The First Chronicles were published between 1977 and 1979 and comprise the following volumes:
A further short novella, Gilden-Fire, which details events that did not make it into the final edit of The Illearth War, was published later in 1981.
The story revolves around a central protagonist, namely Thomas Covenant, a divorced writer and leper, who finds himself transported to a magical realm, known as the Land. Covenant finds it nigh on impossible to believe in this wondrous place, a thing made even harder by the Land's inhabitants seeing him as the reincarnation of Berek Halfhand, one of their greatest heroes from antiquity. Covenant also wears a white gold wedding ring which is seen to be an instrument of great theurgical power - wild magic - which the Land's denizens believe will allow him to defeat Lord Foul the Despiser, a malignant and utterly evil supernatural entity that is threatening the utter destruction of all things.
The three books in this first trilogy detail separate transportations of Covenant to the Land, since at the end of each, he awakens to find himself back in the real world. The passage of time is much faster in the Land, so decades pass between each of Covenant's visits there.
- Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
- Lord Foul the Despiser.
- Saltheart Foamfollower, a giant.
- Mhoram, a Lord of the Land.
- Elena, High Lord of the Land.
- Bannor, a Bloodguard and member of the Haruchai race.
Notable Minor Characters
- The Creator, self-explanatory.
- Hile Troy, a blind military strategisat also apparently transported to the Land.
- Trell of Mithil Stonedown, one of the most lore-wise Gravelers
- Atiaran, wife of Trell
- Lena, daughter of Trell and Atiaran
- Korik, a Bloodguard and member of the Haruchai race.
- Caerroil Wildwood, a Forestal
- The Ravers, three malign spirits in the service of Lord Foul, incorporeal but capable of possessing the living forms of others.
- The Ranyhyn, great horses with innate Earthpower.