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A Wizard of Earthsea (Puffin Books) Paperback – 26 Jul 1973

4.3 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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£6.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (26 July 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140304770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140304770
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ursula Le Guin has won many awards, including a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Newbery Honor and the World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Often compared to Tolkien's Middle-Earth or Lewis's Narnia, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea is a stunning fantasy world that grabs quickly at our hearts, pulling us deeply into its imaginary realms. Four books (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu) tell the whole Earthsea cycle--a tale about a reckless, awkward boy named Sparrowhawk who becomes a wizard's apprentice after the wizard reveals Sparrowhawk's true name. The boy comes to realize that his fate may be far more important than he ever dreamed possible. Le Guin challenges her readers to think about the power of language, how in the act of naming the world around us we actually create that world. Teens, especially, will be inspired by the way Le Guin allows her characters to evolve and grow into their own powers.

In this first book, A Wizard of Earthsea readers will witness Sparrowhawk's moving rite of passage--when he discovers his true name and becomes a young man. Great challenges await Sparrowhawk, including an almost deadly battle with a sinister creature, a monster that may be his own shadow. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

…The ultimate masterpiece is Craftsman Audio's recording of Ursula le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea...These are like nothing else on the market, partly because of their superior casing and track listing (so you don't lose your place), but also as stunningly good drama. A Wizard of Earthsea is a thrilling literary masterpiece which adults enjoy as much as children of 10 and over. Karen Archer's immaculate reading captures the purity of the prose, really an epic poem, telling how Ged, a young goatherd, discovers his power as a wizard. The specially-composed lute music is exactly right, and this is electrifying. (The Independent on Sunday) --The Independent, 3 December 2006

Craftsman Audio's marvellous, unabridged fantasy novel, A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula le Guin ...gets a wonderful reading from Karen Archer. Listen to something that's truly exciting! (The Daily Express) --The Daily Express, 12 January 2007 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
THE island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
A Wizard of Earthsea ranks alongside Narnia and Middle-earth as a masterpiece of other world fantasy for children. Of course, this claim is made fairly frequently and for every new fantasy writer - but A Wizard of Earthsea has stood the test of time.
Set in a world far more detailed and fully realised than Philip Pullman's or JK Rowling's, this is a powerful tale of a child - Ged - growing up to be a wizard and having to meet the consequences of a single catastrophic failure in adolescence.
The scope is enormous. It wakes feelings of majesty, power, compassion, fear, terror, joy, frustration and freedom. Dragons' lair, the sea, countless islands, twisting streets, tiny villages, the weather and the world of the dead are some of the settings.
The story, the imagination and the author's voice never falter. This is in many respects a perfect work - the same thing that Tolkien achieved in the Hobbit but failed to achieve in the Lord of the Rings, and Lewis achieved with the first six Narnia books but failed in the Last Battle.
A must read - even if you don't like fantasy.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
LeGuin creates a completely believable world reminiscient of the days when Viking pirates plundered European settlements. Earthsea is an archipelago of small and large islands, ruled by island kings threatened by seagoing marauders and the occasional dragon. It is a region still subject to the creative power which formed the islands out of the sea and still endows a few of its inhabitants with some degree of magical power. From amongst these some are drawn to train as fully fledged wizards on the island of Roke so as to serve the island kings or attend to woes of the island people.
Into this world the young rustic boy Ged is born with exceptional powers which after their initial wonder and excitement prove more of a burden to him and serve instead to separate him from his family and people. LeGuin writes an intriguing tale of the loneliness of power and the terrible consequences of our actions, even if it is unintentional or well-meaning.
LeGuin demonstrates clearly that she is one of the few writers who appreciates that power even of the magical kind has its own rules and limitations which may set us on a path which taxes us to our limits and may deprive of us of life's simpler pleasures and the gift of peace of mind. And so Ged discovers that simple pranks when dabbling in magic have fateful consequences which pursue him to the ends of his world and that a wizard is not the master of his world but very much its servant with his hands not only full but tied.
Why and how is explained carefully and ingeniously through the course of the three novels, teaching us why magicians deserve our respect and our pity.
But LeGuin can be merciful and Ged's lonely life finds unexpected peace and comfort in the concluding novel Tehanu.
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By A Customer on 3 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
To rate this book is not really a challenge.....the five crowns come up straight away. From the first page you feel for the charaters and wahnt to know more. It really is a book you cant put down. This tale of one young mans pride leading to disaster and then the rebuilding of his shattered life makes for compellig reading...once finished you maybe thrrsting for more so when you find the other three in quartet oyu'll be running to the libary to get them :-)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book two years ago when i was 22 and away on holiday with my fiance. It is one of his favourite books, and he has read the whole series time and again. I enjoy reading all types of literature, although science-fiction and fantasy books are my favourite. I have always favoured sci-fi, especially Asimov and Clarke, and my fiance fantasy, particularly Tolkien and Le Guin. This book, along with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, have made me as passionate about fantasy as sci-fi.
The book works on many levels, as a good story, as escapism, as a gateway to an incredible fantasy land, and as something far deeper. The story is thought-provoking and compelling, rich and meaningful. The book examines how we consider ourselves and the world around us. What is our real self ? What are we capable of ? How do our actions influence the world around us ? How do the names that we apply to objects affect how we view and understand them ?
A brilliant book that i would recommend to anyone of any age. I think its ridiculous that great literature such as this, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis, and so on get classified as "childrens books". They are books for everyone with imagination, who enjoys good story-telling, and interesting and unusual characters. They are tales which leave strong images for years after reading, which make you want to go back to read again and again, which offer something new each time they are read, which make you want to tell other people about them, which enthrall and inspire you, which leave you with plenty to think and talk about, and which push back the boundaries of your thoughts and imagination.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Wizard of Earthsea" was one of the first fantasy books translated into Polish language and I am sure that fantasy became popular in Poland mainly because people liked this novel and hoped for more good reading. And they were disappointed since except some LeGuin's, Tolkien`s and maybe few other authors' books fantasy is not a good literature. In the short commentary to the Polish edition of the novel S. Lem has stressed its main valor: it is self-contained and complete. You cannot find in it any unnecessary "gadget" just for amazement of the reader, everything has its meaning and role in the Earthsea world. On the other hand - you cannot remove magic from the novel; words-spells are its building material as well as they are building material of the world created. "Words are acts." The Earthsea books are often compared to Tolkien's works but they are rather complementary than concurrent. Tolkien derived his creation from the linguistic research which is mostly hidden, while LeGuin exposed the central role of language in the creation. Certainly, if you dare build the whole world of words you should know how to use them. But this is just a writer's job - and LeGuin proves she is a very good writer. There is one more good reason why "A Wizard of Earthsea" is worth reading - it is a novel about human beings and human problems, showing true meaning of choice and responsibility. It is wise and well-written, rarity in sf and fantasy literature. You may not like it but surely you will remember it.
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