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The Earthsea Quartet (Roc) [Paperback]

Ursula Le Guin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 28 Oct 1993 --  
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Book Description

28 Oct 1993 Roc

A superb four-part fantasy, comparable with the work of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the Earthsea books follow the fortunes of the wizard Ged from his childhood to an age where magic is giving way to evil.

As a young dragonlord, Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and helps the High Priestess Tenar escape from the labyrinth of darkness. But as the years pass, true magic and ancient ways are forced to submit to the powers of evil and death …


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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Oct 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140154272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140154276
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,294 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

About the Author

Ursula Le Guin was born in Berkley, California, in 1929, daughter of the writer Theodora Krober and the anthropologist Alfred Krober. Her published work includes twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, three collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation. Among her novels are the The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, both winners of the Nebula and Hugo awards, Always Coming Home, winner of the 1985 Kafka Award, and Four Ways to Forgiveness. In 2009 she won her sixth Nebula award for Powers. Penguin/Puffin published the first volume of the Earthsea books, A Wizard of Earthsea, in 1971. The Earthsea books have been translated into many languages around the world and are global bestsellers.

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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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
On every level that I have known for the last 25 years the original triolgy have captured me. I find more every time I read them and the beauty of the language in it's concise but pertinate phrasing is beyond anything I could hope to achieve. As a child I was Sparrowhawk, temper and all. As a young man I too questioned with the prince and found answers in Ged's replies and reasoning. Even now I escape into a world that sometimes seems to make more sense than our own. I loved the dual options for the ending of "The farthest shore". I find that Tehanu shows the 20 year gap between it and it's predcessor but it does reunite Tenar of the ring and Ged in a realistic if not a satisfying way. Prehaps I'm still the child longing for that world of power, magic and dragons. But for everything this series has given me over the years Thankyou ULG.
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123 of 129 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic trilogy that didn't need a fourth book 14 Jun 2004
By Paul Lessingham VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
'The Earthsea Quartet' is really an original trilogy from the early 1970s with a sequal, 'Tehanu', published in 1990. Unfortunately, Le Guin's philosophical interests had shifted quite dramatically in the meantime, and the fourth book doesn't sit too well alongside the others.
The world of the original trilogy is based around the relationship between language and reality (anyone with an interest in literary theory will soon see why Fredric Jameson became interested in Le Guin's work). Everything and everyone has a true name, hidden from all but the most trusted because the possession of the individual's name brings power over them. The language of true names is that of creation and is the source of magical power.
The first novel, 'A Wizard of Earthsea', is a satisfying adventure that focuses upon the youthful career of Ged, the future Archmage of Earthsea. It's a fairly conventional doppleganger story in the tradition of 'Faust' and 'Jekyll & Hyde', though it has enough battles, magic and dragons to keep the story moving along.
The trilogy really takes off in 'The Tombs of Atuan'. Much darker than the first book, this is an adventure of Ged's adult life seen through the eyes of Arha, a young priestess of dark powers. The philosophy starts to become more complex here as Le Guin explores the relationship between faith and power.
'The Farthest Shore' is, for me, the high point of the series. Magic is disappearing from Earthsea and Ged, now Archmage, must find out why. The story explores the longing for immortality and the need for death in order to bring meaning to life. There is still plenty of action, but this is Le Guin at her thought-provoking best.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wizardly adventures for children or adults 10 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
Many critics of this book would like you to believe that the Earthsea novels are childrens books. I first read them as a young child and I enjoyed them very much. It was only in later years that I realised what the word "allegory" meant...
Ged is a wizard in the island archapelago of Earthsea, a land populated by strange magic and dragons just as much as it is by humans. Blessed by strange and powerful magics, he is sent to the island school of Roke where he unleashes some of the most powerful magic ever to scar the face of the earth. He has been taught that magic is a balance which must be maintained.
The first novel in the book deals with Ged's desire to be a powerful magician. In the end he has to choose where the worst evil lies, within himself or within his creations. During the course of the remaining novels, Ged uses less and less magic and eventually in old age he begins to realise the true enlightenment of the dragons.
The fourth book is without a doubt the worst in this quartet. It changes the focus away from Ged, much to the detriment of the story and the series as a whole.
The other books are delightful and should please anyone with an interest in fantasy books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter with real Class 17 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you're an adult and you enjoy Harry Potter, here's a book you can really taste! The story could have been the inspiration for Harry's tales but the writing contains less comedy and more beauty. You'll wish you could witness the majesty of a dragon for yourself and you'll perhaps be amazed at the vulnerability as well as the sheer power of the wizards. You could live in this book...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Richly Imagined Universe 14 May 2004
Format:Paperback
Reading the Earthsea Trilogy was one of the highlights of my childhood. Discovering that it had become the Earthsea Quartet and now Quintet is one of the highlights of life today. Le Guin is the daughter of anthropologists and through all her fiction there is a deep, ingrained understanding of societies work and how they are built and evolve (or disintegrate). It's very interesting to see how her own interests have matured and deepened over the decades of writing this series - the latest Earthsea Title - The Other Wind is a fabulous rendition of concerns about gender/sexism/prejudice and the very nature of things. BUT that's for the grown ups, what really matters is that underneath all her incisive intelligence Ursula Le Guin tells a gripping, exciting and devastating series of stories that come at one in a rush of tight telling and delicately realised plots. She is simply one of the greatest writers for older children - or anyone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The book was damaged on arrival!
Unfortunately, this book was damaged when I opened the box. A larger box or more secure insulation may have helped.
Published 8 days ago by Courtney Hooper
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all teenagers: thoughtful quality material
Can be turgid but a great series. Good alternative to american soap style read-bites for kids. Something to get their teeth into. Entertaining for adults too. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lady Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories that quietly notch up. You wonder where it's going, then...
This is four books in one, spanning the life of a mage/wizard of Earthsea, a world on an archipelago where every person has a use name (the name they use every day) and a true name... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rearda
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just fantasy.
For some unfathomable reason Ursula Le Guin seems to be out of fashion these days. Don't let that put you off buying, and reading, this brilliant epic. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Esdien
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I liked the book very much. It was something to read whilst I stayed at my parents. A magical tale
Published 3 months ago by Marion Gibbon
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
One of those books you cant put down. Naturally written wish there were more like this pulls at your inner youth! Makes you smile and dream well. A must read for everybody
Published 6 months ago by sooz
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, especially if you've watched the film!
I first watched "Tales from Earthsea", a Ghibli film based on this quartillogy, and decided it would be good to have a look at the original work, and it doesn't disappoint. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Real writing
I would highly recommend these 4 books - they are beautifully, artfully and cleverly crafted in a way I don't think I've encountered before. Read more
Published 8 months ago by DomTurnbull
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for under 13's
My mistake! I was looking for books for a 9 year old with reading ability 3 or 4 years ahead of his age group and an interest in fantasy and magic which makes it difficult to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Christine Arthur
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Service!! ; ))
...was a very fast delivery and my item gets home in perfect conditions,...
I am very Glad to meet Puffin Books, have been a perfect choose tu have bussines
with this... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Laiho Lugo Lugo
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