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The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – The One Tree | Book Review

Published in 1982, this book continues the saga of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever as he travels through the land with Linden Avery. “The One Tree” is the second book of trilogy that forms Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Book Title : The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – The One Tree
Author :
Publisher : Del Rey (October 12, 1987)
Total Pages : 496
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When we left him at the end of book one “The Wounded Land“, Covenant had learnt to use the wild magic to heal rather than destroy and won the precious friendship of the Giants. He had reached a conclusion in his mind that as all the trouble of the Land seemed to have arisen from the destruction of the “Staff of Law”, the solution would be to either create or discover a new one. There was only one probable source for this – The One Tree. And so he begins the journey to the One Tree along with Linden, his Haruchai bodyguards and his Giant friends.

They leave the Land in a ship and sail towards the home of Elohim – the possessors of wisdom. The voyage is not easy though. Covenant has left the land but the poison injected in his system by the Ravers is still active and he gets frequent lapses in his health. The more worrying part is that each relapse hampers his ability to control the wild magic more and more. He is become increasingly dangerous for himself and his surrounding. Linden is still coming to terms with reality of her surroundings. She discovers that she has a knowledge and power in the Land that is unfamiliar, it leaves her frustrated that she is not able to help Covenant in any way.

The quest reaches the mythical home of Elohims. The Elohims are the Earthpower embodied – the root source of the health, vitality and beauty of the Land. But, as powerful as they are, they cannot destroy Lord Foul as they are bound by a strict code of behaviour. After their strange and mysterious tests for each member of the party, they ask Covenant and Linden to make a very difficult choice. When Covenant insists on continuing his present quest, the Elohims do reveal the secret knowledge stored in his brain which consists of the map to the One Tree.

But, the result is that Covenant becomes catatonic. He seems to have lost all his ability and power to behave as humans do. For all intents and purposes of the quest, he is a helpless child. The Elohims are not happy with the choice Covenant made, and this becomes clearer when they find that an Elohim called Findaill is accompanying them on the quest. He appears more than anything to be a final seal on their doom, but they continue the quest.

The ship encounters a severe storm, and is forced to arrive at the port city of a wealthy merchant civilisation – Bhrathair. Bhrathair is ruled by the gaddhi, Rant Absolain, however, the party soon discovers that the real ruler is a wizard named Kasreyn of the Gyre. The kingdom of Bhrathair had for the long time suffered from monsters called Sandgorgons. The Kasreyn succeeded in capturing these with his magic. His magic is powerful enough that he neither ages nor can be physically harmed in any way, thus leaving the gaddhi of Bhrathair as a puppet on his strings.

Behind all the appearance of kindness, the real aim of the Kasreyn is to get hold of Covenant’s white ring. He manipulates a feud, as a result of which two of the Haruchais are killed and he imprisons Covenant. Linden is faced with a difficult choice here. She abhors the idea of “possession” and yet the only way out of here appears to be the same. She has to enter Covenant’s conscience for him and break his paralyzed state so he can fight the Kasreyn’s hold. She makes this choice, what will be the implications – no one knows as yet. The Kasreyn always carries a creature at his back called Croyel and the only way to destroy him is to destroy Croyel (Reminds you of the endless stories with a Rakshas/demon who will put his life in a parrot and hide it in a safe place). Covenant and his friends finally manage to destroy the Kaseryn and escape Bhrathair.

They finally arrive to the island of the One Tree. The island has a Haruchai guardian – ak-haru Kenaustin Ardenol – a figure of the Haruchai legends that represents their ideal warrior. Covenant’s bodyguard Brinn takes on to fight with him and sacrifices himself in the end to be regenerated as the guardian himself. Then he takes the quest members to the One Tree. Cable Seadremer stops Covenant from using the wild magic to obtain a branch from the one Tree. But no one really understands what the mute giant is trying to communicate. He instead demonstrates it as he gets himself killed in the attempt. But, this attempt to obtain the branch from the tree has disturbed the Worm of the World’s End that resides beneath it. Covenant loses control over wild magic and a battle begins between the wild magic and the worm’s aura. Findaill warns Linden that this battle cannot be contained within the Arch of Time and will result in the distruction of the world. Linden tries to communicate with Covenant, but the struggle pushes her towards the real world, where she sees Covenant lying with the stab wound and bleeding profusely.

Is there enough time left for Covenant in the real world? Will he be able to control the power and end the struggle? What role is Linden supposed to play in the Land? The quest that has already seen so much loss and sacrifice, was it for nothing?

Answers in the third and final book of the Trilogy – White Gold Weilder…….

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