Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Modern-day leper Thomas Covenant is run down by a police car and wakes to find himself in the classic fantasy world of ‘the Land’.
Tasked with carrying a message to the Lords of the Land by the evil Lord Foul, and mistaken for the legendary Lord Berek Halfhand due to his missing fingers and white gold wedding ring, Covenant begins a journey to the capital, Revelstone.
From Revelstone, Covenant sets out with the Lords, warriors, and various inhabitants of the Land in a quest to retrieve the magical Staff of Law from Lord Foul’s accomplice Drool, residing below Mount Thunder, before he can use it to destroy the Land.
This is a typical Lord of the Rings style fantasy, with more than a few similarities to the more famous work. We have a band of questers, a magical ring, an Evil One residing at an ominously named mountain, various Orc-style monsters, etc.
The writing is above average for a fantasy novel, with a literary quality not usually found in such works, but this is offset by the most unpleasant protagonist I have ever come across. Covenant seems to spend the entire novel bemoaning how his leprosy makes him unclean and unworthy, despite the fact that the Land has cured him. He also rapes a young girl early in the story and seems to show no remorse, other than to use the event as another excuse for self-pity. Covenant is no innocent, likeable Frodo Baggins.
If you are looking for another Lord of the Rings cloned fantasy novel, and think you can stand the depressing, self-obsessed main character, then give this a go. But be warned, it would have been a two star story, but for the above average writing quality.