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The One Tree (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  15,950 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
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�but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 1982)
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Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"Freedom doesn't mean you get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose how you react to it."

Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever and white gold wielder, leper and lover, who had taught her to treasure the danger of being human.

In this second book in the second Thomas Covenant trilogy, Covenant and Linden Avery travel with their Giant and Haruchai companions on a quest to find the One Tree. Covenant believes that if he makes a new Staff of Law from this tree it will be the start of bringing
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Valerie by: Jeff
The original anti-hero, paving the way for all those who were not good by the conventional sense.
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Read when we were still wrestling for grubs...

Like the 2nd book of the 1st trilogy, this book is a travelogue: there's a quest to re-create the Staff of Law and they take another boat ride. But, unlike that book, there is action (and sorrow) a-plenty in this volume.

At the end, rather than feeling like it was all just "setup", we have had a serious undertaking that ends in (I won't tell you, not even with a spoiler tag.)

Like book #1, this has a tighter structure to it that keeps your interest and
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
There is a scene where Avery outsmarts a sorcerer that sticks in my mind years later for the way different pieces came together in a dramatic showdown.

This book shows more of Donaldson's world - evidencing an alternative creation story - and is more traditional fantasy adventure.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a common movie series cliche in the fantasy/sci fi world that each successive installment gets "darker". Donaldson's first four books do follow that trend, but it was almost pitch black to begin with. The fifth, this traumatising experience, plunges into a veritable black hole. More accurately put, The One Tree doesn't just get "darker", it continues the tendency of the the series to distance itself more and more from worldy affairs and delve deeper and deeper into the hearts and minds of i ...more
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
*For those who read my reviews, I am re-using the same review for each of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I will include thoughts on all three novels in the one review. Cheers*

People say, all the time, how the second installment in a trilogy is usually the best or the darkest of the three. Donaldson did the "darker" bit in The Illearth War (Book 2 of the first Chronicles). But his second trilogy managed the same thing. Everything that was awesome about The Land in the first trilogy is
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thomas Covenant is seeking for the One Tree to forge a new Staff of Law in order to free the Land from the clutches of the Sunbane and defeat Lord Foul.

I love this book to tatters. Like all the other volumes in the series, it required a re-reading round before all the layers of psychological tension could unravel from beneath the complicated language (English is not my native tongue, but I like the challenge books akin to this pose, nonetheless) and actually sink in. I'm not one hundred percent
Feb 25, 2016 added it
The Thomas Covenant books are great yet distressing.
Why are they great? Because I love a never ending story. I love to know the history of each character and how they were introduced and what they contributed to the story. I love the generational progression. That is fascinating. The writer has quite the imagination and style. I have to refer to the glossary often to remind me of the references throughout the series (I ordered the ebooks).

This is why this series distressing? The author pulls yo
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Yet again, a review of the whole trilogy rather than each individual book. No spoilers of the story variety. The gist, for those who want to skip the lengthy review: these three books are more action-packed and immediately engaging than the previous trilogy, and Donaldson continued to hold true to the strengths that made the first novels a pleasure to read.

This trilogy was the better written, for me. More action packed, more events-driven and easier to get into. The horrors being wrought on the
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer30
When I was about 16 I saw this book in the local library and thought it sounded wonderful, but then realised it was part 2 of a trilogy, and THEN realised this was the SECOND trilogy of a pair.

I like a challenge, and I like big books and series, so a little later I bought and read all 6 books in about a month or so. That 2400+ pages surpassed even my enjoyment of Lord of the Rings.

Ah! Now I realise the book I'd MOST like to see as a film would be one of these (or all of them). That would be a mi
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The One Tree ticks along in a dramatically different vein to the previous 3 books. The Sunbane is marvellously detailed - the description of the time between The Power that Preserves and Covenant's next visit 10 years (3000 years later?!) is tackled fantastically, culminating in his explosion of wild magic mid-way through the book is unforgettable.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nick by: Ted Jennings
I picked this up right after reading the previous one (The Woudned Land). I think this one might be even better. It moved from just being a page turner to bringing in deeper themes of power, morality, and manipulation. I'm reading the next one now... we'll see how it stacks up.
Peter Coath
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Few authors do it better than Tolkien but Donaldson does. His creates and entire fantasy world with totally fleshed out characters not least our hero Thomas who is the most unlikely hero ever. The author takes us on a journey through an incredible world during which we become totally invested in the an our new surroundings and every one within them. The books in both the first and second chronicles just keep getting better and better and it is difficult to choose a favourite. The One Tree wins b ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like this series. Unfortunately, in this book the author starts repeating a phrase that I find deplorable! "There was no choice" Oh my how I dislike that phrase! There was another series that I read where the author overused it and it detracted from my enjoyment. All my grumbling aside, the introduction of other (new and interesting) characters (as well as new threats) in the Second Chronicles is refreshing.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: readwhenyounger
I liked it when I was 17, but I want to review it again
Ben Stivers
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
God I hated Thomas Covenant so much. I read the whole trilogy hoping he would die! A great read! 😃😂
Dennis Johnson
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gets Better and Better

Some of the best fantasy writing I've had the pleasure of reading. A s good as Tolkien and other greats, I look forward to the next book.
Adam Neuses
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cool new settings. Thomas needs to stop being a bitch.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
An awful lot of journey for not very much in the end.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In The Wounded Land, the opening volume of The Second Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson clearly took the Covenant story in brave new directions. In the follow-up volume, The One Tree, Donaldson continues to push the boundaries of his fantasy creation. Not content merely to turn The Land inside out as he did in TWL, Donaldson here in volume 2 of the Second Chronicles sends his characters outside The Land altogether in search of the One Tree with which to carve a new Staff of Law to ...more
Abhinav Neelam
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest - I picked up this book fully expecting not to like it at all.

'The Wounded Land' wasn't all bad - I loved Donaldson's gift for description, I loved how he couldn't let any of his characters 'sink' into perfection, and the Land was generally an interesting place. Ironically though, those very same imperfections made the book unbearably depressing - why would you care for the story if there's no reward for your emotional investment?

And that same gift for description led to pages and
James Wayne Proctor
I love to complain about this book, so full of great ideas but overwritten and overwrought like no other. Donaldson is in a class alone when it comes to squeezing every last melancholic drop out of a character; such considered, parsed, wrestled-with inner lives only exist on the page. How fortunate, then, that the setting is fantastical, since only in lands of imagination can such people survive.

Still, I admit I get a kick out of reading this overheated hooey. First read in my early teens, it i
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Schwartz
THE ONE TREE ends inconclusively with the party having achieved nothing. This is my primary frustration with this book and the reason it is the only book in the entire series I did not like at all.

The pace of the book is ponderously slow with page after page of lugubrious introspection on Linden’s part. This book does develop her character a great deal. But she is revealed as a pitiful, mousy person full of self loathing. Perhaps Donaldson was trying to make her more pitiful than Covenant. But a
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
The excessively latinate vocab continued in this one, but we now have Dr. Linden Avery dragged across the void. She has her own dark memories - her father's suicide when she was 7 and her mother's death from cancer when Linden was 15 - and is a driven doctor determined to bring healing to a small town like the one she grew up in. When they arrive in the Land it is to find that thousands of years have passed and the health of the Land is gone. Covenant's leprosy is not cured because the soil whic ...more
Andrew Wilson
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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--but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....

### From the Publisher

These books have never received the recognition they deserve. It's one of the most powerful and complex fantasy trilogies since Lord of the Rings, but Donaldson is not just another Tolkien wanabee. Each c

Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
This entry in the series is rough going. The main impediment for me is that the protagonist, Thomas Covenant, is shoved to the background, which is a major problem in a series called THE SECOND CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT. Covenant is the point-of-view character for only five of this book's 27 chapters. The rest of the narrative is placed on the shoulders of Linden Avery, who was introduced in the previous book. That might has been an interesting tack to take if Linden were original or intrigu ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I've already reviewed the previous books in this huge, awesome series, and my feelings are the same. I always put this one towards the top of the Covenant list, because it has the advantage of being the middle book in a trilogy. It's darker, lots of stuff happens, and it ends on a down note- one of those "oh my god what just happened?" type of vibe. Same as the Illearth War from the first series. Here, Linden Avery gets more depth, the Haruchi (ex bloodguard) are much more explored and, of cours ...more
James Reid
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Book 5 or series 2 book 2)

Still here? This is a bit of a departure from the series so far in that it shows what exists in the world outside of "the Land". We get an interdimensional space, a desert holdfast, ice, sea creatures, and off course, the one tree. Each location is exotic, evocative and different. The greatest strength of these books is the unique setting, and this acts as a travelogue of interesting and exciting places. Divorced from the land, the dialogu
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1984, fantasy-fiction
[These notes were made in 1984:]. Bk II of the Second Chronicles. A group of assorted creatures -- giants, haruchai, our two humans, the strange black creature called Vain - set out on a giant-ship to find the One Tree and re-make the Staff of Law. They find the One Tree, but fail to remake the Staff, and what happens in-between is a great deal of peril from unfriendly people, and Covenant falling in love with Linden Avery, as she begins to find herself and her own particular powers. I thought t ...more
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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 Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (3 books)
  • The Wounded Land (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #1)
  • White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #3)

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“Perfection cannot endure in an imperfect world.” 3 likes
“But my arts are also pure, as a circle is pure, and in a flawed world purity cannot endure.” 2 likes
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