The Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Book 1)

It's ten years later and Linden Avery thought she would never see the Land, or Covenant, her beloved, again. But Lord Foul has stolen her adopted son, and is unmaking the very laws of nature. And though she believes Covenant dead, he keeps sending Linden messages: 'Find me', 'You're the only one who can do this' and 'Remember that I'm dead'. The Land is in turmoil, and Lord Foul has plans for them all...

My journey to the Land in the company of Thomas Covenant began over two decades ago. To be honest, at the time, I was a little too young to appreciate Lord Foul's Bane and its themes and intricate use of language. But even so, I had absorbed enough to ensure that the mental imagery born from the books never left me, from the homeliness of Mythil Stonedown to the grand majesty of Revelstone.

So over the past two years I have re-read the first six books in the series, to experience the Land once again as an adult and to also be in the position whereupon I can start the final four books in the ten book series.

The Runes of the Earth is 100 per cent a Donaldson novel, and whether you think this is a good or a bad thing, it means that those who love the series will not be disappointed as the author delivers and maintains the standards set.

I enjoyed the book. Yes, I always have a little difficulty with the series and both Covenant and Linden Avery can be lead characters that are hard to like and easy to become frustrated with, but I am a fan of Steven Erikson, who happily admits a gratitude to Donaldson, and reading the Malazan books taught me that it is always best to read a book that challenges and frustrates you than a book that simply delivers the easy cliches.

I'm now left with three books to read and I will find myself at an end of a series that has spanned most of my life. I'm looking forward to it, and while I know there will be a great deal of angst, inner turmoil and righteous anger, I'm kind of looking forward to it.

9/10 Many readers will welcome a return to the land.

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