The sequel begins right where The Runes of the Earth ended. But if you are hoping for a happy reunion between Linden and Thomas Covenant and her son Jeremiah, you are obviously not familiar with Stephen R. Donaldson's work. Revelations are made that will break Linden's heart, and she must find the strength within herself to persevere.
As was the case with the previous trilogies in the Covenant saga, Donaldson's narrative conjures up vivid and magical images. Vast in scope and vision, Fatal Revenant answers many questions that were raised by its predecessor. Indeed, secrets about Kastenessen, the Durance, the skurj, the Giants, the Haruchai, Kevin's Dirt, the Elohim, Roger Covenant, the Demondim, the ur-viles, the Waynhim, and more are revealed. Add to that a journey back into time, the introduction of the Insequent -- a cabal of powerful wizards who oppose the Elohim, a showdown beneath Melenkurion Skyweir, and a lot more, and you have a very satisfying reading experience in front of you!
I truly enjoyed the manner with which the author brought Fatal Revenant to a close, even though it is more or less anti-climactic and yet another cliffhanger. I expect some readers to find this off-putting, but I thought it was apropos to end it in such a fashion.
As always, my main complaint remains that the dialogues often don't ring true. When a vulgar villager uses a vocabulary which would put an English major to shame, something's not right. So expect terms such as condign, sooth, benison, puissant/puissance, oblique/obliquely, etc, to pepper throughout the chapters of this novel.
Given the author's career, I was expecting a bit more character growth in this second volume. And yet, other than where Stave is concerned, there is not much growth to speak of. Still, since Linden and her companions find themselves into dire straits at every turn, this might explain why. . .
One facet of this novel which could have been better is the pace. Donaldson's Covenant books have never been known for their fast-paced narrative, but various portions of Fatal Revenant are sluggish and break the overall rhythm of the story.
Nevertheless, fans of the Thomas Covenant saga should love this new installment. As a matter of fact, you may pre-order this one without fear that it won't live up to your expectations.
The press release claims that the addition of a synopsis of all previous Covenant books at the start of this one makes Fatal Revenant the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, who will supposedly find the story easily accessible. This, I must say, is the biggest lie I've heard in quite a while. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are a highly imaginative saga that resounds with depth and complexity. As such, it is impossible to jump in at this point without reading the first two trilogy, not if you want to appreciate this tale for what it is -- one of the classics of the genre.
Fatal Revenant is for aficionados who crave high fantasy tales with depth and substance.
The final verdict: 8/10