Stephen R. Donaldson, creator of the fantasy classic Chroncles of Thomas Covenant series, whose last volume appeared 20 years ago, will conclude it with a final four novels, in a deal just made with Putnam. The house's editorial director, Jennifer Hershey, bought North American rights to the new quartet from agent Howard Morhaim and will publish the first of them, The Runes of Earth, next fall, with a Berkley paperback to follow in 2005. Movie rights have also been optioned by producers Marc Gordon and Peter Winther, and U.K. rights have been picked up by Orion. The initial six books in the series, published between 1977 and 1983, sold more than six million copies.