Book Review: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – Lord Foul’s Bane

This is by far the worst book I have ever read. Period. The plot is a knock off from the Lord of the Rings complete with a magical all powerful ring, a “quest” that is so foolish the villain would be least expecting it, and “horse people”. Except that this is worse because it’s no Frodo who bears the ring. No – the person on whose future the land depends is a rapist.

Book Review: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Book Review: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

Yeah, you read that right! There’s this leper fellow and he’s having a tough time of it. You kind of sympathize with him at first, though he’s obviously not hero material, but what the hell. He has a nasty condition that screws his life. Then one day he magically gets teleported to a beautiful world that cures his leprosy. A sweet girl comes to help him out, shows sympathy, puts up with his shit and obviously has a bad attack of hero worship. And how does he respond to her kindness? He rapes her, drives her insane, and gets her pregnant that’s how!

I mean that one fact pushes the entire book into “crap” territory. You may say “It was just one incident” or “You can’t judge an entire series by that one act. Read the rest”. Thanks, but no thanks. See, I’ve read plenty of novels where the hero isn’t a “typical” hero. Anyone who’s read The Acts of Caine knows what I’m talking about. But anti-heroes always have some kind of redeeming feature. Thomas Covenant (that’s the name of the protagonist), is plain scum. I mean who wants to follow the adventures of vermin?

Dealing with the Rape Scene

Supposedly the moral dilemma is set up by asking the question “If you rape someone in a dream, does it matter?” The answer is that if you truly think it’s a dream, then the answer is “No”. But if you truly thought something was a dream, you wouldn’t give a damn what happens. You’d take off your clothes, crap in the open, or basically just do whatever the hell you want. No shame, no fear. All the while you’re thinking “Hurr hurrr…this is awesome“. Covenant on the other hand has no such reaction. He’s terrified the girl’s parents will find out, feels guilt and so on and so forth. Not the response of someone who knows they’re dreaming.

So yeah, our protagonist is an unmitigated asshole. Sure his life sucks, but he responds by being a prick to everyone else around him – even those who show him kindness and want to help him. Such morbid self pity I’ve never imagined. He wants everyone to excuse him for all his nonsense merely by saying “I’m a leper!”. No shit.

Honestly I wanted to put the damn book down after the rape scene. I just didn’t want to learn more about the story. I stopped giving a shit. But everyone says “Read on. It gets better”. Or “Things get put into focus”. It’s true – you get an even more detailed insight into Covenant’s assholery.

And the plot couldn’t get more childish. The archvillain is a dude called “Lord Foul” and the semi-villain is called “Drool”. Original stuff! This was one book that took me so long to finish because I couldn’t bring myself to be interested. The plot moves along at a crawl as Stephen Donaldson sees it fit to treat us to detailed descriptions of every step of the journey. Boring. The actual story bits themselves take up around 50% of the book. The rest is all imagery. But then the plot is so thin, I guess the author had no choice.

There are six books in the series and this is the first time I’m not going to complete one. Sorry, but I don’t take an interest in dirtbags.

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