After an infection causes the amputation of two of his fingers, Thomas Covenant learns he has leprosy. Once a popular author, he is now an outcast in his community. His wife Joan divorces him, taking their son Tom with her.
Lonely and bitter, he meets an old beggar who tells him to 'be true.' Confused by the odd encounter, he stumbles in front of a car and revives on a high mountain in a strange world. After an evil voice of one called Lord Foul gives him a message of doom for the lords of the land, he is led down to the village of mithil stonedown by someone named Lena.
Lena heals him with hurtloam mud. His sudden recovery is more than he can bear, and he rapes Lena. Despite this, Lena's mother atiaran agrees to lead Covenant to Revelstone, home of the lords. Covenant calls himself the unbeliever because he cannot believe in the magic of the land. He fears it is merely a delirious escape from reality.
A friendly giant, saltheart foamfollower takes Covenant to Revelstone, where he is greeted. The lords are shocked at Foul's message. A cavewight holds the precious Staff of Law which they need to fight him. They must rescue the Staff from the cavewight caverns under Mount Thunder. Covenant goes with them, guarded by the bloodguard Bannor.
At first their journey goes well, but they are attacked by the evil creatures of Lord Foul.
This report prepared by Jochannon Adar Mahler