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A Wizard of Earthsea (Puffin Books) [Paperback]

Ursula Le Guin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

26 July 1973 Puffin Books

The first book of Earthsea is a tale of wizards, dragons and terrifying shadows.

The island of Gont is a land famous for wizards. Of these, some say the greatest - and surely the greatest voyager - is the man called Sparrowhawk. As a reckless, awkward boy, he discovered the great power that was in him - with terrifying consequences. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his means, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast in his land. Only he can destroy it, and the quest leads him to the farthest corner of Earthsea.

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A Wizard of Earthsea (Puffin Books) + The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Re-issue 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,714 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.


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. 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 on Sunday

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! --Daily Express

Voted number 1 of our top 10 audio book list. This is audio-book perfection; the pacing and delivery of Karen Archer is exemplary. The voices that she conjures for all all the individual characters are impressively unique and her attention to detail shines throughout this production. Craftsman and Archer are of course fortunate to have a book of the quality of Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea to work with, but they do it full justice. The tracks on the recording are split into segments of 2-3 minutes and this allows the listener to easily find where they left off. The music, by the Renaissance Players, accompanies the story well but without being intrusive. --Fantasy Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of magic and growing up 30 Jan 2003
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing book :-) 3 Oct 1999
By A Customer
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book for Any Lover of Fantasy 16 Aug 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My finding of this book occured much like Clinton Rickard's finding, but just a little different. It was assigned for my summer reading entering into the tenth grade (although I believe that it is suitable for someone entering eighth or ninth grade and anything higher than that). Guessing that it would be the harder of the two books assigned, I decided to read it first and give myself a longer time to read it. Expecting to take a few days to get through it, I planned my schedule around reading it (taking an hour out of my day is not easy). Surprisingly enough, I ended up starting *and* finishing it on the first night. A story dealing with sorcerers, wizards, mages, (clerics?), dragons, and every other amazing fantasy-style character you could imagine. Of course, you say, I could write a story that involves those characters. True. Yet when you would go to compare it to this ... it would (blatantly) suck. I find this story so involving ... so gripping (especially during the times of high suspense, when the equilibrium between the powers of the light and of the dark is shifted, and "the shadow" is inadvertently allowed into the world) that it would be virtually impossible to rip yourself back into the real world before finishing it without pondering deeply why the story took its certain course, or why the characters did what they did. (I know that sounds a bit generic, but this story is *definitely* *not* *generic*.) One of those "must-reads", I would say.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 28 Aug 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Born on an island renowned for its wizards, young Ged finds himself drawn to wizardry. Astonishingly, it all seems to come naturally, and he soon outstrips the witch who is teaching him the art. Arrogant and willful, he goes off to Roke Island to study under the greatest master wizards. His pride proves his undoing when, in an attempt to show his superiority to a rival, he summons up a shadow creature powerful beyond human understanding. Ged finishes his studies, and then must begin his career, knowing that somewhere out there the shadow is waiting for him.
Being such an old story, I did not expect to enjoy this story too much. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the story was entertaining and quite absorbing. I was fascinated to see what the nature of the shadow was, and what Ged needed to do to overcome it. I have not read any of Ursula Le Guin’s books before, but I intend to now. I recommend this book to any fantasy reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story 6 Oct 2004
The Wizard of Earthsea is an exellent book, has a great plot and is full of believable magic. Ged is an intresting character, and is enjoyable to read about. The book has a slight dark feel to it, and is well worth the read. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It felt a little distant 9 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While LeGuin's prose is beguiling and her characters believable, somehow I felt a little more removed from the scene than I like to be when I'm reading a novel. I'm not sure why that is. I would have preferred to get more deeply inside the heads of the characters than I did. Otherwise, an excellent book - I felt that things were happening even without the bloody battles and lurid affairs that so often are used in fantasy novels in place of good writing to hold the reader's interest.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully-crafted piece of fantasy 6 July 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book as a child, but have since read it and the other 3 books in the series time and again. Far from finding the character portrayal cold and distant, I idenitified very strongly with the main character Ged and found him a sympathetic and realistic character.
The story essentially develops from a horrific blunder that Ged makes through his own arrogance and pride, and his subsequent travels and trials are his attempt to atone for the wrong he has done. Le Guin is an incredibly talented writer and her descriptions of the places in the book enable you to visualise them perfectly. She also conjurs up a very real feeling of evil in the dark forces that Ged must deal with in order to heal himself. There are enough dragons and magic to keep me happy too! I love her idea that magic is not something to be used whenever you fancy, that a balance must be maintained and again this is something Ged must learn to become fully mature.
Comparisons with Tolkien are erroneous. Le Guin can stand on her own and is incomparable.
This is not just a book for kids - I suggest you read this and every other book Le Guin has ever written!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
One of the best descriptions of what "magic" really is. A pursuit of one's true and better self, discovery of one's ultimate goal.
Published 2 months ago by ALEKSEJS TRUHANS
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Amazing. i love the characters, who are all really well thought out. one of my all time favorite books. brilliant!
Published 3 months ago by sarah fox
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wizard of Earthsea
This book is great! Was recommended to me by an Uncle, and I must say it was a great read. My only complaint would be that it is not long enough!
Published 3 months ago by MR C WAKEFIELD
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
I bought this book as it was the required reading for my book group and we thought we'd move a bit out of our usual comfort zone. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dympna M. Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea that lacks in depth
A Wizard of Earthsea is a novel I put off reading for a while because when I first heard of it, it had been spoken of highly so I didn't want too high expectations when I started... Read more
Published 4 months ago by GOTTON
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wizard of Earthsea
One of Le Guin's greatest books, this is the start of what was the Earthsea trilogy, the others being The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Clare O'Beara
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable fantasy that I may have found to be great had I read it...
"A Wizard of Earthsea" is the first novel in Ursula K. Le Guin's classic YA fantasy series. This is actually a book I never managed to read as a youngster, in fact until there was... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Killie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent seminal mythic fantasy.
An established fantasy classic here, largely taken as a childrens book when first published because obviously anything with magic and dragons is for the kids, innit? Read more
Published 18 months ago by Quetzalcoatl78
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea is an example of short form fantasy that encapsulates all of my more favoured genre aesthetics - a bleak and ambiguous approach to history,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by TomCat
5.0 out of 5 stars Eight hours of pure magic, and I read it again!
I have heard of Ursula le Guin since I was very young and I saw the 'Tales from Earthsea' Ghibli film. I wanted to find out what le Guin's world was like. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Atro Merrek
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