After thousands of years, as far as The Land is concerned, but a short time, as far as Thomas Covenant is concerned, our hero has found again thrown back into The Land. However, it's almost unrecognizable, as everything is weirdly corrupted. Again, without fully accepting its reality, Covenant does what he can to battle evil and restore The Land to its past beauty and magic. He still does not have fill control of the white gold magic, but he now must be the driving force to save The Land, instead of a tool, as the people of The Land are either locked into a mode of surviving one day at a time, or they have given up. He and his physician/friend, Linden Avery from the "real world" go on a quest for the One Tree, from which a new Staff of Law can be forged. The Staff of Law will restore health and order to The Land. Covenant and Avery have a love/hate relationship and, at times, Covenant has a hard time accepting that Avery might be a key factor in saving The Land (Covenant has always been the savior/hero, whether he wanted to be or not).
This is the second book of the new trilogy and the fifth book in the series. The first three can stand alone, and the second trilogy probably could, as well, but it is best to think of this series as a sextet. While this is the slowest book of the six, Donaldson continues to have characters that are deep and well-developed; complicated, intelligent, and extremely sophisticated writing (the exact opposite of Hemingway's stunning simplicity and not far off from Faulkner's esoteric and obtuse complexity); and a riveting story. What gets introduced is the dawning realization by Covenant that, whether the Land and its people are real or not, he is beginning to care about them. This is NOT a quick, easy read. This IS deep, major fantasy on an epic scale.
The author is really good at sucking you in, but I totally hated the main charater. It's one of those books that's really good but you either hate it or totally love it. I really hated this series.
...I'm going to leave the land--try to find the one tree. So I can replace the staff of law. I don't know what else to do, Covenant said.
I don't know how long I'm going to be gone, and every day they kill more poeple, somebody has to stop them.
Thus Thomas Covenant, accompanied by Linden Avery, begins his search for the One Tree aboard the giantship Starfare's Gem. Armed with the knowledge given to him in Andelain by his trusted friend, the Forestal Hile Troy, Covenant was determined to succeed. He was the last hope for the salvation of the Land. Only he had the power to forge a new Staff of Law and return to the Land to stop the encroaching desecration of the Sunbane and the bloody sacraficial rites of the Clave.
But fate decreed that the journey was to be long, arduous, and fraught with danger as Covenant and his companions are assailed by powerful forces whose sole purpose is to ensure the failure of their quest.
Book 2 of the 2nd trilogy about a man magically summoned to an alternate world to help them fight their most ancient evil foe because he is thought to be the reincarnation of it's greatest hero. A thoroughly adult fantasy tale full of sorcery, peril & heroism.
Classic Donaldson .. classic book
This was a poor book in my opinion. I found myself finishing a chapter and unable to remember anything that went on during that chapter. The "action" scenes seemed to be the same thing over and over and added just as an after thought. I would not recomend this series to anyone.