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The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the… (original 1977; edition 1987)

by Stephen R. Donaldson

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3,285231,666 (3.9)17
Member:goth_huntress
Title:The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 3)
Authors:Stephen R. Donaldson
Info:Del Rey (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
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Tags:fantasy

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The power that preserves by Stephen R. Donaldson (1977)

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
After a long period of waiting for something to happen, I finally find myself liking a book in this trilogy. It took until the middle of the book, granted, but then I flew right through it. The pace picked up, the characters gained interest. It was good, but I'm sad that it was so long coming. However, saying that, I must emphasize again that Donaldson's style is a much vaguer, slower-paced style than I prefer to start with, so those who like that type of writing style will have probably liked this book from the beginning.

Donaldson leaves a lot unexplained, right from the beginning. A great deal of the start of the book leaves the reader following Covenant around in a short of delusional stupor, and later the reader will see glimpses into certain perspectives that are truly irrelevant to the story - or, if they are relevant, Donaldson did not clearly explain how.

I made a note to myself after about the first hundred pages pending an incident: "Given any sort of logic, we'd never see Triock again, but even though many of Donaldson's side-exploits seem to be pointless and end in people dying, people don't seem to die. But they still seem pointless." A little harsh, perhaps, but it remains true. It's said that "if you don't see the corpse, they are not dead," and that prove true of several characters in the trilogy, so many that it was becoming predictable, and a bit disappointing. I think perhaps that the point was that Covenant's ghosts were coming back to haunt him, but I'm not certain.

Ultimately, I didn't love the trilogy, but nor can I say I hated it. Much of my opinion on the book, I am consciously aware, has to do with my preference in books, and not the shortcomings of the writer. He has many fans, and has them for a reason. ( )
  Morteana | Mar 20, 2016 |
Back in his own "real" world, Thomas Covenant is devastated by the loss of Elena, though he still maintains to himself that his experience in the Land was all just a dream. Tormented by this unanswerable paradox, he neglects his physical condition; he stops taking his medications and fails to treat his head wound, allowing his dormant leprosy to once again become active.

Wandering in the woods outside of his hometown, he comes upon a lost little girl suffering from a rattlesnake bite. At this point he is once again summoned to the Land, this time by the desperate High Lord Mhoram, who is in need of aid. Covenant finds that seven years have gone by since the Illearth War, and Lord Foul is preparing for his final assault on the people of the Land. Foul has enslaved the tormented spirit of former High Lord Elena, who now wields the Staff of Law in the service of evil. The Lords have lost their most loyal defenders, the semi-immortal Bloodguard, and the Land has been cast into a perpetual winter. Furthermore, Lord Foul has rebuilt his army, which, under the command of the third Giant-raver Satansfist, now besieges the Lords' mountain-fortress of Revelstone. As a last resort, the Lords have decided to call upon Covenant, in the hope that he will be able to use the wild magic power of his white gold ring to repel the siege and save the Land from total destruction.

Covenant, however, demands that Mhoram release the summons in order to allow him to save the girl's life in the "real" world. Mhoram assents. Covenant does manage to save the girl, but at the cost of being poisoned by the rattlesnake venom he has sucked out of her. In this state and with the knowledge that the girl is safe, he accepts another summoning, this time made by Triock, the sometime lover of Lena, whom Covenant raped on his first trip to the Land, resulting in the birth of Elena.

The place to which Covenant is summoned is Kevin's Watch, to which Lord Foul transported him at the time of his first summoning by Drool Rockworm. Once there, Covenant is pleased to be reunited with the Giant Saltheart Foamfollower, his boon companion from the quest from the Staff of Law. Foamfollower sadly relates to Covenant how he alone survived the massacre of his people at Seareach. Descending from the mountain and traveling east with Lena and Foamfollower in search of Lord Foul's demesne, Covenant is horrified to witness the depredations caused by Foul and his servants. South of the Plains of Ra, Covenant finds that his old bodyguard Bannor has joined with the Ramen in an attempt to protect the Ranyhyn, the intelligent, free horses who formerly served the Bloodguard as mounts. Covenant is able to convince the Ramen to take the Ranyhyn south to safety, although Bannor accompanies him on his journey east. Kidnapped by Ravers, Covenant is able to confront Elena and use the power of his white gold ring to dismiss her ghost, although this results in the destruction of the Staff of Law. Bannor declines to follow Covenant further, although he accepts the metal heels of the Staff for safekeeping and eventual return to the Lords. Meanwhile Lord Mhoram, after a protracted battle, is able to break the siege of Revelstone and kill Satansfist.

Afterwards, Covenant and Foamfollower journey to Ridjeck Thome, the very heart of Lord Foul's dominion, where they succeed in defeating Foul; this act also repairs much of the havoc caused by Elena's breaking of the Law of Death. Covenant also uses the power of the wild magic to destroy the Illearth Stone: in the final cataclysm Foamfollower is killed and so, seemingly, is Covenant.

However, his consciousness remains, and while in a state somewhere between being and nonexistence, he is spoken to in the darkness by the voice of the old beggar from the beginning of the first book, who is in fact the Creator of the Land. The Creator thanks Covenant for saving his creation and asks him what reward he might accept. Excitedly, Covenant asks the Creator to save Foamfollower, but the Creator regretfully tells Covenant that even he cannot undo something which has already occurred: otherwise the Arch of Time, the fundamental structure underlying the Land's universe, will be destroyed. The Creator explains that this restriction, in fact, is what prevented him from dealing with Foul directly: he had to act through a proxy, Covenant, and even after causing Covenant to be transported to the Land, the Creator did not interfere with Covenant's freedom of will in any way. The decision to "save or damn" the Land was Covenant's own.

The Creator then tells Covenant that he has a choice: either he can remain in the Land in full health, or he can be returned to life in his own world, where he otherwise would have died from an allergic reaction to the antivenin treatment applied to his unconscious body. Covenant, still unwilling to fully accept the Land, choses the latter and awakes in his hospital bed, weakened from his physical trauma, still afflicted with his disease, but happy to be alive.

( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Great ending of the first trilogy of Thomas Covenant. There has been a good build up to this book. The great part about this series is the characters and how they change through all the events of the 3 books. It really shines in this last book as the characters have to come to terms with who they are and how to preserve the future. Stephen Donaldson's philosophy really shows in this book too. I don't think it would have been so clear without the first 2 books building to it. So while the storyline is not wholly original, the characters, ending, prose, and the message really make this one of the best fantasy series I have read. ( )
  renbedell | Oct 11, 2015 |
This is as good as Donaldson gets, this volume three of the dreary tale of Thomas Convenant. i don't care for Covenant, and have never been able to read Donaldson again with the exception of the first volume of his next trilogy, because I hoped it would be better.
It wasn't. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 8, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen R. Donaldsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyeth, S. C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Voor Dr. James R. Donaldson, M.D.,
wiens leven een sprekender getuigenis
aflegde van mededogen en betrokkenheid
dan woorden ooit zouden kunnen.
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Thomas Covenant was talking in his sleep.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345348672, Mass Market Paperback)

"A trilogy of remarkable scope and sophistication."
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Twice before Thomas Covenant had been summoned to the strange other-world where magic worked. Twice before he had been forced to join with the Lords of Revelstone in their war against Lord Foul, the ancient enemy of the Land. Now he was back. This time the Lords of Revelstone were desperate. Without hope, Covenant set out to confront the might of the enemy, as Lord Foul grew more powerful with every defeat for the Land....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Determined to never again be manipulated by the evil Lord Foul the Despiser, Thomas Covenant prepares to aid the Land's besieged Council of Lords by meeting Lord Foul in final combat.

(summary from another edition)

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