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A Wizard of Earthsea (Puffin Books) [Paperback]

Ursula Le Guin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 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.


Frequently Bought Together

A Wizard of Earthsea (Puffin Books) + The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle) + The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle)
Price For All Three: £16.50

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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 (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,519 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 alternate Paperback edition.

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. 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
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of magic and growing up 30 Jan 2003
By Martin Turner HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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4 of 4 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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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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book for everyone 27 April 1998
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good value and speedy deivery
Published 27 days ago by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars All hail Le Guin!
One of the deepest books ever
Published 3 months ago by Bennett Gaverne
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 9 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 9 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 23 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 on 5 Oct 2012 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 on 29 Sep 2012 by Quetzalcoatl78
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