White Gold Wielder

Front cover shows Drawing of 4 figures, 2 of which may be humans, inside a stone building
Are these humans?

I got off to a bad start with Stephen R. Donaldson’s White Gold Wielder. The condensed, all-caps type on the cover made me think the title was “White Gold Welder.”

Once inside the book, I bogged down in the author’s retrospective of his previous five Thomas Covenant novels. The first paragraph is written in past tense and the rest of the five-page retrospective in present tense, which I found disorienting.

The retrospective contains references to magic and spells and giants, which suggest a fantasy world, but the retrospective never makes clear whether the characters are humans or some fantasy species.

In Wielder proper, Donaldson has Thomas Covenant and a female character, Linden, wear jeans and flannel shirts, which makes me think they may be human. On the other hand, Covenant spends the first quarter of Wielder dozing while other characters do the hard work, so it’s possible Covenant is a mutant, possibly a congressman.

Wielder is chock-a-block with murder and mayhem, particularly assaults on English grammar.

Donaldson’s pronoun references don’t just squint: They turn a blind eye.

And his paragraphs are full of non-sentences such as, “To the scream which had nearly torn out his heart when Linden told him the truth of the venom of the Worm.”

I’ll tell you the truth of the venom of the reviewer: White Gold Wielder is not worth reading unless you’ve read and loved the preceding books in the series.

White Gold Wielder
Book 3 of The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
by Stephen R. Donaldson
Ballentine Books. ©1983. 485 p.
1983 bestseller #8. My grade: D

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni


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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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