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Book Details

Lord Foul's Bane

85.7% complete
1977
1981
2 times
Covenant, Thomas (Fictitious character) - Fiction
Fantastic fiction
Fantasy fiction
Fiction in English
See 25
1 - Golden Boy
2 - "You Cannot Hope"
3 - Invitation to a Betrayal
4 - Kevin's Watch
5 - Mithil Stonedown
6 - Legend of Berek Halfhand
7 - Lena
8 - The Dawn of the Message
9 - Jehannum
10 - The Celebration of Spring
11 - The Unhomed
12 - Revelstone
13 - Vespers
14 - The Council of Lords
15 - The Great Challenge
16 - Blood-Bourne
17 - End in Fire
18 - The Plains of Ra
19 - Ringthane's Choice
20 - A Question of Hope
21 - Teacher's Gorge
22 - The Catacombs of Mount Thunder
23 - Kiril Threndor
24 - The Calling of Lions
25 - Survived
Book Cover
Has a genre Has a synopsis Has an extract Has a year read Has a rating In my library In a series 
19
 Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever*
#1 of 3
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever*   See series as if on a bookshelf
The first trilogy by Stephen R Donaldson with Thomas Covenant as the main character and introducing The Land.

1) Lord Foul's Bane
2) The Illearth War
3) The Power that Preserves

 Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
#1 of 10
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant   See series as if on a bookshelf
The overall span of Thomas Covenant novels in order.

1) Lord Foul's Bane
2) The Illearth War
3) The Power that Preserves
4) The Wounded Land
5) The One Tree
6) White Gold Wielder
7) The Runes of the Earth
8) Fatal Revenant
9) Against All Things Ending
10) The Last Dark
© 1977 by Stephen R. Donaldson
For Dr. James R. Donaldson, M.D.,
whose life expressed compassion and commitment
more eloquently than any words
She came out of the store just in time to see her young son playing on the sidewalk directly in the path of the gray, gaunt man who strode down the center of the walk like a mechanical derelict.
May contain spoilers
He walked up the long driveway to his house as if that were his only hope.
No comments on file
Synopsis (may contain spoilers)
This book starts the series featuring Thomas Covenant and the story of the Land.

It opens by introducing Thomas Covenant, a man who has leprosy.  His wife left him after he found this out and took their son with her.  He had to have two finger amputated due to the leprosy and spent a while in a leprosarium.  Once he returned home, the people in the small town where he lived shunned him.  All of this made of him a very bitter man.  After walking in to town to pay his phone bill he was crossing the street when a police car appeared out of no where barreling straight for him. 

He fell and found himself in a strange place being confronted by Lord Foul.  He discovers that a cavewight called Drool Rockworm has summoned him to the Land to get his White Gold ring.  The cavewight has found the Staff of Law and Covenant is given a message to give to the Lords of the Land by Lord Foul the Despiser.  Lord Foul spirits him away from Drool Rockworm when Covenant finds himself on top of a mountain.  He is rescued from the heights of what he  later comes to know as "Kevin's Watch" by a young girl named Lena.  She discovers that he is injured and gives him hurtloam to help him.  This appears to cure his leprosy which he knows is impossible.  In order to continue living he must not give into the apparent dream of this Land and could not accept that nerves can heal.  He decides to not believe in this Land and calls himself "Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever." 

Even though he does not believe in the Land he decides he must ride out the dream in order to escape from it.  He goes the Revelstone and Lord Keep to deliver his message.  He is first guided by Lena's mother and then by a giant named Saltheart Foamfollower.  Once there he tells the warning given by Lord Foul.  The Lords then discover that he has e white gold ring which is a talisman of great power in the Land.  They make him an ur-Lord because of this.  The Lords decide to go to Drool Rockworm and retrieve the Staff of Law and Thomas Covenant goes with the Quest.

During the journey they stop by the Plains of Ra where the Ramen, tenders of the great horses called the Ranyhyn, call for the horses at Covenants request.  These horses choose riders and not the other way around.  It is not common for a Ranyhyn to respond to a call from a human.  Covenant receives 100 horses but refuses them.  He makes a bargain instead that he will do what he can for the Land if they will not expect too much from him.  They must also come when he calls and send on Ranyhyn once a year to see Lena in Mithil Stonedown, her home.

The Quest eventually gets to Mount Thunder to confront Drool Rockworm.  On the way the discover the Second Ward of Kevin's Seven Wards of Knowledge.  The confrontation with Drool Rockworm ends with the High Lord Prothal wresting the Staff of Law from him and the company making their escape.  Once outside of the caves, they are attacked by ur-viles and cavewights and things look hopeless.  Droll Rockworm shows up also with the Illearth Stone, another bane of great power but of warping power.  Before all is lost Covenant uses his ring to help High Lord Prothal use the Staff of Law to call forth the Fire Lions from Mount Thunder.  Just before certain doom, Covenant remembers the bargain with the Ranyhyn and calls for them.  They arrive to carry away the Lords and warriors just as Drool Rockworm dies and the call that kept Covenant in the Land fades as well. 

Covenant wakes up in a hospital room to learn that the police car had never hit him and that he only had minor injuries that could be treated.

Extract (may contain spoilers)
He gripped Pietten again.  The child's struggles were weaker now, as if Covenant's hug slowly smothered him.  But the Unbeliever clung.  He stared wildly at the Ranyhyn, and wavered as if he could not regain his balance.

But he had already made his decision.  He had seen the Ranyhyn recognize his ring.  Clenching Pietten to his heart like a helm, he cried, "Listen!" in a voice as hoarse as a sob.  "Listen.  I'll make a bargain with you.  Get it right.  Hellfire!  Get it right.  A bargain.  Listen.  I can't stand - I'm falling apart.  Apart."  He clenched Pietten.  "I see - I see what's happening to you.  You're afraid.  You're afraid of me.  You think I'm some kind of - All right.  You're free.  I don't choose any of you."

The Ranyhyn watched him fearfully.

"But you've got to do things for me.  You've got to back off!"  That wail almost took the last of his strength.  "You - the Land -" he panted, pleaded, Let me be!  "Don't ask so much."  But he knew that he needed something more from them in return for his forbearance, something more than their willingness to suffer his Unbelief.

"Listen - listen.  If I need you, you had better come.  So that I don't have to be a hero.  Get it right."  His eyes bled tears, but he was not weeping.

"And - and there's one more thing.  One more.  Lena -"  Lena!  "A girl.  She lives in Mithil Stonedown.  Daughter of Trell and Atiaran.  I want - I want one of you to go to her.  Tonight. And every year.  At the last full moon before the middle of spring.  Ranyhyn are - are what she dreams about."

He shook the tears out of his eyes, and saw the Ranyhyn regarding him as if they understood everything he had tried to say.

"Now go," he gasped.  "Have mercy on me."

 

Added: 25-Nov-2002
Last Updated: 04-Apr-2023

Publications

 18-Sep-1978
Voyager
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
18-Sep-1978
Pages*:
540
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
119
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-006-15239-2
ISBN-13:
978-0-006-15239-2
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:
 01-Mar-1982
Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback
In my libraryI read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Mar-1982
Format:
Mass Market Paperback
Cover Price:
$2.95
Pages*:
474
Read:
Once
Reading(s):
1)   1 Jan 1981 - 1 Jan 1981
Internal ID:
24
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-29657-5
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-29657-3
Printing:
14
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Credits:
Lynn K Plagge - Map
Darrell K Sweet  - Cover Artist
THOMAS COVENANT, UR-LORD

He called himself Covenant the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in this strange alternate world on which he suddenly found himself.  The magic of the Land could not be real.  Loremasters could not draw fire from wood that never burned, not force stone to flow freely under their fingers.  Yet they did.  Hurtloam could not regenerate ruined nerves.  Yet, miraculously, it did.

The Land tempted him.  He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before.  Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah.  Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero - Berek Halfhand - armed with the mystic power of White Gold.  That power alone could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despairer, Lord Foul.  Only... Covenant had no idea of how the power could be used!

Thus begins one of the strangest epic fantasies ever written...

THE CHRONICLES OF
THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELEIVER

Book One LORD FOUL'S BANE
Book Two THE ILLEARTH WAR
Book Three THE POWER THAT PRESERVES
Cover:
Book CoverBook Back CoverBook Spine
Notes and Comments:
First Ballantine Books Edition: August 1978
Fourteenth Printing: March 1982

I first read this book in 10th grade and thought it was great.  My grandmother bought this for me along with Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  I had finished the Lord of the Rings for the second time and wanted to get a couple of new series going.  Both of these where book one of a trilogy (at the time at least).
 18-Feb-1987
Voyager
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
18-Feb-1987
Pages*:
544
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
120
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-007-12438-4
ISBN-13:
978-0-007-12438-1
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:
 01-Jun-1987
Del Rey
Mass Market Paperback
In my libraryI read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Jun-1987
Format:
Mass Market Paperback
Cover Price:
$7.50
Pages*:
480
Read:
Once
Reading(s):
1)   1 Jan 2003 - 1 Jan 2003
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
121
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-34865-6
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-34865-4
Printing:
48
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Credits:
Michael Herring  - Cover Artist
Lynn K Plagge - Map
"Covenant is Donaldson's genius!"
THE VILLAGE VOICE

He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in this strange alternate world on which he suddenly found himself.

Yet the Land tempted him.  He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before.  Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah.  Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero - Berek Halfhand - armed with the mystic power of White Gold.  That power alone could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despiser, Lord Foul.  Only... Covenant had no idea of how the power could be used!

Thus begins one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written...

THE CHRONICLES OF
THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELIEVER


Book One
LORD FOUL'S BANE

Book Two
THE ILLEARTH WAR

Book Three
THE POWER THAT PRESERVES
Cover:
Book CoverBook Back CoverBook Spine
Notes and Comments:
First Ballantine Books Edition: August 1978
Forty-eighth printing based on the number line
Canada: $10.99
 01-Dec-2001
Ballantine Books
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Dec-2001
Pages*:
496
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
128
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-41843-3
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-41843-2
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:

All Covers for this edition of the series

Related

Author(s)

 Stephen R Donaldson
Birth: 13 May 1947 Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Notes:
Stephen Reeder Donaldson (May 13, 1947 - ) was born on May 13, 1947  in Cleveland to his parents James R Donaldson and Mary Ruth Reeder.  James  Donaldson was a medical missionary and his family lived in India while  Stephen R Donaldson was between four to sixteen years of age.  His father  was a medical missionary and worked with lepers.  Stephen R. Donaldson  earned his BA degree in 1968 from the College of Wooster (Ohio) and his MA  in English in 1971 from Kent State University.

The first series Stephen R Donaldson wrote, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeleiver, was awarded first prize by the British Science Fiction Society in 1977 and 1978.  He also received the John W Campbell Award as the best new science fiction writer of 1978.

AI:
Stephen Donaldson is an American fantasy author known for his highly stylized, complex novels that blend elements of epic fantasy, science fiction, psychological drama, and political intrigue. Born on May 13, 1947, in Cleveland, Ohio, Donaldson grew up in a working-class family and struggled with dyslexia throughout his childhood. Despite these challenges, he developed a deep love of reading and storytelling, which would eventually lead him to become one of the most imaginative and acclaimed authors of his generation.

Donaldson attended The College of Wooster in Ohio, where he studied English and graduated in 1968. He then went on to earn a Master's degree in English from Kent State University in 1971. After completing his studies, Donaldson worked for several years as a medical copyeditor, but he always felt drawn to the world of writing and fiction. In 1977, he published his first novel, Lord Foul's Bane, which would become the first book in his landmark trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever tells the story of a cynical and embittered bestselling author who finds himself mysteriously transported to a magical realm known as The Land. There, he discovers that he has been chosen to be the savior of this world and is given the power to heal and destroy with a single touch. However, Covenant has trouble accepting his destiny and struggles with both his faith and his own personal demons. The trilogy was a groundbreaking work in the fantasy genre, and it cemented Donaldson's reputation as a master storyteller.

Over the next several decades, Donaldson would go on to write several other critically acclaimed series, including The Gap Cycle, the Mordant's Need duology, and The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. His stories often explore themes of guilt, redemption, morality, and the nature of reality itself. Donaldson's writing is known for its intricate plotting, vivid imagery, and complex characters. He has been praised for his ability to create fully realized fictional worlds and for his unique blend of mythic and futuristic elements.

Despite his success as a writer, Donaldson has faced his share of challenges over the years. In addition to his struggles with dyslexia, he has also battled with depression and health issues. However, he has remained committed to his craft, and his work has inspired generations of readers and writers. Today, he is considered one of the greatest living fantasy authors, and his influence can be seen in many contemporary works in the genre.

In addition to his writing, Donaldson has also been an activist and advocate for environmental causes. He is an outspoken critic of industrialization, urbanization, and the destruction of natural habitats. He has written extensively on these topics and has lent his support to various organizations and initiatives aimed at preserving the environment.

Overall, Stephen Donaldson is a prolific and visionary author who has left an indelible mark on the world of fantasy fiction. His complex, thought-provoking stories have captivated readers for decades, and his legacy as a master storyteller is sure to endure for generations to come.

Awards

1978Locus MagazineBest Fantasy Novel Nominee
1978World Fantasy ConventionWorld Fantasy Award - Novel Nominee
1979Britsh Fantasy SocietyAugust Derleth Award Winner
*
  • I try to maintain page numbers for audiobooks even though obviously there aren't any. I do this to keep track of pages read and I try to use the Kindle version page numbers for this.
  • Synopses marked with an asterisk (*) were generated by an AI. There aren't a lot since this is an iffy way to do it - AI seems to make stuff up.
  • When specific publication dates are unknown (ie prefixed with a "Cir"), I try to get the publication date that is closest to the specific printing that I can.
  • When listing chapters, I only list chapters relevant to the story. I will usually leave off Author Notes, Indices, Acknowledgements, etc unless they are relevant to the story or the book is non-fiction.
  • Page numbers on this site are for the end of the main story. I normally do not include appendices, extra material, and other miscellaneous stuff at the end of the book in the page count.






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