Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever #1) - Stephen R. Donaldson 6.16   59

British Fantasy Award 1979. World Fantasy Award nominee 1978, Locus Award nominee 1978.

A wondrous world of magical adventure, as richly conceived and deeply engrossing as has ever been offered in a work of epic fantasy, awaits readers of this book, the opening volume of Stephen R. Donaldson's remarkable Covenant trilogy.

Here we meet Thomas Covenant, a man burdened with a terrible stigma that has deprived him of wife, friends, almost all human contact, perhaps even his sanity. In this state of moral isolation, he is suddenly shunted to a mysterious world known simply as "the Land" – a place of magical potency, acutely beautiful wherever it has recovered from the ravages of age-old, recurring wars. For the Land has an immortal enemy – Lord Foul the Despiser – whose unceasing intent is to lay it waste. He has been defeated in the past by the Council of Lords, servants of the Land and protectors of its arcane lore; but now the power of the Council has been reduced, and Lord Foul has found his perfect, unwitting tool – Thomas Covenant, the man who thinks the Land is a dream; who cannot accept its life-restoring powers for fear of confronting the terrible dilemma of his own existence; Covenant, the Unbeliever.

With irresistible narrative sweep, full of scenic grandeur, fabulous myth, and characters as memorable and fascinating as any in fantasy fiction, Stephen R. Donaldson has created a landmark of imaginative literature.

"I don't think that books like this come along more than a few times in a lifetime. I thought I was too old to be struck with wonder again. No, it doesn't happen often. With all my heart I'm delighted, excited." – Marion Zimmer Bradley


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Release date 1977
Details updated September 1, 2022

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever :: Series

Series contains 3 primary works and has 3 total works.

Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of our time, with penetrating insight into the darkest secrets of the human soul.

Main series Thomas Covenant

Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever #1) 6.16   59
The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever #2) 8.62   13
The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever #3) 8.92   13

Community Reviews & Rates

Bluejay
59 ratings
27 reviews
0 posts
March 16, 2008
6 / 10

Prior to reading this book I searched for other reviews and noticed that people either loved or hated it. I ended up with rather mixed feelings after finishing the novel. Donaldson brings The Land alive with beautiful, metaphoric descriptions. That is the strength of his work. Personally, I didn't find the anti-hero protagonist Thomas Covenant as repulsive as many other people have, on the other hand I couldn't spare much sympathy for him either, but while bitter, angry and arrogant, he feels so very human. The beginning is strong and despite the very dark mood, I wanted to follow Thomas through his struggles. Unfortunately in the middle the story loses a lot of momentum. Towards the end it gets more wind in it's sails and the action packed finale satisfied me. Lord Foul's bane is not an easy book. I surely missed a lot that was hidden behind the poetics and metaphors and overall darkness was at times exhausting. I was reminded of Tolkien's stories although Donaldson's style couldn't be more different. I'd recommend this for everyone who is mature enough to read adult fantasy, just because it's so different from most novels that I've read. Hate it or love it, but have a taste of something unusual.

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