Hippoi Athanatoi

Two Overdue Favourities

After we returned from the WorldCon, I finally managed to squeeze in a week of reading (before getting back to work on this site, among other things) which resulted in me finishing two books by a pair of my favourite authors that had been sitting on my shelf (the books, that is) for far too long: Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey and The Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson.

The first was originally titled Elegy for Darkness, before being split into two, Banewreaker and Godslayer, with the overall title of The Sundering. A publisher decision, one suspects, as the original title more clearly embodied what the story is about: the fate of the antagonists in a classic fantasy tale.  Some people have grumbled about it being too similar to The Lord of the Rings, mostly (or so it seems) not realizing that this is on purpose. It is, after all, a story about the other side of the coin, and as the story progresses it does begin to diverge from the expected path. I certainly enjoyed it very much, and I do not plan to leave the second volume sitting undisturbed for any length of time.

As for The Runes of the Earth, what can one say? Its the first book of the long and eagerly awaited The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and it was every bit as brilliant as the previous six books. Once again Lord Foul threatens the Land, and this time it appears to fall to Linden Avery, who now bears the white gold, to be its saviour. But with Donaldson things are never quite that straight-forward, and as usual he introduces some very unexpected developments. Things Linden—and the reader—have taken for granted are no longer quite like they used to be.

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