Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #1)
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Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  22,858 ratings  ·  889 reviews
He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself.

Yet the Land tempted him. He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before. Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero--Berek Halfh...more
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 1989 by Del Rey / Ballantine (first published January 1st 1977)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Best Fantasy Books
48th out of 1,217 books — 870 voters
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. TolkienThe Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Sword of Shannara by Terry BrooksA Spell for Chameleon by Piers AnthonyLord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Best Fantasy of the 70s
5th out of 115 books — 90 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
*Soul-saddened SIGH*.....Damn, damn, DAMN...life can really be full of suck.
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This book really torched my hopes and dreams. NOT because it was nightmarishly horrible (which it wasn’t) but because I wanted it to be so brimming with steaming chunks of mouth-watering awesome that I could write a stinging, snark-filled “anti-anti-Thomas Covenant” review...my rant against the ranters.

I suspected I had a excellent chance of really liking this story because most of the criticism of the series revolves...more
Colin
Nov 18, 2008 Colin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one.
Recommended to Colin by: someone who later changed his mind.
I've often lamented that five-star rating systems, such as the one used by GoodReads, don't allow for ratings lower than one star. Were it possible, I'd give this book negative stars; I think it actually sucks the quality away from books shelved near it, and generally makes the world a less joyful, less intelligent place to be.

You might assume from the previous statements that I dislike this book. Given that "dislike" is a pretty mild, milquetoast term on the sliding scale of affection, you woul...more
notgettingenough
I am (albeit slowly) removing my reviews from goodreads since it has become Amazon. For more on why that bothers me and should bother you, please go to my profile and also here:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

What I learned from this book.

Don’t agree to read the book Robert tells you is the best book in the whole world ever just because he invited you over to watch the best film in the whole world ever (Close Encounters) and you slept through all but the first ten minutes.

You know you ar...more
Gertie
Wow. I really didn't like this book.

I think it was in large part due to the fact that I found the main character so utterly unlikable. Heck, he's even despicable.

Some people can read and enjoy a book despite not being able to empathize with the characters; I'm not one of those people. I actually like to care about my fictional characters.

It's pretty hard to give a flying fickle about some cranky jerk who rapes a woman in the first book. I didn't bother reading more to find out if things improve...more
Brad
Two years after my run in with the fallen nun and the c-word, I had a near run in with our new vice-principal (not the man, thankfully, who'd given me the strap), Mr. G---.

Our school was trying to teach us study skills before we reached high school, so we wouldn't waste our spare periods playing video games or flirting with girls or role playing or whatever else kids did to waste time in the eighties. They gave us a course called "Study Hall" and put our VP in charge.

It was a nightmare.

And I w...more
Greg
I live in a smallish room with roughly a couple of thousand books. They are everywhere. I love the books, but I also hate the books. I'd have space if it wasn't for them, when I moved it would be easy if it didn't involve carrying what feels like an endless amount of heavy boxes packed with them. They are everywhere. The bookshelves are all double stacked. There are books on top of the normally shelved books. There are piles of them everywhere. They fall over. They are in the way. Mooncheese lik...more
Brad
I read Lord Foul’s Bane once in grade seven (the same year I first read Macbeth and Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and The Lord of the Rings for a second time). It was a good year for me and reading. And an important year for who I would become. But I didn’t know until now how important Lord Foul’s Bane was to all of that.

This story has stuck with me in the most amazing ways. After nearly three decades, I recalled an amazing amount of detail in the pages I reread. I remembered minute details about Thom...more
Chazzbot
It's not so much the story--in itself, this is a well-crafted fantasy world, complete with noble horse-riding peoples, stern giants, and delicate elven-folk on a quest of profound importance against an enemy of world-shattering magnitude--as much as Donaldson's overwrought prose that makes this series something of a drag to read. Donaldson wants his tale to carry all the mythic import of Tolkien, but he doesn't quite have the poetic flair that makes Tolkien's characters live and breathe for us....more
Bob Aarhus
When you dream, are you responsible for your actions?

You might as well admit it: you'd probably do it, too. When Thomas Covenant -- a writer who contracts leprosy and is abandoned by his wife, his friends, and society -- falls into a comatose state, he arrives at a land where his nerves are regenerated, his impotency reversed, his status legendary as White Gold Wielder. He's the Unbeliever for a simple reason: he thinks this is all delusion, all a dream. So, yes, he rapes the young woman -- it's...more
Martin Adil-Smith
I came to this book with high expectations. A lot of people had recommended the series to me, and so I was looking forward to something special.

The good points:
Epic in scale, well written, an incredibly detailed back story, a really well designed ensemble of supporting characters. Tales of daring do, high adventure, might and magic... I can understand why some people think that Donaldson is better than Tolkein.

And I would agree with them except for...

The bad points;
In all honesty, there is only...more
Rob
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
The Thomas Covenant books have always held a special place in my heart. I freely admit that the series is not for everyone; the singular nature of the protagonist turns a lot of readers away before the first book (this one) is halfway finished.

Compared to other heroic fantasy, I find the Covenant books to be somehow more believable, and to have more emotional impact. The theme of redemption, present throughout the series, resonated with me when I first read the books twenty years ago, and contin...more
Holly
So many people love this series. Not sure why. The hero is a leperous (no, not lecherous) rapist and incredibly whiny. The bad guy is named Lord Foul, ferchissakes. I hated everything about the first few chapters of this book. Once the main character forced himself on a girl, and then the author tried to make it a sympathetic moment (for the perpetrator), I hurled it at the wall in disgust and never finished reading it.

Right around the same level of arrogant sexist manhood as Piers Anthony.
Evgeny
Thomas Covenant had it all: a good family, his first book was a New York Times bestseller, his second book was in the progress. Suddenly he developed leprosy, his wife left him taking his son with her, people avoid any kind of contact with him turning him into a self-loathing bitter whining person. He is a leper outcast unclean.

Some high powers brought him to magic land where he is destined to either help fight Great Evil, or destroy everything - the choice is his. The problem is: he does not re...more
Dan Martin
The first thing you have to know about this series, and this is the real pivotal point in whether you want to read them or not, is that Thomas Coveenant is NOT A HERO. Like, in any sense. There are a couple really fantastic heroes in this book, but all of the chapters in the 1st book, and the majority thereafter all center around covenant, the unbeliever.
The story of the book is honestly a little trite. An evil lord threatening a beautiful land. Covenenant has an important ring.
But! Thomas, oh...more
Michael
At first I wasn't sure that I liked this novel. I had a hard time with the idea that Thomas Covenant is the ultimate anti-hero, with none of the redeeming qualities of an average anti-hero. He is a sniveling, irritating, coward who has to be prodded every step of the way. The only thing that makes him likable is that he is acting in a very human way in a very inhuman circumstance. I had to let go of wanting Covenant to shape and act like a hero. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Manny
A Swedish friend told me I just had to read this series - it was like Tolkien but better. I borrowed the first three, and dutifully read them, waiting for the point to dawn. It never did. Tolkien, to me, is all about the language and the names, and Donaldson's names ranged between uninspired and downright moronic. ("Berek Halfhand". Bleah.) It just grated.

To add insult to injury, I managed to drop one volume into the bath while reading it, so I had to buy a new copy to return to him. I've not lo...more
Thomas
Warning: Readers should not expect the main character to show up, draw a magic scimitar or lightsaber, and slice through the enemy. In this series, the bad guys are just part of Thomas Covenant's problem. He is also fighting enemies within himself. Be prepared to feel troubled over his plight and occasionally frustrated by his unwillingness to accept his situation and to fight. There's still plenty of excitement and all the elements of well crafted fantasy. But there's so much more.
Mike (the Paladin)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex
I picked this up because I was told that it was quite good. I was disappointed to learn that it is exactly the opposite of that. If you can get past the ridiculously generic fantasy place and character names, you're left with a flat, poorly-written story and an unbelievable character that the author has desperately try to pad out with some dark attributes that just don't quite fit.
Jason Olson
I read this book when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I had just read lord of the rings, and I was searching through my dad's books for something else to read and I found this...

I remember thinking at the time that for as much as I liked the LOTR, the bad guys just weren't bad enough. The good guys were a little too good. For as much as I loved middle earth, I felt like the world Tolkien built was much grander and complex than the characters that inhabited it.

Lord Foul's Bane answered those issues...more
Ethan
This book hasn’t aged well. Perhaps back in 1978 when it was published, it was amazing and interesting because there was nothing to compare it to. Unfortunately, the world has moved on and left this poor guy in the back of the used bookstore, where he sits and twiddles his dusty laurels and hopes for some sucker to read him. That sucker was me.

Minor spoilers here, so turn away if you must, but honestly I don’t think it will alter the reading experience a whole lot…so here goes.

The main character...more
Bax
Jun 15, 2008 Bax rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Bobo was whining about my spendthrift ways with 5 star rating, so I figured I'd better mix in a few fish carcasses amongst the fillet mignon.

Pretentious, whiny tripe.
If I could change one decision in my life it would be picking up this whole series at one go. At the time I felt compelled to finish anything I started (a habit I have since successfully exorcised), so I soldiered on to the bitter end of the first trilogy, cheering loudly every time a diseased bit of the protagonist fell off and pra...more
Sara
First of the Thomas Covenant series. My husband remembers this was all the rage in 1976. I started reading this series much later. Everywhere I went with this book people told me they had read it and how good it was. I was doubtful at first but my roommate's boyfriend told me it got off to a slow start but not to give up. He said it was worth it to keep reading and boy, was he right! I think Stephen R. Donaldson became a better writer as he went through this series. I had read a couple of his la...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
If I could give a "bomb" rating, I would, because this turkey deserves it.
Brian
This isn't so much a review of the book as a response to other reviews I have read by people who hated it, and hated it specifically because they see the protagonist, Thomas Covenant, as unlikeable -- weak, whiny, and self-pitying -- and/or because of the rape scene included in it. My position is essentially this: You can hate a character for many good reasons, but having no clue who he really is, is not one of them.

Some readers seem to want to excuse Covenant to some extent as an anti-hero, but...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Is there a protagonist more unlikeable than Thomas Covenant? I've yet to find one in all my years of reading fantasy. In fact, I was so entirely off-put by this character that my antipathy towards him makes me unable to appreciate anything worthy the series might contain. He's a foul, despicable man and I really couldn't see past him in any part of the novel.
At the beginning, middle and end all I was focused on was how loathsome Donaldson had made this character. No redeeming attributes, no humo...more
Mark
The blank stars reflect the fact that not only did i hate this book but I didn't even finish it and I won't because I just have too many other books that I am certain are better. I lasted about a hundred twenty pages before I could take no more of the cantankerous anti-hero of Thomas Covenant. I pitied him for his unfortunate state of health but it wasn't enough to bear the brunt of his corrosive attitude that left me feeling as sick as he was and since he was a fictional character I felt I didn...more
Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*

"And he who wields wild white magic gold
is a paradox-
for he is everything and nothing
hero and fool
potent, helpless-
and with the one word of truth or treachery,
he will save or damn the Earth,
because he is mad and sane
cold and passionate
lost and found"



Thomas Covenant is on the brink of losing it all. He has leprosy, his writing career is in shambles, his wife has taken their young son and left him, and the rest of the townspeople fear and despise him. So when he is mysteriously transported to the...more
Sakura87
Stephen Donaldson, scrittore fantasy americano degli anni Ottanta, in Italia non ha mai sfondato. Pubblicato per la prima volta nell'89 dalla Mondadori, che approfittò del revival del Signore degli Anelli e del traino di Terry Brooks (vi piaccia o non vi piaccia, chi leggeva fantasy a quell'epoca mi assicura che aveva i suoi tanti ammiratori anche qui in Italia), fu rapidamente dimenticato e riscattato dall'oblio solo nel 2006 da una ristampa della Fanucci, un oblio da cui però non si è salvato,...more
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Wondering if I made a mistake 8 101 Jul 13, 2014 11:49AM  
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Silver Stag Book ...: Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson 4 9 Feb 26, 2014 05:51PM  
The anti hero 48 177 Jan 07, 2014 10:37AM  
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery novelist. He earned his bachelor's degree from The College of Wooster and master's degree from Kent State University. He currently resides in New Mexico.

Stephen R. Donaldson was born on the 13th May 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prosthetist (a person skilled i...more
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...
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