Thomas Covenant had it all: a good family, his first book was a New York Times bestseller, his second book was in the progress. Suddenly he developed leprosy, his wife left him taking his son with her, people avoid any kind of contact with him turning him into a self-loathing bitter whining person. He is a leper outcast unclean.
Some high powers brought him to magic land where he is destined to either help fight Great Evil, or destroy everything - the choice is his. The problem is: he does not really believe the land is real - this is only his mind affected by his leprosy which plays tricks on him. As a result he does not really care about the Land (this is an actual name of the place) or its inhabitants. He is a leper outcast unclean.
This is my second attempt to read the series. The first time I read it, I was really put off by one of Covenant's actions in the Land - people who read this know what I talk about. Still considering the fact that a lot of people call this the best fantasy ever I was curious to finish this. Oh, in case you forgot: Thomas Covenant is a leper outcast unclean.
Now that I finally finished the book, I am underwhelmed. The most GR ratings for it are either 5 stars or 1 star. I guess I will be in minority with my rating. I found this book to be a slightly above average Tolkien clone with a very unlikable protagonist. After all, he is a leper outcast unclean.
Quite a few of the scenes can be easily attributed to Tolkien's classic with simple change of names. Thomas Covenant has a ring with unknown great powers - does this ring a bell? Sorry for a bad unintended pun. He needs to get to Rivendell , sorry I mean Lord's Keep from where The Fellowship of the Ring , sorry Quest is formed from different people. I can go on and on, but will stop here to avoid further spoilers. The only really original part is that the main character is a leper outcast unclean.
The book was probably shocking in the time it was written, but if one compares it to modern fantasy, it is very mild - with the exception of the scene I already mentioned, but even that is not THAT shocking nowadays; it just strengthens reader's revulsion for Thomas Covenant who is a leper outcast unclean.
Speaking of the main character - he is NOT an anti-hero as some readers call him. For good examples of anti-heroes, please refer to Elric by [a:Michael Moorcock|16939|Michael Moorcock|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1222901251p2/16939.jpg], Lady from [b:Chronicles of the Black Company|400924|Chronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1-3)|Glen Cook|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1317065062s/400924.jpg|390335], Gerald Tarrant from [b:Black Sun Rising|36159|Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy, #1)|C.S. Friedman|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1309209353s/36159.jpg|2498], or countless others. Thomas Covenant is just a whining jerk (and something worse which I will not mention here as it will give a spoiler). I know quite a few real-life people who had it as bad as or even worse than him, but they managed to remain good humans; Thomas Covenant is a very pitiful excuse for a human being. He is a leper outcast unclean.
Did you notice that I never mention anybody except for the main character? The reason for this is that every single person in the Land is a typical Mary Sue without any exceptions, and thus are fairly indistinguishable from each other and not very interesting, except for a leper outcast unclean character.
I thought about giving 2 star rating to this book, but the very end was interesting enough to warrant an extra star: after all, I would not read the next book in the series with the first one having just 2 stars. In this case this book was good enough for me to proceed to the next one even though Thomas Covenant is a leper outcast unclean.
One last note: if you think I overdid on the whole leper outcast unclean thing - Thomas Covenant calls himself like this at least once per page if not more often, so if somebody wants to read this for the first time, get used to it. He keeps whining like this non-stop.