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The One Tree

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Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery begin their search for the One Tree that is to be the salvation of the Land. Only he could find the answer and forge a new Staff of Law�but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....


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Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery begin their search for the One Tree that is to be the salvation of the Land. Only he could find the answer and forge a new Staff of Law�but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....

30 review for The One Tree

  1. 4 out of 5

    Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*

    "Freedom doesn't mean you get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose how you react to it." Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever and white gold wielder, leper and lover, who had taught her to treasure the danger of being human. In this second book in the second Thomas Covenant trilogy, Covenant and Linden Avery travel with their Giant and Haruchai companions on a quest to find the One Tree. Covenant believes that if he makes a new Staff of Law from this tree it will be the start of bringing "Freedom doesn't mean you get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose how you react to it." Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever and white gold wielder, leper and lover, who had taught her to treasure the danger of being human. In this second book in the second Thomas Covenant trilogy, Covenant and Linden Avery travel with their Giant and Haruchai companions on a quest to find the One Tree. Covenant believes that if he makes a new Staff of Law from this tree it will be the start of bringing back the Earthpower to the Land. but many dangers assault their quest. And the quest itself may have been doomed from the very start... I'm telling you, this series just keeps getting better and better with each new book. This one has a little bit of a different twist to it as well. In the previous books, Covenant is brought to the Land and generally stays within it's confines. But in this book his quest takes him beyond the Land, propelling him into places and situations that are completely different from what we as readers are used to. There are tons of new experiences and groups of people that the fellowship comes across. And the general feel of the story really reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, since both had that sense of nautical adventure and the reader's sense of omg what are they going to find next? Also there was a bit of a mystery and quite a bit of intrigue surrounding the One Tree itself and throughout the book I had the distinct impression of some type od trap being laid for the questers but couldn't quite figure out what it was, which made the story even more intriguing. All in all, this was another great installment of this fantasy series, and I look forward to diving into the next one! "All who live contain some darkness, and much lies hidden there."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Rodaughan

    This is me doing a drive by review of this series. Which I have read in full, once, and I bought all the books in hardcover, or trade paperback - and then subsequently passed them on to 2nd hand book shops - because I knew I'd only ever read them once. Ahh... "The One Tree," I remember it well ... just kidding, another completely forgettable book in this saga of a rapist who must again doubt his way to victory against a big bad. This is me doing a drive by review of this series. Which I have read in full, once, and I bought all the books in hardcover, or trade paperback - and then subsequently passed them on to 2nd hand book shops - because I knew I'd only ever read them once. Ahh... "The One Tree," I remember it well ... just kidding, another completely forgettable book in this saga of a rapist who must again doubt his way to victory against a big bad.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Read when we were still wrestling for grubs... Like the 2nd book of the 1st trilogy, this book is a travelogue: there's a quest to re-create the Staff of Law and they take another boat ride. But, unlike that book, there is action (and sorrow) a-plenty in this volume. At the end, rather than feeling like it was all just "setup", we have had a serious undertaking that ends in (I won't tell you, not even with a spoiler tag.) Like book #1, this has a tighter structure to it that keeps your interest and Read when we were still wrestling for grubs... Like the 2nd book of the 1st trilogy, this book is a travelogue: there's a quest to re-create the Staff of Law and they take another boat ride. But, unlike that book, there is action (and sorrow) a-plenty in this volume. At the end, rather than feeling like it was all just "setup", we have had a serious undertaking that ends in (I won't tell you, not even with a spoiler tag.) Like book #1, this has a tighter structure to it that keeps your interest and moves the characters along. One small reminder: These books must be read in sequence. They just do not make much sense otherwise. (You could get away with skipping around in Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series and not feel completely lost or cheated. But I would never, ever recommend that for that series!)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    There is a scene where Avery outsmarts a sorcerer that sticks in my mind years later for the way different pieces came together in a dramatic showdown. This book shows more of Donaldson's world - evidencing an alternative creation story - and is more traditional fantasy adventure. There is a scene where Avery outsmarts a sorcerer that sticks in my mind years later for the way different pieces came together in a dramatic showdown. This book shows more of Donaldson's world - evidencing an alternative creation story - and is more traditional fantasy adventure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    The original anti-hero, paving the way for all those who were not good by the conventional sense.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dan Young

    This story seems to be getting better with time. Characters are developed nicely, and there are lots of them. Covenant remains a constant but his actions and character become a force of nature all to itself.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    *For those who read my reviews, I am re-using the same review for each of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I will include thoughts on all three novels in the one review. Cheers* People say, all the time, how the second installment in a trilogy is usually the best or the darkest of the three. Donaldson did the "darker" bit in The Illearth War (Book 2 of the first Chronicles). But his second trilogy managed the same thing. Everything that was awesome about The Land in the first trilogy is *For those who read my reviews, I am re-using the same review for each of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I will include thoughts on all three novels in the one review. Cheers* People say, all the time, how the second installment in a trilogy is usually the best or the darkest of the three. Donaldson did the "darker" bit in The Illearth War (Book 2 of the first Chronicles). But his second trilogy managed the same thing. Everything that was awesome about The Land in the first trilogy is corrupted and lost in the second. Even Thomas Covenant seems darker (if that's even possible; I mean, hell, his first reaction to The Land was to rape a 16-year-old). Anyway, The Second Chronicles are darker. Things have gone bad. Thousands of years have passed. My first reaction was a narrow-eyed skepticism. I picked up The Wounded Land expecting more of what I'd gotten from the first series, but I immediately saw I would not be getting that. Not exactly, anyway. But as I read on, I found the good things were still there, just as in the story. There were still good people. The things that made The Land magical and fantastical were still there; they were just hidden, buried. I kept reading. I also didn't like Linden Avery very much. Again, this was because I wanted more of the first series, and she felt like an intruder, a tourist claiming a more personal connection to something I saw as mine. I know, I'm a weirdo. But she grew on me. It really didn't take long until I was hooked into the new series as deeply as the first. I probably make it sound like I hated the first book, but I totally didn't. The One Tree might just be my favorite of all 6 (9, I guess, now). I absolutely loved the ship, the traveling, the visiting different places and meeting new and strange friends and enemies (probably why I liked Star Trek, too). I loved Nom. You probably weren't really meant to, but I found the Sandgorgon to be totally badass, with the no-hands and the backwards knees and the unstoppable-ness. His fight with the Haruchai was probably one of the most gripping fight scenes I've read. And Pitchwife was like Foamfollower only even more endearing for his disability and un-Giantness, which made him all the more Giant-like in the end. The final novel of the trilogy made me anxious. Not knowing there would be a third trilogy, I saw this as THE FINAL NOVEL, and I knew the story would have to be given a conclusion. Even at that age, I had learned enough to know most great series do not end well. That is to say, the ending given them does not satisfy. I was wrong, in this case (I've been wrong specifically in this sense several times, but this may have been the first). The story ended in exactly the way it needed to, and I was left feeling vindicated, satisfied, lost, sad, and even a little bit healed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Saga

    Thomas Covenant is seeking for the One Tree to forge a new Staff of Law in order to free the Land from the clutches of the Sunbane and defeat Lord Foul. I love this book to tatters. Like all the other volumes in the series, it required a re-reading round before all the layers of psychological tension could unravel from beneath the complicated language (English is not my native tongue, but I like the challenge books akin to this pose, nonetheless) and actually sink in. I'm not one hundred percent Thomas Covenant is seeking for the One Tree to forge a new Staff of Law in order to free the Land from the clutches of the Sunbane and defeat Lord Foul. I love this book to tatters. Like all the other volumes in the series, it required a re-reading round before all the layers of psychological tension could unravel from beneath the complicated language (English is not my native tongue, but I like the challenge books akin to this pose, nonetheless) and actually sink in. I'm not one hundred percent sure about what strikes me so much in this particular novel, but it just might be the fact that it's marginally lighter in tone after the ponderous, despair-ridden The Wounded Land, and contains a genuinely interesting supporting cast. As usual, SRD's storytelling remains unpredictable, building up tension until the last moment, which is why the adventure and suspense from the realm of the Elohim to Kasreyn's oppressive tower to the bleak, sepulchral Isle of the One Tree keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. Nothing is ever certain, the often desperate choices of the characters can lead to a variety of consequences, and nobody becomes a stereotypical hero. The main character, Thomas Covenant, who in the First Chronicles effed everything up with his selfish and craven attitude, however, redeems himself considerably during the 2nd Chronicles' storyline. This brings us back to the characters. More than anything, the whole series is a psychological struggle happening beneath the skin rather than one's trope-driven fantasy swarming with dragons and magical swords. This, and the very humane flaws plaguing just about everyone, makes the cast feel so real one can almost touch them. This book also features probably one of the sweetest romantic couples I've come across in fantasy for a while, namely the Giantess First of the Search and her crippled, yet brave soulmate. I'm not interested in traditional romance stories and *never* immerse in something in the lines of Nora Roberts unless it's for snark, but this just turns me into a puddle of pink goo. Probably it's due to the uncommon, slightly beauty & the beast -type flavor, the defying of certain gender roles (the guy serves as the wise, cheerful source of warmth able to soften the First's stern nature), and the fact that he's treated as a role model despite his handicaps and deformity. Also, poor, poor Honninscrave. Needless to say I cried all through the last two chapters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    When I was about 16 I saw this book in the local library and thought it sounded wonderful, but then realised it was part 2 of a trilogy, and THEN realised this was the SECOND trilogy of a pair. I like a challenge, and I like big books and series, so a little later I bought and read all 6 books in about a month or so. That 2400+ pages surpassed even my enjoyment of Lord of the Rings. Ah! Now I realise the book I'd MOST like to see as a film would be one of these (or all of them). That would be a mi When I was about 16 I saw this book in the local library and thought it sounded wonderful, but then realised it was part 2 of a trilogy, and THEN realised this was the SECOND trilogy of a pair. I like a challenge, and I like big books and series, so a little later I bought and read all 6 books in about a month or so. That 2400+ pages surpassed even my enjoyment of Lord of the Rings. Ah! Now I realise the book I'd MOST like to see as a film would be one of these (or all of them). That would be a mighty work indeed. I might choose Lord Foul's Bane for that one, as it is the first, or White Gold Wielder (which follows the One Tree), as that might refer to more characters. Back to the story - it's a bit like Voyage of the Dawn Treader for adults; as the whole series is a bit like Lord of the Rings for realists. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read this again... Task 30.10 completed :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Really like this series. Great book. Exciting, keeps your interest. Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery begin their search for the One Tree that is to be the salvation of the Land. Only he could find the answer and forge a new Staff of Law�but fate decreed that the journey was to be long, the quest arduous, and quite possibly a failure....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steven Meyers

    It’s important to read the first book ‘The Wounded Land’ before beginning ‘The One Tree,’ so you can truly understand what is motivating the protagonists in their perilous journey. Linden Avery takes center stage in the second installment due to Thomas Covenant being incapacitated by malicious means. Thrust into the lead role sets up some interesting dynamics for Avery. It helps that Mr. Donaldson takes time to explain some of her traumatic childhood that both help and hurt Avery’s efforts. The It’s important to read the first book ‘The Wounded Land’ before beginning ‘The One Tree,’ so you can truly understand what is motivating the protagonists in their perilous journey. Linden Avery takes center stage in the second installment due to Thomas Covenant being incapacitated by malicious means. Thrust into the lead role sets up some interesting dynamics for Avery. It helps that Mr. Donaldson takes time to explain some of her traumatic childhood that both help and hurt Avery’s efforts. The two protagonists, Avery and Covenant, are seduced as well as repulsed because they inherited powers they did not ask to have. Their reactions appear realistic, considering it is a world where magic and fairy-tale-like entities are common. The author digs deeper into the nature of power in various forms. Tyranny, deception, the nature of evil, and arrogance are addressed. Despite a person’s best intentions, too much power can corrupt someone. The second novel revolves around Covenant’s, Avery’s, and their companions’ quest to make a new Staff of Law to combat Lord Foul. For the first time in the series, it involves adventures beyond the Land. Aided by a seafaring good-natured crew of giants and a handful of bodyguards known as the Haruchai, the group travels the seas in search of “The One Tree” so as to make a new Staff of Law in an effort to restore balance in the Land. Beyond many otherworldly threats they also have to worry about Ravers who are soul-inhabiting demons working for uber-reprobate Lord Foul. I lost count how many times the giants and the Haruchai pulled Covenant’s and Avery’s chestnuts out of the fire. They can’t seem to meet anyone during their quest for the One Tree who does not have sinister ulterior motives, yet the group continues to recklessly forge ahead after each encounter. The story also includes a teensy bit of profanity, a helpful glossary of Land words, and two maps. ‘The One Tree’ ends with many issues unresolved and if you are looking for closure, you’ll need to read the final installment ‘White Gold Wielder.’ Mark Twain once said, “Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” ‘The One Tree’ is about Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery confronting their fears and trying to do what’s right. There is difficulty in them making decisions because, like life, much is clouded in grey areas, and/or not having enough information. Their moral quandaries will be appreciated by thoughtful readers of the Thomas Covenant trilogy and probably not so much by people just wanting a superficial adventure story. Keep a dictionary handy. Mr. Donaldson is big on using obscure words. It is an entertaining fantasy novel but as scientifically plausible as Oreo cookies naturally evolving into a flying pig.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tony Calder

    Bleak. I almost feel as though I could stop my review there, but I do have more to say. Donaldson's world-building remains excellent and his characters are well-developed and strongly fleshed-out. But it is those same characters who are the main reason for the 2 stars I am giving this book. The first trilogy is renowned for having a main character who is extremely difficult to like. The first book of this second trilogy carries on in the same vane, although Covenant has found some level of redempt Bleak. I almost feel as though I could stop my review there, but I do have more to say. Donaldson's world-building remains excellent and his characters are well-developed and strongly fleshed-out. But it is those same characters who are the main reason for the 2 stars I am giving this book. The first trilogy is renowned for having a main character who is extremely difficult to like. The first book of this second trilogy carries on in the same vane, although Covenant has found some level of redemption, and the newly-introduced Linden Avery is still becoming known to the reader. In this middle volume of the second trilogy, she takes over as the primary protagonist, and all of the things that people complained about with respect to Covenant in the first trilogy are amplified here. Linden exhibits a level of self-loathing which outstrips Covenant's by an order of magnitude (if not more). Yes, she has had some traumatic things happen to her, but she seems to have made no attempt in her life to overcome them. Having the main character be so thoroughly unlikable makes this a very difficult book to read. Added to that - the book is too long for the story it tells. Nearly 500 pages for (view spoiler)[a quest that is ultimately unsuccessful (hide spoiler)] just adds a further hurdle for the reader to overcome. It is almost as though Donaldson is putting these obstacles in the way of the reader's enjoyment - as though one has to suffer for the privilege of reading these books. That is not why I choose to read. I have been rereading the first two trilogies in preparation for reading the final four books (which I have had for quite a while, but not begun) and I will continue with that plan, but I feel it is time for a palate-cleansing break of a lighter book (or two) before I continue along this journey.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    The One Tree is unlike anything else in the Covenant series to date. It continues directly on from the first book of the Second Chronicles, and acts as a classic middle volume in a trilogy, with all of the tragedy and despair that implies. (Think: The Empire Strikes Back). It also moves further away from Covenant than we ever have before, with the vast majority of the chapters being from Linden's point-of-view. Finally, it leaves "The Land" for the first time ever, visiting more distant locales. The One Tree is unlike anything else in the Covenant series to date. It continues directly on from the first book of the Second Chronicles, and acts as a classic middle volume in a trilogy, with all of the tragedy and despair that implies. (Think: The Empire Strikes Back). It also moves further away from Covenant than we ever have before, with the vast majority of the chapters being from Linden's point-of-view. Finally, it leaves "The Land" for the first time ever, visiting more distant locales. That makes this The Land's Voyage of the Dawn Treader, a picaresque novel of nautical travels. But, unlike most in the genre, Donaldson concentrates on just a few locales: the Land of the Elohim (sort of angels), Bhrathairain (An Arabic-themed city), and the Isle of the One Tree. This helps to give the novel strong focus (well, three strong foci), while still maintaining the huge variety allowed by picaresque naval travels. Each of the three mini-stories in The One Tree is intriguing and interesting, tense and exciting. And, when you put them together, you get a strong middle of the story, about how things go badly wrong and perhaps reach their lowest point before ... White Gold Wielder.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    It's a common movie series cliche in the fantasy/sci fi world that each successive installment gets "darker". Donaldson's first four books do follow that trend, but it was almost pitch black to begin with. The fifth, this traumatising experience, plunges into a veritable black hole. More accurately put, The One Tree doesn't just get "darker", it continues the tendency of the the series to distance itself more and more from worldy affairs and delve deeper and deeper into the hearts and minds of i It's a common movie series cliche in the fantasy/sci fi world that each successive installment gets "darker". Donaldson's first four books do follow that trend, but it was almost pitch black to begin with. The fifth, this traumatising experience, plunges into a veritable black hole. More accurately put, The One Tree doesn't just get "darker", it continues the tendency of the the series to distance itself more and more from worldy affairs and delve deeper and deeper into the hearts and minds of its two heroes/victims, Convenant and Linden, and the inner workings of those two painstakingly sculpted characters is not a pleasant place to be. It makes for very uncomfortable reading. Essentially, with Convenant out cold, out of his mind, in various ways during the novel, the One Tree is a switch in focus to Linden and her struggles with, among other things, her desire for power (to heal/to survive/to lash out) articulating her past and her guilt, the balance between peacefully passivity and violent action, and her painful love/need for Convenant. Those things are all linked - he has power and she can claim power over him, to love him she must open up her past to him, to save him she must risk exposing herself to power, to not take action risks hurting others. Donaldson doesn't let up. The tension in this book, the nervewracking deliberations and constant need for sacrifice and admittance of guilt exhaust you even before the explosive hopelessness of the heavily prophesised climax on the isle of the One Tree. The plot takes a Odessey-like form, a voyage into unknown lands, battling storms, sea creatures and sirens, finding mysterious islands with mysterious inhabitants whose intentions are so indecipherable that at times it feels like Convenant himself doesn't know who's on whose side. The previous books venom again provides a lot of the dramatic moments, Foul's insidious way of tapping into Convenant's innate power and tempting it into use. The first major event is on the fairy island of the Elohim, the second of the balantly Eastern tinged sultanate of Bhrathairealm - both are lengthy, taking up most of the book, are full of character development and plenty of action told in Donaldson's usual flamboyant, slightly surreal way, but in the grand scheme of things seem a little forced and irrelevant. Like its predecessor, The One Tree occasionally suffers from being a little too placed on a knife edge, too permanantly near to disaster. It all serves as a huge, action-packed lead up to the two major climaxes of the novel - Linden and Convenant's love and the discovery of the One Tree. The main protagonists love is fiercely linked to Linden's telling of her past traumas and Donaldon's really turns off the lights for those revelations, scenes of grusome depression and gore that Lovecraft or King would be proud of. Through all this patient build up of dark emotion, the eventual love scene is incredibly powerful, not romantic at all, more a collapsing into each other, an intense expression of need and dependence. Combined with Linden's final, conflagratrive decision at the book's climax, Donaldson succeeds in creating one of the most believable, plot-necessary, tragic loves in the fantasy genre. The final arrival at the One Tree has its moments but it is clear Donaldson has gone beyond the physical and concrete and into something cosmic and meta - the whole of creation is called into question, hope is shattered and pieced back together, Convenant's identity and existance are taken to the brink and barely pulled away in time, all the patiently built up plot tension, all his noble ideas, come crashing down leaving a huge void in the space entitled "what happens next?". Donaldson, it feels, has abandoned the beauty and the reality of his Land in order to tear apart the psych of his beaten anti-hero and leave him bare. The question now seems to be, how much more can he take? One of the most emotionally draining and disturbing fantasy novels out there, one that leaves you less than content but still totally engaged. 6

  15. 5 out of 5

    Layne

    The Thomas Covenant books are great yet distressing. Why are they great? Because I love a never ending story. I love to know the history of each character and how they were introduced and what they contributed to the story. I love the generational progression. That is fascinating. The writer has quite the imagination and style. I have to refer to the glossary often to remind me of the references throughout the series (I ordered the ebooks). This is why this series distressing? The author pulls yo The Thomas Covenant books are great yet distressing. Why are they great? Because I love a never ending story. I love to know the history of each character and how they were introduced and what they contributed to the story. I love the generational progression. That is fascinating. The writer has quite the imagination and style. I have to refer to the glossary often to remind me of the references throughout the series (I ordered the ebooks). This is why this series distressing? The author pulls you in and the characters are full of exciting adventure yet despairingly negative, borderline depressing. The seemingly good guys never get a break or if they do it's fleeting and the odds are mounting against them again. The writer laboriously takes you through the blow by blow account of every hill and every dell and the dispositions, emotional and physical health of each character which is also a bit laborious. So... on I read to see the resolve, book after book after book. And yes there are a few triumphs but short lived and then it is realized that the victory was not exactly a victory but maybe something else... the suspense is killing me and that is why I am just about to finish book 8 and begin book 9 of this epic adventure.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Selmek

    Having completed the second book in the second trilogy, I can definitely say I liked the first one better. In the first trilogy, Thomas Covenant traveled back and forth between our world and The Land between each volume, allowing the reader to see how the war with the Despiser has progressed. The second chronicles is all one sojourn in The Land that lacks for direction. I understand they had to sail to the isle of the Elohim in order to figure out the location of the One Tree. But why was this in Having completed the second book in the second trilogy, I can definitely say I liked the first one better. In the first trilogy, Thomas Covenant traveled back and forth between our world and The Land between each volume, allowing the reader to see how the war with the Despiser has progressed. The second chronicles is all one sojourn in The Land that lacks for direction. I understand they had to sail to the isle of the Elohim in order to figure out the location of the One Tree. But why was this information placed in Covenant's subconscious? I still don't entirely understand why Covenant has lost his added senses, while Linden perceives more than she wants to. Aside from the two humans, none of the other characters really stand out to me (except maybe Pitchwife). Because of all the seafaring, this book reminded me of C.S. Lewis's "Voyage of the Dawn Treador". It expands our conception of The Land and posits that it contains unrevealed realms. The party's stay in Bhrathairealm is the most interesting part of the book because it presents an objective foe, but the rest of the book sees them struggling against nameless conflicts for a goal they don't quite understand and don't really succeed in anyway. It was kind of a disappointment.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Z

    Yet again, a review of the whole trilogy rather than each individual book. No spoilers of the story variety. The gist, for those who want to skip the lengthy review: these three books are more action-packed and immediately engaging than the previous trilogy, and Donaldson continued to hold true to the strengths that made the first novels a pleasure to read. This trilogy was the better written, for me. More action packed, more events-driven and easier to get into. The horrors being wrought on the Yet again, a review of the whole trilogy rather than each individual book. No spoilers of the story variety. The gist, for those who want to skip the lengthy review: these three books are more action-packed and immediately engaging than the previous trilogy, and Donaldson continued to hold true to the strengths that made the first novels a pleasure to read. This trilogy was the better written, for me. More action packed, more events-driven and easier to get into. The horrors being wrought on the Land are a testament to Donaldson's originality, and seem worse than anything that came before. The scope of the World beyond the Land's borders is also greatly widened, introducing exotic new locales, people and races. Yet again, the wonders of the author's imagination are a pleasure to behold. Thomas Covenant is accompanied by a new protagonist, Linden Avery. Yet again, their inner conflicts have an effect on the world around them. Resolving their demons is paramount to saving the world they love.

  18. 5 out of 5

    wally

    had the hardcover of this one and this one was the last i read. i was reading them as they came out. things happen. great story. what i ought to do is start at the beginning again, with the first trilogy and go through. this one was #5, or the 2nd of the 2nd trilogy but they all featured thomas covenant. fascinating story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daragh

    The One Tree ticks along in a dramatically different vein to the previous 3 books. The Sunbane is marvellously detailed - the description of the time between The Power that Preserves and Covenant's next visit 10 years (3000 years later?!) is tackled fantastically, culminating in his explosion of wild magic mid-way through the book is unforgettable. The One Tree ticks along in a dramatically different vein to the previous 3 books. The Sunbane is marvellously detailed - the description of the time between The Power that Preserves and Covenant's next visit 10 years (3000 years later?!) is tackled fantastically, culminating in his explosion of wild magic mid-way through the book is unforgettable.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I picked this up right after reading the previous one (The Woudned Land). I think this one might be even better. It moved from just being a page turner to bringing in deeper themes of power, morality, and manipulation. I'm reading the next one now... we'll see how it stacks up. I picked this up right after reading the previous one (The Woudned Land). I think this one might be even better. It moved from just being a page turner to bringing in deeper themes of power, morality, and manipulation. I'm reading the next one now... we'll see how it stacks up.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rob Hermanowski

    Re-read this as part of my preparation for the final Covenant book publication about one year from now! This is the only book of ther series that takes us outside The Land, as Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery travel by giantship in search for the mythical One Tree to form a new Staff of Law.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Devlin

    Donaldson's unique talent for delivering fantasy in a way that's literary, quiet, and yet still very absorbing has always been a mystery to me. Donaldson's unique talent for delivering fantasy in a way that's literary, quiet, and yet still very absorbing has always been a mystery to me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    The One Tree is the second book in the second Covenant series, and is thus the 5th novel in the sequence. It is also perhaps my favorite in the entire first two series (I have not read the third series yet -- this re-read of the originals is my preparation for doing that). Unlike the other 5 books in the first two series, rather than a journey through the Land, this novel is about a sea voyage. In the previous novel, Covenant decided that he wanted to carve a new Staff of Law from The One Tree, The One Tree is the second book in the second Covenant series, and is thus the 5th novel in the sequence. It is also perhaps my favorite in the entire first two series (I have not read the third series yet -- this re-read of the originals is my preparation for doing that). Unlike the other 5 books in the first two series, rather than a journey through the Land, this novel is about a sea voyage. In the previous novel, Covenant decided that he wanted to carve a new Staff of Law from The One Tree, like Berek Halfhand had done thousands of years before. The One Tree, however, is far away from the Land. Covenant convinces the First of the Search to use her giantship, Starfare's Gem, to take him to the One Tree. Not knowing where the Tree may be, the company chooses first to voyage to the land of the Elohim, a mystical people who have great knowledge and may be able to help them. The journey in this story takes the characters far beyond the familiar borders of the Land and away from the perils of the Sunbane, into places we have never before seen in a Covenant story. They encounter strange lands and even more unusual beings. They contend with magic born of sources other than Earthpower, such as gold-wrought Thaumaturgy. They meet new races of people, such as the Bhrathair. And along the way Linen and Covenant, the two people from our world, learn more about what is behind the Sunbane and what can, and cannot, be done to stop it. As with the other novels, I can't be too specific without giving away too many details, but I will provide three reasons why this novel stands out as one of my favorites in the entire series. First, for reasons I can't go into here, the point-of-view character in this story is Linden Avery, rather than Covenant, for all but a handful of chapters. It was this novel which, as I mentioned in my review of book 4, caused me to irately claim that this series should be called "The Chronicles of Linden Avery the Chosen." I was unhappy about it then; I could not be more thrilled now. Because over the years, Linden has become one of my all-time favorite characters in fiction, along with being my favorite character in the Covenant series. There is a tremendous amount of character development for her here, and I enjoy all of it. She learns a great deal about how her special Health powers work, and uses them in interesting ways. And yet she remains flawed, human, and sympathetic (far more so than Covenant was in the first series). Second, I love the supporting cast of this novel because many of them are Giants. And, like Thomas Covenant, I adore Giants. In this novel are Giants to rival Saltheart Foamfollower in my heart, including Pitchwife (who I like to imagine would have been best friends with Foamfollower had the two ever met), the First, Grimmand Honninscrave, Cable Seadreamer, Heft Galewrath, Sevinhand Anchormaster, and Mistweave. I'm particularly fond of Pitchwife and the First, and they are major players throughout the novel. And so one of my reasons for adoring this novel is the Giants and the giantship. Finally, there is a very great amount of world-building and explanation of how the world of Covenant works -- its origins, its functions, where Earthpower comes from, and the like. Not all is explained here, of course -- there is still another novel to go before the original series ends, and Donaldson wisely holds things back to surprise the reader later. But enough is revealed here that you get a good picture of how this world came to be, and how it could possibly end if Covenant and his friends are not careful. I will say no more about the story, since I don't want to give anything else away. What I have written here should not spoil things for anyone. If you've made it this far into the Covenant series, then all I can say is keep going with this novel -- you may, like me, find it to be your favorite.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    As I've noted in my earlier reviews of this series, these books had a profound effect on me when I was a teenager. I was not at all sure how they would hold up, many decades later. Some have definitely been more resonant for me than the others. The One Tree still packs a significant emotional and psychological punch. Having left the Land in the clutches of the Clave and Lord Foul's nefarious Sunbane, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery set out on the giant ship Starfare's Gem, in search of the One T As I've noted in my earlier reviews of this series, these books had a profound effect on me when I was a teenager. I was not at all sure how they would hold up, many decades later. Some have definitely been more resonant for me than the others. The One Tree still packs a significant emotional and psychological punch. Having left the Land in the clutches of the Clave and Lord Foul's nefarious Sunbane, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery set out on the giant ship Starfare's Gem, in search of the One Tree. They hope to fashion a new Staff of Law, to fight Foul and bring order back to the Land. But the journey is fraught with peril. Taking the form of an epic quest story, the band of travelers visit other places, far off the map of the Land, meeting extraordinary creatures and impossible challenges. The novel has three major sections. In the first, the company visit the Elohim, a strange race of beings who represent Earthpower incarnate. These semi-hostile beings hold the key to finding the One Tree. In the second, and longest section, the giant's dromond visits Bhraithairealm, a harbor city-state ruled by an effete but ineffectual monarch, who is controlled by an evil magician. The adventures the party face in Bhraithairealm are unlike anything else in the series, leading to a dark and twisting apocalypse. And in the final section of the novel, the company finally finds the island of the One Tree, a journey it is best if I tell you nothing about. Donaldson still suffers from a love of arcane language, using words that cause even the most dedicated logophile to scramble for a dictionary. And the unremitting grimness of these books has not let up; just when things can't get worse, they get worse. We learn more about Avery's back-story in this one too, and it is bleak, bleak, bleak . . . it's almost as though Donaldson was given a writing prompt: "Write a character who has the worst possible family history you can imagine." So why did this book affect me more than the previous novels? There are at least two reasons, I think. First, the expansion of the landscape and the concurrent expansion of the mythology are excellent. Donaldson starts to give us a glimpse of his world's creation story, and brings in other elements of the Land's history, beyond what he touched in the original trilogy. We see how other races and even species are interconnected with the Land, even though they dwell beyond its borders. This broader palette is fascinating and shows that Donaldson's powers of creativity are not merely derivative, but truly original. Second, I found the ending incredibly absorbing. This book does not end the way most other epic quest fantasy novels do, and it comes as a shock. I don't want to offer spoilers, but this gut-wrenching finale offers psychological and emotional insights that traditional high fantasy frequently misses. And it did so 40 years ago. Say what you want about Donaldson, but when he wrote these books, he really opened up some new doors in the world of high fantasy. Even if his writing (or his anti-heroes) aren't your cup of tea, his originality and creativity are worth celebrating.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Wadsworth

    I don't really know how to review this. It is the second chronicle of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever. Thomas has come back to The Land to discover that while ten years have passed for him, thousands have passed in the Land (think Narnia). In that time, Lord Foul has re-emerged from wherever Covenant sent him at the end of the first Chronicles, and is attacking the Land with the Sunbane, which send plagues of drought, flood, famine etc across The Land on an almost weekly bas I don't really know how to review this. It is the second chronicle of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever. Thomas has come back to The Land to discover that while ten years have passed for him, thousands have passed in the Land (think Narnia). In that time, Lord Foul has re-emerged from wherever Covenant sent him at the end of the first Chronicles, and is attacking the Land with the Sunbane, which send plagues of drought, flood, famine etc across The Land on an almost weekly basis. People can keep some semblance of control by sacrificing people to the Sunbane - it takes their blood and leaves them alone. To defeat Foul again and restore the Land, Covenant needs the Staff of Law. Except he destroyed the Staff at the end of the First Chronicles, in destroying Foul. So, he sets off across the Land with his companion, Linden Avery, a doctor who has accidentally come with him from our world, to the sea to find the Giants to help him find the One Tree to make another Staff of Law. The story then follows their quest across the seas, via the Elohim who are righteous smug bastards who know everything, won't explain anything, and take Covenant's senses so he can't do anything. They have to stop to refuel at Bhrathair, where they are invited to be guests of the ghaddi, who is kind of like a king, but he is really just a puppet. Crisis befalls them, they barely escape with their lives (indeed, some of them don't), and they head towards the One Tree. The story had me utterly gripped, I love stories about and aboard boats, and this was an exciting, heart-wrenching tale. I can't really explain too much about it as it is the second of three books, and I'd give too much away! Thomas Covenant is the absolute anti-hero - he is miserable and unwilling and can be thoroughly nasty. Linden Avery is an absolute hero, but she is scared and doesn't understand anything that is going on. She just wants to cling to Covenant. She is shaped by her appalling childhood and seems to accept that these are bad things that happen to her. She carries the health sight, and is able to heal people by "going into" them and setting things right - not unlike Fitz in the Robin Hobb books. I loved this book, sad though it was in places. So exciting, so moving, and the writing at times is out of this world (literally!). 5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allegra Gulino

    There were some shattering disappointments for the characters in this volume, but my favorite part was their time in the desert country. No spoilers, but that was a very interesting and well thought out world. It got political and that was a good thing. I must confess at this point in the series, I was getting tired of certain habits of the writing, lots of "like a..." are used and vocabulary words like cerements, moil, inanition, orbs (for eyes) and more. It got to the point where I was starting There were some shattering disappointments for the characters in this volume, but my favorite part was their time in the desert country. No spoilers, but that was a very interesting and well thought out world. It got political and that was a good thing. I must confess at this point in the series, I was getting tired of certain habits of the writing, lots of "like a..." are used and vocabulary words like cerements, moil, inanition, orbs (for eyes) and more. It got to the point where I was starting to guess which highfalutin word would describe the situation, and I was right every time. The worst thing about these habits is that they don't really add to the vividness of the scene, nor to the readers' understanding. Another problem for me is I just don't like Linden Avery. Her trauma -- which is very substantial has made her so brittle, bitter and frozen. It's kind of unbearable, especially when she complains that she doesn't have power, yet is able to heal people and sense things that she warns the company about -- that is a form a power and it's very useful. Still, I was glad that, at least we didn't have to go to and fro from the Land to the regular world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erik Prime

    A welcome change of pace in the long-running series. A consortium of Quest-bound humans and Giants undertake a voyage to the end of the world in their granite-hulled ship named the Starfare’s Gem. They are in search of "The One Tree," a shrubbery of immense mystical powers located on an otherworldly island in a forgotten sea. In an early chapter, the ship is caught in the windless doldrums and cannot find a headwind, so the giants lasso a wire cable onto a monstrous sea snake called a Nicor. Thi A welcome change of pace in the long-running series. A consortium of Quest-bound humans and Giants undertake a voyage to the end of the world in their granite-hulled ship named the Starfare’s Gem. They are in search of "The One Tree," a shrubbery of immense mystical powers located on an otherworldly island in a forgotten sea. In an early chapter, the ship is caught in the windless doldrums and cannot find a headwind, so the giants lasso a wire cable onto a monstrous sea snake called a Nicor. This scene is suspiciously similar to the sandworm riders in Frank Herbert’s Dune series, published two decades prior. One more disconcerting note: In book one, a giant named Saltheart Foamfollower propels a stone skiff upriver solely using his magical mental powers. However, in this volume the giant’s ship is stuck in the doldrums for many days, and this super power which gives them the ability to propel rock through water is never even mentioned.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    This book is, in my opinion, quite possibly the strongest in the two original trilogies. I felt that way when I read it decades ago, and, after finishing it in the middle of the night last night, I still feel the same way. It will definitely be worth starting at the beginning ("Lord Foul's Bane"), though, and working your way up to this one. You need to get to know the characters and their earlier challenges and successes and failures in order for this one to pay off the way it does. It's defini This book is, in my opinion, quite possibly the strongest in the two original trilogies. I felt that way when I read it decades ago, and, after finishing it in the middle of the night last night, I still feel the same way. It will definitely be worth starting at the beginning ("Lord Foul's Bane"), though, and working your way up to this one. You need to get to know the characters and their earlier challenges and successes and failures in order for this one to pay off the way it does. It's definitely not a "stand-alone" sort of story. Even though it is the second of three (or the fifth of six, if you look at it that way), and even though the middle book of many trilogies sometimes seems like a let-down, this one is a strong and satisfying work. I highly recommend it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Re-read. This feels more like an incomplete, because it's less of an ending than the previous 4 books. I'm ready to jump right to White Gold Wielder. So many great scenes that I remember vividly from the last time I read it years and years ago. (A few scenes I thought were here but must be in the next one). This is Donaldson letting his imagination go with some great world-building. There's still all his typical stuff (interesting word choice, pages of just internal conversations with TC and LA, C Re-read. This feels more like an incomplete, because it's less of an ending than the previous 4 books. I'm ready to jump right to White Gold Wielder. So many great scenes that I remember vividly from the last time I read it years and years ago. (A few scenes I thought were here but must be in the next one). This is Donaldson letting his imagination go with some great world-building. There's still all his typical stuff (interesting word choice, pages of just internal conversations with TC and LA, Covenant being annoying) but I feel it's the most approachable because of the cool happening around/to the characters. I remember not being as big a fan of the WGW. Hopefully, that won't be true this time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan O'Brien

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Just an awesome book. One of my favorites in the series. I recall the shock of when Covenant said "Nom" after emerging from his coma-like state in the dungeon. Incredibly clever of Donaldson. And I still crack up about Vain. I love his passivity and the mystery surrounding his character. This is a great book of fantasy. Donaldson is at the height of his powers in this book. We grow in our love for this group of giants in this book significantly. He develops the Haruchai and Vain and Findail well Just an awesome book. One of my favorites in the series. I recall the shock of when Covenant said "Nom" after emerging from his coma-like state in the dungeon. Incredibly clever of Donaldson. And I still crack up about Vain. I love his passivity and the mystery surrounding his character. This is a great book of fantasy. Donaldson is at the height of his powers in this book. We grow in our love for this group of giants in this book significantly. He develops the Haruchai and Vain and Findail well here also, and we get to see Linden and Covenant blossom in their relationship. Overall, a real triumph of the craft.

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