In THE MAN WHO FOUGHT ALONE, Brew Axbrewder is recovering from a serious wound and the end of a destructive relationship. Gradually he learns to respect them, and, believing that the murder of the Chief of Security is related to the antiques he guards, Brew accepts a position as security consultant for the martial arts center. Among the other people who insinuate themselves from FOUGHT into our own awareness is Brews former partner Ginny, also recovering from a maiming that has cost her self-confidence. There is an obvious spiritual change in the eleven years since the last Man Who book, and it most likely has to do with the author taking up the study of the Shotokan martial art form. THE MAN WHO FOUGHT ALONE is a spiritual journey that is effective partly because it happens so naturally. With his writing Donaldson can hit like a hammer any time he chooses, because he has made the situations so real, the people so deep, and the words so right. His hard science fiction series The Gap throws deeply complex characters into a five book long adrenaline ride, with plot twists that can leave a reader frozen in shock. Probably because of the connection of his name with science fiction, Donaldsons publishers went to some lengths in the 1980s to hide the authorship of the first three books of this mystery series: THE MAN WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER, THE MAN WHO RISKED HIS PARTNER, and THE MAN WHO TRIED TO GET AWAY.
Donaldson's protagonists are often filled with such self-loathing that it's hard to get to like them. Stephen Donaldson is such a talented storyteller that I suspect even his grocery list crackles with dramatic tension. Axbrewder finds himself in the middle of four martial arts schools that hate and mistrust each other with rules of honor that he just doesn't comprehend.
Being a fan of Donaldson's Gap series of Science Fiction, and the characters he brings alive, I read it immediately. Because, while Axbrewder's story is not concluded, it is certainly a great follow-through on the preceding books. Put simply, the man writes literature worth reading.
Also one spoken line about 2/3 of the way through the book got repeated when it happened and the whole mystery became completely obvious from that point on. After really disliking book 3 in the series I put off starting this title.
This character belonged in a far more streamlined story.
But these books came out in the 90s and didn't do all that well, so I'm sure that killed the series.
I don't like detective stories.
Donaldson spent the years between the ages of 3 and 16 living in India, where his father was working as an orthopaedic surgeon. PROMINENT WORK: Stephen Donaldson came to prominence in 1977 with the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, which is centred around a leper shunned by society and his trials and tribulations as his destiny unfolds. These books established Donaldson as one of the most important figures in modern fantasy fiction.