Saturday, November 6, 2010

AGAINST ALL THINGS ENDING: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, (Putnam/Penguin), by Stephen R. Donaldson

The ninth book in Donaldson’s ten-book sword and sorcery fantasy epic opens with the resurrection of Thomas Covenant, our hero. But was this a good idea? Normally, one would think so, but considering what has gone before in the previous eight volumes, perhaps not, since it has also awakened the Worm of the World’s End. Kind of a drag before your first cup of coffee after returning from the dead.

In Against All Things Ending, the focal point of the story is no longer Thomas Covenant, but rather his lover and savior, Linden Avery, who is searching for her missing son, the mysterious Jeremiah, whose secrets may carry with them the salvation of all. As a matter of fact, Covenant is surprisingly weak and passive in this book.

The foundation of the complex plot that defines Donaldson’s style is constructed with the sturdy building blocks of choices and their consequences. In our present day and age of helpless victim-hood, it is most refreshing to read of consequences that protagonists actually have the moral fiber and strength of character to accept and deal with.

There was a long gap between this book and the previous one in this series, and Donaldson bridges that with a detailed summary of each of the earlier tomes at the front of Against All Things Ending. Reading it over will undoubtedly bring those who have read his previous works up to speed nicely; however, if you haven’t read the series up to this point, and are attempting to begin with this book, it will be tough going. Some authors, when writing a series, craft them so that each book is able to stand on its own. This is not one of them. Readers must begin at the beginning.

That being said, Donaldson is always worth the time investment and after reading the first volume, you will be eager to collect the entire set. You’ll want to catch up before the story concludes in The Last Dark, Book Four of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and the tenth book in the series.

So what are you waiting for?

Visit Buy it now.

Carson Buckingham is a writer living in the great American Southwest and she reviews horror/paranormal suspense novels.

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