Book One (of four) of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
by Stephen R. Donaldson
My first thought when I saw the book was, what the hell? Covenant dies at the end of the Second Chronicles. Doesn't seem like much opportunity for a sequel, does there?
But this is fantasy Land, of course, so all bets are off. I have enough respect for Donaldson that I knew he didn't write it to meet the mortgage payment, so I bought it and sat it on my shelf until there was at least word that Book Two would be along (scheduled for October, with the other books to follow at three year intervals).
The book starts with a brief synopsis of what has come before and then the prologue begins. The prologue just sold me. It picks up 10 years after the Second Chronicles (in the real world, anyway) and the reason that precipitates another journey into the Land is so compelling, inevitable and right, that my feelings of WTH have been allayed.
Since Covenant is dead, the book follows Linden Avery, Covenant's our-world companion in the second series. She returns to the Land (where thousands of years have gone by) and like Covenant does in the Second Chronicles, she has to come to grips with how the Land has changed in the intervening time. And just what has Lord Foul the Despiser done to it.
In many ways, the Land is more like the Land of the first series. With the Sunbane gone, the screwed-uppedness of the second series has been largely undone. But thing's are hardly back to where they were. There are new changes and perils, and the stakes are higher than ever.
Perhaps naturally, the book slows down quite a lot once she reaches the Land, so that one can take in this new, familiar yet unfamiliar world. Though there's a great deal of action, I didn't find the main body of the book as horrifyingly enjoyable as the prologue. Book One is the set-up. And it ends in a quiet cliffhanger. I'm sure the continuation of the story will start yielding payoffs.
Humbling GHII datum: I looked up my best ever run through Killing in the Name of (this morning, about 50K higher than my next best) and I rank somewhere around 800th place on scorehero.com.
ETA: Oh, and I saw obishawn on the news this morning, hanging out with the droid mailboxes.
EYATA: Oh, and since I'm at work (not that you can tell, it appears) this is just a reminder to make myself a 'news' icon out of this, unless someone beats me to it.