Last week, I took a poll asking, “What characters make up your personality?”
There are several characters that I can identify in my psyche, ones that have been with me a very long time since the days of early youth. I also have an admission to make. Not all of my characters are wholly wholesome.
One of them is a downright prick most of the time.
Thomas Covenant. Outcast. Leper. Unclean. Covenant is the creation of Stephen R. Donaldson and has ever been present in my personality since I was 14 years old. It was at that time my teacher challenged me to read Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War and The Power That Preserves. They contained more adult themes and situations but he knew I was ready for it. He knew me better than I knew myself, it seems.
I identify with Covenant on several levels but one simple one. I grew up with a scaly coating of eczema over a great deal of my legs and feet. At that age, children are cruel, and I sincerely felt like an outcast. The leprosy that inflicts Covenant and the stigma associated with it led to the loss of his friends, his wife and his son. He was alone. I too felt alone at that time and discovered I carried a very similar anger that Covenant carried. He channeled it for good though. It was a good lesson to learn at a young age.
I love the three books that comprise The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant—Unbeliever for several reasons beyond just Covenant and the connection I share with him. There are great characters. Lord Mhoram. The Giant Saltheart Foamfollower. The Ravers. Elena. The battle against Foul and Despite. The stone and wood cultures Donaldson created. The beauty and mystery of the Land itself. It is fantasy at its best.
Here is a bit more about it:
The first book in one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.
He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero….
Del Rey Books has just released the eBooks of Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War and The Power That Preserves by Stephen R. Donaldson. I’m happy to see this. As I said earlier, this is fantasy at its best and it should be available in every format created.
If you haven’t read Lord Foul’s Bane, give it a try. It can be a dark read at times since Covenant is one of the strongest anti-heroes in the genre, but it can also be a rewarding fantasy experience!
More on eBooks next week!