Lord Foul's Bane

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Book cover of Lord Foul's Bane

Book description

'Comparable to Tolkien at his best' WASHINGTON POST

Instantly recognised as a modern fantasy classic, Stephen Donaldson's uniquely imaginative and complex THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, THE UNBELIEVER became a bestselling literary phenomenon that transformed the genre.

Lying unconscious after an accident, writer Thomas Covenant awakes in the Land -…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Lord Foul's Bane as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book begins with a broken and scorned man, his world having come apart at the seams after contracting leprosy.

Donaldson’s craft at portraying Covenant’s bitterness and vitriol toward life because of his plight is a palpable thing. When Covenant is transported to “The Land” by the magic of his wedding ring, which he refuses to part with despite the emotional pain it engenders, he is hailed as the second coming of Berek Halfhand, a legendary figure in this realm he considers to be a dream.

Such is his weakness, confusion, and rage at his plight in the real world,…

From Gregory's list on anti-heroes of fantasy fiction.

I cannot recommend one particular book of the first three that tells the tale of Thomas Covenant and his trials and tribulations in both his real world and that of the ‘Land’ which he magically travels to.

Each book has its own merits. The overall story between the three books is epic fantasy at its darkest and its best. I remember being in shock for several days after a particular part of the story that involved an act of genocide. I loved the level of engagement.

This first trilogy gripped me from start to finish. The protagonist is a little…

This book has it all—well rounded characters that you come to love and root for, an alternate world that will make you yearn to be there yourself, and a hero, cursed with a disease that makes him an outcast in his own world but a hero in the new world he finds himself in. A hero who can’t believe that he might be able to make a difference if he only knew how, because to believe in the world and the people therein is a dangerous step that a leper dare not make. Giants, horses, people of amazing abilities and…

Oddly, this is a book I both love and hate at different stages of the story. It was the first title I brought from a book club, and the first I read after Tolkien. Obviously, there are similarities, but I loved the idea that someone from our world could be drawn into a fantasy world. Donaldson’s main character, Covenant, is not easy to like following that controversial scene early in the book. But Donaldson’s style kept me engaged—even when Covenant became extremely annoying and I found myself yelling at him to ‘stop your whining and get on with it!’ But…

These works are a masterpiece and hard reading at times, but worth every word if you love epic fantasy, as I do. The protagonist Thomas Covenant is a sour and bitter person, but I found myself drawn to his humanity as he struggles to come to terms with his plight. Stephen’s courage in exploring human emotions and humanity itself is inspiring. The storyline is like an onion and as I peeled back the layers; I was hooked. I have been reading the fantasy genre for over 55 years and this series was the first to leave an everlasting impression.

Lord Foul’s Bane is a portal fantasy in which both worlds are intertwined, at the least in a quasi-spiritual sense. Significantly, the protagonist, Thomas Covenant, is an author who finds himself an unbelieving visitor to the Land, a world he assumes is imaginary. The leprosy that impedes his work as a writer and numbs him to sensation takes on a mythical/prophetic significance once he is translated to the Land.

The world-building, mythos, and culture of the Land are staggering, and throughout there is an allegorical sense at play.

Donaldson never shies away from psychological realism, but he does temper it…

From Derek's list on conflicted protagonists in fantasy.

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