As a reader Scott Brick is awesome. Stephen R. Donaldson has great ideas, but his execution has much to be desired. However, it is worth is for the ideas.
The problem here is that for some reason book 2 of this series has not been released in audio. There is no way I will ever get anymore books in this series unless book 2 is released in audio.
First, let me say that Donaldson is one of my three favorite SF authors for use of the English language. Along with Lovecraft and Gene Wolfe, they form a triad against which I gauge almost everything else I read. This book continues Donaldson's masterful manipulation of English.
The story rather parallels the beginning of the Second Chronicles. It's been ten years since Linden Avery redeemed The Land from the Sunbane, some 3500 years in The Land. Her life has drastically improved since she returned to Earth. She has a good job which she enjoys and has adopted one of the children who maimed their hands in Foul's fire in The Land. The story opens with the appearance of Roger Covenant, who wishes to redeem his mad mother from the mental hospital Linden runs. For some reason, Avery balks, so he kidnaps his mother, killing some of the hospital staff, and kidnaps Avery's son as well. Linden Avery is summoned back to The Land, but is joined by her son and Roger Covenant, as well as the mad Joan, who is actually inhabited by Turya Raver. Avery is shot through the heart as she is summoned. She heals herself using Thomas Covenant's ring, which she wears around her neck, returning White Gold to The Land, but she is not unique in this: Joan carries the twin to Covenant's ring. Much has changed in The Land. Linden first encounters an inately Earth powerful mad man named Aneal. She looks down on The Land and sees a yellow cloud of smog covering it as far as she can see. She and Aneal are captured by two Haruchai and taken to Mithil Stonedown, and when she awakes, her health sense is dead. She learns that the smog is called Kevin's Dirt, as the Haruchai fear this is the first step in another act of Desecration. Linden and Aneal are held prisoner by the Haruchai who now call themselves the Masters of The Land, until Linden proves she is the Chosen returned to The Land. Aneal, however, remains a prisoner and begs Linden to protect and free Aneal. Aneal refers to himself in the third person as part of his madness. The Haruchai's Mastery is based on the belief that all use of Earth power ultimately serves Corruption, hence, Linden finds the stonedownors ignorant of their history as well as their traditional abilities. She escapes with Aneal during a violent storm and flees to the Southron Range accompanied by a stonedownor and pursued by one of the Masters.
The remainder of the book, Linden finds allies as well as learning that many, many new threats face The Land. Several beings seem to possess Aneal, providing interesting insights into these threats. With two main exceptions, the entire book is set up. It is unfortunate that this vast story does not move the story forward in any truly significant manner. Additionally, Thomas Covenant shows up in less than fifteen sentences in the book. This is the reason I gave the book four stars instead of five.
For those seeking the missing second book, Fatal Revenant, it is only available on Scott Brick's website along with several other books not available on Audible.
I agree with the first review about the characters, I also agree with the review that was disappointed audible has not got the second book yet and the third will be out in early 2011. I also wish that Audible would get Mordents need on audio ASAP. I love those books and now that I am having more trouble with the eyes I can not read paper books easily. I have been enjoying the books from back in the day like the adept series they have finally gotten. I digress looking forward to reading the last chronicles trying to look past the agnst of the characters. Get a backbone right!
I haven't read the previous books but like Epic fantasy and enjoyed a lot of Scott Bricks narration. I downloaded this book and got about five to six hours deep through pure will power. The author is extremely wordy, like bust out the thesaurus because the point of this book is to show you how many obscure words the author can cram into a sentence. I do mean cram too, they don't fit the flow and his descriptive phrases are so overly verbose and showy that it distracts from the story.
The story is good one b ut the pace is so plodding that I found myself wishing the narrator would just get to the point. There is so much parenthetical musing written into the dialogue that it becomes a big distraction to the story.
A slower book I have not listened to in a while. The story was good through the 1/3 I made it through, but the endless build up to any progression of the main character was tediously slow, and then the drone after the event was even worse. My mind drifted so many time I had trouble listening.
It has been many years since I last visited The Land. It has brought back many memories and spurred me to re-read the original series (both trilogies). This first new book is pretty good and I really liked it. I don't think it was as good as the original series, but I have hopes Mr. Donaldson will continue to write this story. If this story has any weakness it is that it is so much like the original pattern. The second trilogy was as well, making a predictable pattern.
In a word: tedious.
The original trilogy was rich and kept me interested. In this book, however, the plot progresses far to slowly and Donaldson seems to fill the pages with endless redundancy and aimless diversions. And way to much time is devoted to re-living the previous books.
Based on the original trilogy I had high expectations but was disappointed.
Well worth the 22 year wait! Donaldson weaves an intricate story with all the mental underpinnings like the earlier series. However, the plot and action now move at a breath taking pace rather than drudge along as in The One Tree or White Gold Wielder. The narration is done pretty well--each character is distinctively yet believably portrayed. The book's only fault is that it ends--and we must wait until late 2007 for the next installment.
I dearly loved the first six books. I finished The One Tree just as White Gold Weilder was first published and scrimped and save my paltry high school income to buy the hardback. The complaints I heard from my firends that did not like them, were that he was too wordy and whiny; complaints to which I scoffed.
I scoff no longer. Runes of the Earth was truly abysmal. It was indeed wordy and whiny and the words that he used lacked a comprehension, a certain familiarity on the part of the author. "Incipient" and "Imminent" are arguably synonyms, but are not necessarily interchangeable. Donaldson seems to have sat down with his thesaurus and substituted short words for one or more of their longer synonyms with no real understanding the new words. Ham-handed is the word that springs to mind.
I was sorely disappointed and as a result will never, ever read the first six novels again for fear that finding my teen self was so appallingly callow.