead he asked, "Can I see her? It's been years." He offered Linden an affectless smile. "And there's something I want to show you."

In spite of her impatience, she nodded. "Of course. You can visit her right now." Strangely, his apparent emptiness saddened her: she grieved on his behalf. Thomas Covenant had taught her that ignorance--like innocence--had no power to ward itself against harm. Because Roger did not understand, he could not be saved from suffering.

From The Runes of Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1 by Stephen R. Donaldson. Copyright Stephen R. Donaldson 2004. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dinosaurs
    by Lydia Millet

    "Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights."—Vogue

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

When men are not regretting that life is so short, they are doing something to kill time.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.