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The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #2)
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The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever #2)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  21,782 Ratings  ·  294 Reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for ISBN 0006152465/9780006152460.

Returning to the Land, after forty years of its time, Thomas Convenant finds the powers of evil, under Lord Foul the Despiser, fully unleashed and assumes the responsibility of finding a way to defeat Lord Foul.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published 1978 by Fontana/Collins (first published 1977)
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Jan 22, 2016 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016-shelf
I find myself in the unenviable position of rooting for Lord Foul Bane and his many loathsome minions. Maybe it's just the intentional feature of making all the good guys so perfectly good and forgiving and nonviolent and understanding, but Thomas Covenant DOES NOT DESERVE IT.

Therefore, I really want to see Lord Foul Bane corrupt every single one of those bastards solely for the purpose of rising up and smiting that worthless son of a bitch, the Ur-Lord Thomas Covenant.

If it wasn't crazy enough
"Thomas Covenant found himself once again summoned to the Land. The Council of Lords needed him to move against Foul the Despiser who held the Illearth Stone, ancient source of evil power. But although Thomas Covenant held the legendary ring, he didn't know how to use its strength, and risked losing everything...."

I’ll admit that book 2 is an improvement over book 1, but it’s a grudging admission. Having said that, Thomas Covenant is STILL an ass, but the improvement is that this installment isn
May 25, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To all those who hated Lord Foul's Bane -- hark! and be redeemed. Thomas Covenant gets yanked back into the Land, where 40 years have passed for its people, but only days for him. In his absence, Foul has amassed an immense army and is preparing to march. The Lords have learned virtually nothing new to aid them in their own defense. And Covenant, who still believes he's dreaming, finds himself lusted after by the daughter of the woman he previously raped. That is, by his own daughter. Salvation ...more
Aug 12, 2013 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Thomas Covenant is summoned to the Land once again. The said Land is in great peril - once again, and everybody's favorite leper is the only hope the people have - once again. Everybody is bending backwards in attempts to please Thomas Covenant and he does his best to appear a complete jackass to everybody. This is being done before, nothing new here, move along.

The good news is that around half of the book it is told from another person's POV which means we do not read about Thomas Covenant bei
Roy Helge
I really had to force myself to read this book. And it is as bad as the first one. But to be fair I plugged on so that at least I can have a solid base for saying what needs to be said.

Not that I object to the three basic premises of the whole series:
1)the true anti-hero, the utterly unvilling and despicable character being the focal point of the story. Pretty good idead that.
2) The inanely stereotypical names (Lord Foul, T. Covenant, Rockbrother, Seareach) and plot devices (the quest) - That c
Dan Young
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 08, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Thomas is back in THE LAND, though he continues to refuse to believe it's real and continues to cry (or even wail) woe is me, life is awful. In so doing he drags his feet and causes consternation, confusion, and frustration all around.

You know if I'm in a dream, even if I'm sure I'm in a dream I usually participate and don't run around in the dream refusing to participate...oh well. Enjoy, if you can. Not horribly written, but not (in my opinion) great either, certainly not worth the cost of adm
Feb 19, 2015 blakeR rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Wow, I think this is the first novel ever that I decided to leave unfinished. I had to create a new GR shelf for it anyway. Here's the (annotated) passage that broke the camel's back, on page 105. As you might have guessed, it's more whiny dithering over the "reality" of the Land:
He could not go on in this fashion. If he did, he would soon come to resemble Hile Troy -- a man so overwhelmed by the power of sight that he could not perceive the blindness of his desire to assume responsibility for t
Dec 04, 2012 Lucinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another treasured edition to add to the extensive Thomas Covenant trilogy, that is an indisputable classic within the fantasy genre.

As a fan of Stephen Donaldson’s trilogy ‘the second chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ I was naturally keen to also read the first trilogy that started it all, being ‘the chronicles of Thomas Covenant: the unbeliever’ with this book (the illearth war) being the second volume following on from Lord Foul’s bane. I am constantly overwhelmed by how similarly to renowned au
Brian Schwartz
Usually, the second installment of a trilogy – be it books or movies – is the strongest. When one arrives at the second installment, the characters are established, so there is room for a great deal of plot advancement, new character introductions, and a cliffhanger to lead you into the third installment.

In my reading of Donaldson’s works, I’ve found that his second installments are usually the weakest. There are several shortcomings in THE ILLEARTH WAR of three books.

First is the introduction o
May 18, 2013 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*For anyone reading my reviews, this is a cut-paste of my review of Lord Foul's Bane. I will write a separate review for the Second Chronicles, but for each of the first series, I will use the same review. Thanks*

Tolkien was not my introduction to fantasy fiction (neither was Donaldson); my first experience with SFF was RA Salvatore's The Crystal Shard. However, I immediately jumped into Tolkien, and afterward, Donaldson.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are as different from Tolkien's world as
Apr 11, 2013 Melanie rated it liked it
More like 3.5*s, but I didn't like it enough to round up.

This book is a lot easier to read than Lord Foul's Bane, and there's a lot more going on. Without all the introductory stuff you're more straight into the story. And in terms of the former, there wasn't quite as much spent in the head of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever/Idiot with some changes of POV in there too.

Though, to be fair to T.C., he didn't come across as as quite as much of an idiot in this book. Maybe also because we're not in hi
Joel Julian
Jun 04, 2013 Joel Julian rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I found Lord Foul's Bane to be a decent start to a potentially great and refreshingly original fantasy series. Unfortunately, the second book fails to deliver and has put me off reading book 3.
It's off to a good start and the build up to Covenants summoning and the transition from his world to the next sets a good foundation for the rest of the story.
It is a shame that the next 150 pages consists almost entirely of war council meetings, almost as if the writer was stalling to actually move the p
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"Not all crimes are committed by evil people. Sometimes a good man does ill because of the pain in his soul."

This is the second book in the Thomas Covenant series and takes place when Thomas is summoned once more to the Land. Even though it has only been a few months since he was last there, forty years have passed there. New Lords are in place yet the battle against the Despiser rages on. To aid them, Thomas must put aside his unbelieving nature and assist the High Lord Elena on a quest to find
Michael Kelly
Apr 16, 2014 Michael Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first read this series many, many years ago, I recall that 'The Illearth War' was my favourite instalment. I had forgotten much of the detail, but rereading it has been a joy.

The story itself focuses upon the Lords' response to Lord Foul's great assault upon the Land, as his gigantic army, twisted and empowered by the Illearth Stone, marches to destroy them. The unfolding strategies and twists and turns of the conflict are fascinating to read. There are several side quests too, which enri
Sep 16, 2010 D-day rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Illearth War' is the second part of the 'Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'. In this installment Covenant returns just a week later in real time, to find that 40 years has passed in the Land. Lord Foul is on the move and High Lord Elena has summoned him in the Land's time of need.
Part of the problem with the first installment, 'Lord Foul's Bane', was that Covenant was so bitter and unsympathetic. This time Covenant is basically absent for the middle section of the book, giving th
Lorien Conti
I found this book really frustrating. Covenant is really making it hard for me to care about him and in turn for me to care about the book as a whole. At the end of the last book I got the impression that he some what believed and cared about the land, so, when he went back I though he would be more pleased and amenable to the idea. Instead he spends his whole time whining and moaning, just get on with it!

There was a large section in the middle of the book which he wasn't in and I thought "grea
Jun 30, 2015 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is book two in in Donaldson's original 1977 Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever trilogy. What drew me to the series is that Covenant is somewhat of an anti-hero with real-world flaws. The Illearth War, like it's predecessor, featured excellent writing but the plot was a bit slow-going and too often delved into Tolkien-esque world building for my tastes. Definitely will read the third book as I'm invested.
Mar 12, 2009 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up a year or two after the first novel. I had been sufficiently perplexed to ask my friend the conditions under which Covenant's magic activated, and he spelt it out factually.

It was all very clear, yet unsatisfying. I read the book, and this time I fell into it. It was a different kind of fantasy, with allegoric hints that I still couldn't comprehend.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 24, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While sometimes slow reading and you get bogged down in the ramblings of the main character these are very good books. The fantasy world Donaldson created is unique and rich in characters. Very recommended
Mark Speed
Nov 25, 2014 Mark Speed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Noooo! Lord Foul is back because the idiot didn't kill him in the first novel. Who didn't see that happening?!
Jeffrey Greek
It says a lot about this series that the best thing you can say about the main character is "Well, at least he didn't bang his own daughter."
Long... There was more talking and debating rather than actual action or happenings. The ending was the most exciting, but geez... Thomas is an expert at making enemies and being disliked by people. x'D

I found it interesting that Thomas (view spoiler)
Jason Olson
May 11, 2013 Jason Olson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 2 of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I read these when I pretty young, 5th grade I think. Alot of the big words probably went right over my head. I think the important thing is that I felt like I knew what the author meant. "Roynish" for example, always made me think "thick and syrup and regal". So when it was used to describe Ur-Viles barking, I always thought of them as having menacing growls that were thick but somehow more dignified or intelligent than a dog barking. The word actuall ...more
May 22, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Yeah, I really didn't like the first book. But this, surprisingly, really grew on me. I even found myself craving this book at the times where I couldn't afford to spend time reading. I was literally in love with this book. LOVE. As in, one of my favourites. Seriously.

Firstly, I'd like to comment on the writing. The prose was clear and yet deliciously descriptive. I could visualise everything perfectly, and then some. I felt myself drawn to every moment. It had the same complex qualities as in t
The second book in Thomas covenant series although starts strongly, but once Covenant gets summoned to the land it just drags too much, the last part of the book I just skipped through the audio listening to important parts only. The first book at least had some good descriptions of Land but this book is filled with cardboard characters and they just keep on giving the same reaction for every event, it just starts to get on your nerves after a time.

Some of the strong points of the book are

M. J.
Aug 10, 2012 M. J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Douglas Milewski
The Illearth War (1977) continues Stephen R. Donaldon's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. If you liked the first book, you'll like this one, and if you didn't like the first book, then you won't like this one either.

In this tale, the unlikable leper, Thomas Covenant, is pulled back to the Land by the summons of Elena, high lord of Revelstone. But a few weeks have passed for Covenant since his first adventure, but a full forty years have passed in the Land. The time of Lord Foul's victory draws near
Nov 15, 2016 Dietrich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Illearth War is a worthy second installment in the excellent first Thomas Covenant trilogy.

As befitting a middle volume, TIW is a “transition” book. Summoned back to The Land from the real world, Covenant is asked to help combat Lord Foul, who has grown in power since obtaining the Illearth Stone as a result of book one’s Quest for the Staff of Law. Covenant’s summoner, the new High Lord Elena (who now controls the Staff), is difficult to resist. She has a special persuasiveness, in part bec
Amber Calkins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novelist; in the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R"). He has also written non-fiction under the pen name Reed Stephens.


Stephen R. Donaldson was born May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prostheti
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (3 books)
  • Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #1)
  • The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #3)

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“Do not hurt where holding is enough; do not wound where hurting is enough; do not maim where wounding is enough; and kill not where maiming is enough; the greatest warrior is he who does not need to kill.” 4 likes
“Another blast from Rivenrock shivered the air. It snatched Mhoram's head up, and he faced Covenant with tears streaming down his cheeks. "It is as I have said," he breathed achingly. "Madness is not the only danger in dreams." 3 likes
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