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The Last Dark (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant #4)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  2,334 Ratings  ·  272 Reviews
Compelled step by step to actions whose consequences they could neither see nor prevent, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery have fought for what they love in the magical reality known only as "the Land." Now they face their final crisis.  Reunited after their separate struggles, they discover in each other their true power--and yet they cannot imagine how to stop the Worm of ...more
Hardcover, 557 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Putnam (first published January 1st 2013)
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Mar 19, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing
I have an ARC. Reading it now, about 1/4 of the way in, excellent so far. Will report in full when I'm finished. :) ...

... And now I'm done. :) And I'm going to be super vague below details-wise so I don't ruin it for anyone: no spoilers herein.

First off: SRD is one of my favorite two writers in the universe (the other is Anne Rice). The Second Chronicles are, word for word, pound for pound, my absolute favorite books bar none. *Nothing* will surpass the buzz of reading those for the first time
Mar 14, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I remember clearly the spring of 1988. It was the end of my first school year in Alabama. We were taking some sort of standarized bubble-filler test that I'd completed very early, leaving me with Lord Foul's Bane and a lot of time to kill. That was the first time I recall burning through a book, being completely caught up in the vision of it. I plowed right through the first and second Covenant trilogies shortly after. Now I find myself in 2013, and the final page of Covenant's story has been re ...more
Thomas Cardin
Sep 13, 2012 Thomas Cardin rated it it was amazing
I read the negative reviews and I agree with them completely. They were expecting and hoping for something else, and for them, The Last Dark did not deliver. Scenes and characters were found to be contrite, lacking, or at best merely 'decent'... for them.

The problem here (for them) is that Stephen R. Donaldson clearly wrote this book for ME, not for them. He tapped right in and analyzed my needs and wants, my expectations and my emotional state. Boy did he ever deliver!

I cannot imagine a finer c
Sep 06, 2013 Terence rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Donaldson fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
“You will not fail, however he may assail you. There is also love in the world.”

In hindsight one can see the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant building up to the Götterdämmerung that is The Last Dark.† In the first Chronicle, Thomas Covenant, an outcast leper in our world, is translated to the Land. There one’s physical and mental health are tangible, and all is threatened by Lord Foul the Despiser, who desires to destroy the Arch of Time (and, thus, the Earth) and escape his prison. Covenant learns
Denise Eggleston
Sep 12, 2013 Denise Eggleston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I admit it. I’m in a long relationship with Thomas Covenant. It has, at times, been illicit. I remember sitting in my workplace restroom reading Covenant’s adventures when I should have been working.

I introduced myself to Covenant when I was in graduate school in 1978. I was only a year behind Stephen R. Donaldson who published the first volume of the "First Chronicle of Thomas Covenant" in 1977. The three-volume work started with Lord Foul’s Bane. I devoured each new adventure as they came out
Rob Hermanowski
Dec 16, 2011 Rob Hermanowski rated it it was amazing
Simply magnificent! What else can I say about this series that I haven't already said in my reviews of the previous nine volumes? Stephen R. Donaldson has finally completed a high fantasy decalogue that ranks with the very best of the genre, and has now become my favorite book series of any type.

I began reading the Thomas Covenant books in high school, just a few years after the first three books were published in 1977. Even then, I was struck by Donaldson's beautiful writing and his complex cha
David Cornelson
Oct 25, 2013 David Cornelson rated it it was ok
So this was thoroughly disappointing.

I am a very big fan of Mr. Donaldson. The first two Thomas Covenant trilogies were some of the best books you can read. "It boots nothing to avoid his snares..."

The tales of Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery are tales about morality and choices. They are less about action and more about inaction and self-doubt. They are almost never about knowing exactly what to do. They are only about choosing a path that mirrors their own morality in a given moment.

The first
Lynne Cantwell
Jul 18, 2013 Lynne Cantwell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I believe this is the first time since A Man Rides Through that the ending of a Donaldson novel has left me grinning from ear to ear.

First, a little background geekery: I am a huge, unabashed fan of Stephen R. Donaldson, and have been since 1980 or so -- ever since I discovered Lord Foul's Bane in my local library and remembered that a college friend had said it was a terrific book. (Thank you, Elizabeth, wherever you are.) I've read all of his published work, I think, and have met him in person
Nov 11, 2011 Saga rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Bloody hell what a romp. SRD did it again; what an astonishing ability to always render the last volume of a series the most satisfying. Laughed, cried--including a couple of messed pages--, surprised myself actually gnawing at my fingernails at one point, felt the struggles of the characters almost on an intimate level.... Despite the somewhat slow beginning and a couple of problems, one perkeleenmoinen novel.
Oct 10, 2013 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, first-reads
So I was lucky enough to obtain an ARC of this concluding novel to the entire Thomas Covenant series. I just completed reading the entire Thomas Covenant series to refresh my memory prior to reading this novel.

Before I begin, I should give one caveat: even prior to this novel I haven't been a huge fan of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. While SRD does an excellent job portraying Linden Avery the Chosen, I've never been a fan of her character or her internal dialogue. As such, my favorite
Persephone Singh
Nov 01, 2013 Persephone Singh rated it it was ok
Well, it wasn't as bad as the Donkey Kong finale of the Dark Tower series, but was definitely up there with Lost, and Battlestar Galactica.
In fact, it reminds me very much of Lost (the plot), where you think such intricacies, clues, and complexity abound, until the finale, where you realise this shit was being made up as things went on, and the only way to end it would require more than one betraying cheat:
God in the machine, glossoverphillia, pseudo-meta-abstract explanations, and a quazi-poeti
Oct 27, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Well, I guess this kind of makes up for the frustration of the past several books. Still plenty of doubt to go round but with some character and plot progression. That being said, there was a lot of travelling around and several battles, numerous deaths and quite a few pages. Admittedly, I did not re-read any of the prior books due to frustration as described in earlier reviews.

Having reached the end and the final resolution, I think back to the previous books and wonder if this journey could ha
Andrew Ackerman
Feb 26, 2013 Andrew Ackerman rated it it was amazing
Hurry up!!!!!!_
Please....I am waiting
Dan Ryder
Feb 03, 2014 Dan Ryder rated it did not like it
This negative review mainly concerns The Last Dark, but also applies more generally to the entire series of four books that it concludes. In a nutshell: the plot is OK, the characters are OK, but the writing is definitely not to my taste. In fact, I found it excruciating.

I read these because I enjoyed the first two Covenant series as a teenager, and I was sufficiently curious that I wanted to know what happened next. And what happens is generally interesting, although the ins and outs of who can

Oct 16, 2013 AJW rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I'm not going to review the actual book as I don't want to risk spoilers. Instead, I'm saying as a massive fan of the Thomas Covenant books - they would be my desert island books - I found this tenth & final book to be a fitting capstone completing the "story arch" built upon the 9 previous brick-like books.

If you have enjoyed the earlier books, then 'The Last Dark' will not disappoint. All the ingredients that make me love the Thomas Covenant books are in this final instalment (including ha
Brian Matthews
Apr 29, 2012 Brian Matthews rated it it was amazing
The Last Dark this the final book in the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and it completes an epic fantasy series that has spanned three decades.

Readers of the series have either loved it or hated it: it is either a brilliant foray into epic fantasy or a clunky, chunky story filled with strange words and even stranger characters. I am firmly in the former.

Reading The Last Dark was a joy and a tragedy; to visit one final time the Land and the many peoples and creatures that make it a wonder, y
Fantasy Literature
Oct 18, 2013 Fantasy Literature rated it liked it
3.5 stars
With The Last Dark, Stephen R. Donaldson draws to a close not only his most recent tetralogy, but his entire ten-book epic centered on the travails of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, certainly one of the longest-lasting and most significant and influential characters in modern fantasy. No matter one’s feelings on the book itself (and mine were definitely mixed), the series as a whole stands as a towering achievement, one of those classic/canonical works of fantasy that any student of th
Johan Haneveld
Oct 28, 2013 Johan Haneveld rated it really liked it
I read in interviews that Stephen Donaldson had the idea for this third series of Thomas Covenant Stories already when he wrote the second chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but that he waited before writing the final chronicles because he felt he hadn’t reached the level of artistry he needed in order to be able to write them. I’ve never fully understood that, not while reading the first three books in this series at any rate. His writing style is not very different compared to the first two series ...more
Josh Pattison
Oct 26, 2013 Josh Pattison rated it it was amazing
I have been a very great fan of Thomas Covenant for a very long time. I first read 'Lord Foul's Bane' when I was about ten years old (too young, I think, for some of the themes), and was instantly captivated. I remember writing long praise-poems (a kind of early fan-fiction?) in grade six, in the hallway where I had been sent on account of the fact that I was reading Donaldson's novels instead of paying attention in Geography class. 'The Power that Preserves' was the first novel that actually ma ...more
Jason Lewis
Apr 12, 2014 Jason Lewis rated it it was amazing
Right, so, what can I say about this book or about the whole ten book series? I think I should start by saying that the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are the literary equivalent of Marmite (for those of you who do not know what Marmite is, it's a spread made out of the waste from the brewing industry. You either love it or you hate it), when I started eating Marmite I didn't particularly like it—now, I love it. The last chronicles of Thomas Covenant had much the same effect on me.
I am not going
Clay Rylee
Oct 29, 2013 Clay Rylee rated it it was amazing
To get this out of the way... I received this book as an uncorrected advanced reader copy through a Goodreads giveaway. Now that that is done... What a way to end the Cronicles of Thomas Covenant! I loved every moment of not only this book but of the entire series, though I will say that this book was by far the best. The only downside to this novel is the fact that it finishes the entire series that started over 20 years ago and that makes me a little sad. But, all good things must come to an e ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: gone, borrowed
Plus another half star. Not a bad conclusion to such a mammoth undertaking, although I think the author tried to pack in far too much action. There were too many attacks from too many enemies so at times it read a bit like the kind of video game my children used to play where you have to find and kill all sorts of monsters before reaching and overcoming the top 'boss'. I think a lot of that could have been stripped out (did I really need to know in which order the stone monster eyes were put out ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Sharblynn rated it it was ok
First, let me say I loved the first two trilogies! The Land and its wonders/horrors seemed so new in every book. I even purchased the electronic copies to re-read. In this series, however, everything was just rehashed, and the characters were so flat I couldn't find anything about them to care about. Even so, I hung in for four more books because I wanted to see how Donaldson was finally going to end the story. After having done so, I truly hope this is the Last Chronicles of the Unbeliever. It ...more
Julie Bird
Jul 06, 2013 Julie Bird rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic! I laughed and wept and loved all the characters for this final end. My favorite series of all time and the best books I've ever read. Going to go back and read them all again soon to get the complete experience together.
Oct 28, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
4 to 4.5 stars.

Intense. Sad and exultant simultaneously. To save or damn the Earth in all sooth.
David Williams
Aug 24, 2014 David Williams rated it did not like it
As ashamed as I am to admit that I read the final series at all, I am even more ashamed to admit that I was dumb enough to finish it.
Nov 23, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
Thomas Covenant has finally committed to the Land and wild magic. There's no hesitation to use his powers that marked the earlier volumes and he's only limited when the environment he's in would cause the use of wild magic to destroy everyone he loves around him. And Thomas Covenant is in love.

Linden Avery has been reunited with her son, Jeremiah, and is in love with Covenant as well. In her journey she has embraced the terrible episodes that are the foundation of her life and used them to becom
Shari  Mulluane
Oct 02, 2013 Shari Mulluane rated it it was amazing
Finally the series has reached its conclusion and what an ending! Just like the series as a whole, this concluding book is a dark, tense, twisting, turning, page flipping adventure that keeps you guessing right up until the last pages. Just like its predecessors, this book has wisdom to impart, moral dilemmas to explore, plus tragedy and triumph in equal measures. Long after finishing the last page, you will find yourself pondering the choices made, the actions taken and the resulting consequenc ...more
Trina Talma
Apr 02, 2014 Trina Talma rated it liked it
I felt as if I HAD to read this book. I read the first Chronicles when I was in middle school, so I've been a fan for decades. But I was left somewhat unimpressed by the "last Chronicles" books. Oh, the story is good; all the familiar characters are there. But being a writer, I often tend to read from an editing point of view. Donaldson has a tendency to overuse obscure, ten-dollar words, as well as pack his work with stretched similes and metaphors, and this tendency was allowed to run wild in ...more
Arwen Bicknell
Sep 07, 2016 Arwen Bicknell rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I have now slogged through all ten of these books. They are long—a bit longer than they need to be, I think. And Donaldson must be very rich after cashing in (over and over and over) on all those 50-cent words (puissance? mansuetude?). I found a lot to really, REALLY dislike about this series, starting with the fact that the writing comes across as if done by a person who has had human emotions explained to him but has never benefitted from actually experiencing any and thus writes about them wi ...more
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the last dark 10 48 Aug 07, 2014 08:13AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please Correct Page # for ISBN 9780399159206 2 167 Nov 07, 2013 09:47AM  
  • The Atlas of the Land: A Complete Guide to the Strange and Magical Land of Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
  • Esrever Doom (Xanth, #37)
  • Vampires Don't Sparkle!
  • Mastered 2: Ten Tales of Sensual Surrender
  • To Dance With the Devil (Blood Singer, #6)
  • Dezra's Quest (Dragonlance: Bridges of Time, #5)
  • The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction
  • Bloodfire Quest (The Dark Legacy of Shannara, #2)
  • Mastering the Mistress (Brides of the Kindred, #14.5)
  • Cugel's saga (The Dying Earth, #3)
  • The Many Coloured Land The Golden Torc
  • Darksong Rising (Spellsong Cycle #3)
  • The Zombie Whisperer (Living with the Dead, #4)
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 Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (4 books)
  • The Runes of the Earth (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #1)
  • Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #2)
  • Against All Things Ending (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #3)

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“The purpose of life—if it may be said to have purpose—is not ease. It is to choose, and to act upon the choice. In that task, we are not measured by outcomes. We are measured only by daring and effort and resolve.” 5 likes
“Mortal lives are not stones. They are not seas. For impermanence to judge itself by the standards of permanence is folly. Or it is arrogance. Life merely is what it is, neither more nor less. To deem it less because it is not more is to heed the counsels of the Despiser.” 1 likes
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