The Illearth War by Stephen Donaldson
Thomas Covenant finds himself once again summoned to the Land. The Council of Lords needed him to move against Foul the Despiser who holds the Illearth Stone, ancient source of evil power. But although Thomas Covenant has the legendary ring, he doesn't know how to use its strength, and risks losing everything...
Let me begin this review by making something clear. If you didn't like the first book, Lord Foul's Bane, then it is very, very unlikely that this second instalment will change how you feel about the series. I think that the main issue many readers' have is with Thomas Covenant himself, as he is a very difficult lead character to support on his quest. But this was done purposefully - Donaldson was challenging the tired and formulaic genre that fantasy had become. And so Covenant, whose happy existence has been torn apart, and whose actions upon entering the Land will forever be difficult for both he and the reader to come to terms with, is very difficult to like, even if the reader is able to either sympathise or understand to any extent. None, certainly not Covenant himself, will ever forgive him for some of the tings he has done but as Donaldson continues his narrative the author begins to show us his humane side, so that we are at least able to understand - if not like - his behaviour and his actions. And this is what sets these books apart from others of their generation - it was published at a time when it was the knight in shining armour that rode to the rescue, not a diseased rapist.
The Illearth War is an excellent continuation of the Thomas Covenant series, consistently compelling and full of great battle scenes. Those who enjoyed Tolkien's The Two Towers will be in their element here as similarities can be found with the epic defence of Helm’s Deep as the Land’s forces face almost insurmountable odds in the form of an army fuelled by hate, and changed by the dread powers of the titular illearth stones. To reiterate something I said above: If you loved, or at least liked Lord Foul's Bane then you will almost certainly feel the same about The Illearth War. However, if you hated, or thought little of the first book then this book is not going to be changing your views. After all, how much can the style of a trilogy change book by book? I, for one, loved the first book more on re-read and so found book two even better second time around too. Recommended, this series is deserving of its fantasy classic tag.
This The Illearth War book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
Lord Foul's Bane
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 1
He called himself Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in the strange alternative world on which he suddenly found himself - the Land. But the Land...
The Illearth War
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 2
Thomas Covenant finds himself once again summoned to the Land. The Council of Lords needed him to move against Foul the Despiser who holds the Illearth Stone, ancient sourc...
The Power That Preserves
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 3
Twice before Thomas Covenant had been summoned to the strange other-world where magic worked. Twice before he had been forced to join with the Lords of Revelstone in their ...
The Wounded Land
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 4
Four thousand years have passed since Covenant first freed the Land from the devastating grip of Lord Foul and his minions. But he is back, and Covenant, armed with his stu...
The One Tree
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 5
Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery begin their search for the One Tree that is to be the salvation of the Land. Only he could find the answer and forge a new Staff of Law - b...
White Gold Wielder
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 6
Thomas Covenant knew that despite his failure on the Isle of The One Tree, he had to return to the Land and fight. After a long and arduous journey, fighting all the way, h...
Have you read The Illearth War?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Illearth War reader reviews
Anthony from Norwich
The ultimate anti-hero is back and as grumpy as ever! Not an easy central character to get behind but Donaldson makes him sympathetic enough so that you care about what happens to him. Over-lapping stotylines converge into a gripping finale that leaves you eagerly reaching for The Power That Preserves.
9/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Dark Tower series
Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our ow...
Aden awakens naked in a bath tub, knowing only that he is dead. His new world is Nightfall, a place filled with characters bizarre, grotesque and magical: Julius the duke, ...
City of Stairs
Robert Jackson Bennett
You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all wor...
WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy...
Take a trip in a stranger's head. Travel rain-shot streets with a gang of hip malcontents, hooked on the most powerful drug you can imagine. Yet Vurt feathers are not f...
Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex-other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and re...
The Four Realms
Half-vampire Darwin stumbles across a corpse on the streets of London, and in a pocket discovers a notebook in a mysterious language. Divided between human ethics and vampi...
Weaveworld is an epic adventure of the imagination. It begins with a carpet in which a world of rapture and enchantment is hiding; a world which comes to life, alerting the...
The Portable Door
Starting a new job is always stressful, but when Paul Carpenter arrives at the office of J.W. Wells he has no idea what trouble lies in store. Because he is about to discov...
The Silent Land
A young couple are caught in an avalanche during a ski-ing holiday in the French Alps. They struggle back to the village and find it deserted. As the days go by they wait f...
The Lazarus Gate
Mark A Latham
London, 1890. Captain John Hardwick, an embittered army veteran and opium addict, is released from captivity in Burma and returns home, only to be recruited by a mysterious...
Between Two Thorns
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath's secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, i...
A serial killer is on the loose in Ostend, Belgium. Nicknamed The Stuffer, the mysterious killer fills his victims full of sand and poses them as public art installations -...
The Chronicles of Amber
Amber is one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself - shadow worlds, which can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. But the royal family is torn apa...
The Man Who Crossed Worlds
All freelance Tunneler Miles Franco wants is a bit of freedom and a couple of bucks to rub together. So when the cops haul him downtown for illegally smuggling the natives ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended parallel universe / Alternate reality books
- Recommended epic fantasy books/series
Best of 2016
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through......
Paternus: Rise of Gods
Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth. When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old m...
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, wher...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...