The Runes of the Earth

October 20th, 2004 Comments Off on The Runes of the Earth

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a huge fan of Stephen R. Donaldson‘s writings. His Covenant Chronicles are one of the finest pieces of fantastical literature in my opinion, with a depth that rivals works like the Dune novels and exceeds even cherished books like The Lord of the Rings.

Since I read the Chronicles for the first time, I had hoped that Donaldson would write a conclusion to the saga. That wish became reality this week with the release of The Runes of the Earth, the first book of four in his The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. I’ve read the first chapter (PDF) of the Prologue in his official site, and it blew me away. Few writers can capture such range of emotions and attain such a balance in their writings. If the first chapter is a guide, the book will be more than wonderful, delivering more than any fan could have dreamed of. I’m ordering it as soon as it becomes available in the bookstore I use to buy imported books here in Brazil.

The most interesting thing about Donaldson’s books is that they rarely fit any conventional genre description. Whether they are science fiction books, fantasy books, or mystery books, he always manages to break away from the mold, both in his choice of themes and in his mastery in exploring the intriguing — and often disturbing — issues that arise from those themes. It’s impossible not to react to what he writes. A passage in one of his books made me so angry that I wanted to throw the book away and stop reading. Needless to say, I finished the book and I still consider it one of his best works.

Donaldson’s official site is also a treat, featuring now a gradual interview with him that has been running for almost a year where he talks candidly about his books, his life, and his opinions about the issues he holds dear. The site also features some of his poetry and articles, interviews with him, literary analysis by him and others, and other appealing items. It’s really worth a visit — daily, of course.

Anyway, if you have not read any of his books, I highly recommend that you pick any of his series, although, in my opinion, the Chronicles are still the most interesting of them. You will not be disappointed.

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