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Earthsea: The First Four Books: "A Wizard Of Earthsea"; "The Tombs of Atuan"; "The Farthest Shore"; "Tehanu" (Puffin Books) Paperback – 24 Jun 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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  • Earthsea: The First Four Books: "A Wizard Of Earthsea"; "The Tombs of Atuan"; "The Farthest Shore"; "Tehanu" (Puffin Books)
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  • The Other Wind: The Sixth Book of Earthsea: An Earthsea Novel
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  • Tales From Earthsea: Short Stories
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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; 39 edition (24 Jun. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140348034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140348033
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
I was about 12 when I first read The Wizard of Earthsea and was instantly captivated by its beautiful prose and superbly imagistic storytelling. At the same time as carrying me away into a private world of magic and other-worldly courage, Le Guin's Earthsea stories made me yearn to be a writer myself, to cast those same awe-inspiring spells over a reader. Perhaps because of that, I did in fact become a novelist, though not for many years later.
Novels like these are not simply a question of memorable characters and strong plot. They represent a door into another world for those lucky individuals who discover and devour them while their minds are still young, still open to the limitless possibilities of language. That world, of course, is the world of the symbol, the myth, the hero...the infinite world of the imagination.
I'm 34 now, but on nights when time stands still, I take up my much-thumbed copy of the Earthsea Quartet (my original copies fell apart in the end and were honourably discharged) and lose myself in Le Guin's spellbinding voice, just as I did as a gawky young kid...scared by mathematics and playground games, but somehow utterly enchanted by the written word. Like Susan Cooper's novels, the Earthsea stories are the imaginative touchstones of an entire generation. To be passed down like family secrets to our own children...and our children's children.
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Format: Paperback
Long before JK Rowling stormed the best-seller lists with Harry Potter, Ursula le Guin wrote the tale of a wizard born to greatness, who leaves home and goes to study magic, with terrible consequences. A duel with Jasper, a fellow student (rich, arrogant, envious)leads to Ged's unleashing a monster upon the world which hunts him until he learns that the onyl way to defeat it is to learn its true name. (In the world of Archipelago, names give power over the named.) This is a masterpiece of fantasy fiction. Its exquisite prose is a revelation each time you read it, and all the characters though especially that of Ged, are fully rounded and realised. The world in which they live is so vivid you can taste the sea-spray and feel the fear. The moral messages are complex, concerning humility and compassion. The quartet was orginially a trilogy, and better for being so, in that Tehanu adds little. I first read this at 8, and now read it to my own 8 year old. Le Guin has influenced hundreds of other writers, but none are as good as she is.
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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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