BookBrowse Reviews The Runes of The Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson

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

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Stephen Donaldson continues his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

The first six books in the Thomas Covenant series were published between 1977 and 1983. The 'First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant' comprised Lord Foul's Bane, The Illearth War and Gilden Fire; these were shortly followed by The Wounded Land, The One Tree and White Gold Wielder, which together formed the second trilogy titled the 'Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant'.  Twenty years later, Donaldson is back with a new four part series: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant', that begins with 'The Runes of Earth'.

A brief update of the story so far: All the action in the First Chronicles, and most of the Second Chronicles, takes place in a region known only as 'the Land', where the people live in harmony with themselves and the Land, but are in constant battle with the great enemy, Lord Foul the Dispiser, and his armies.  Our hero is Thomas Covenant, an unexceptional man who finds himself mystically and unwillingly transported to the Land just when Lord Foul's plans are about to reach fruition.  Conveniently, his wedding band of white gold (a metal not found in the Land) turns out to be a powerful talisman that he can use to fight against the Despiser.  However, his self-loathing, confusion, skepticism and anger at the world in general, combined with the fact that he has little control over the white gold, makes him a danger, not just to the Dispiser, but to his own friends.  

So far, this sounds like fairly standard sci-fi/fantasy fare, but what sets the first two trilogies apart is the psychological makeup and flawed humanity of Covenant himself.  At the start of the series he's not just reluctant to become a hero but entirely unwilling to even believe in the reality of his circumstances; in fact, as a reaction to his circumstances (his family have recently left him after he contracted incurable leprosy) he's abandoned all hope and become ruthlessly clinical and emotionless.  However, over the pages of the first two trilogies he slowly transforms from a loathed and self-loathing pariah and learns to put his faith in his friends, and to love and trust again.  

If you're not familiar with the first 6 books, don't despair - my husband says you don't have to have read the first 6 books to enjoy this one - he hasn't and he did!

Selected Reviews:
'Filled with splendid inventions (occasionally described to the point of prolixity), this book promises extremely well for the future of the end of the Covenant chronicles. Expect readers to swarm.' - Booklist

This review is from the September 1, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.