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A classic of the young adult fantasy canon.
What is the Earthsea series about?
A series of fantasy novels written by the American writer Ursula K. Le Guin, The Earthcea Cycle was published between 1968 and 2001, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea.
The story takes us in the world of Earthsea which is a vast archipelago of hundreds of islands where Magic is a central part of life—except in the Karg society where it is banned. Those who are born with Magic are sent to a school in order to become wizards, like the young mage named Ged. An error leads him to learn the hard way how to become a great sorcerer.
How to read the Earthsea Books in Order?
I. The Earthsea Novels
- A Wizard of Earthsea – Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
- The Tombs of Atuan – When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away — home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs’ greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain.
- The Farthest Shore – The world and its wizards are losing their magic. But Ged Sparrohawk—Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord—is determined to discover the source of this devastating loss. Aided by Enlad’s young Prince Arren, Ged embarks on a treacherous journey that will test their strength and will. Because to restore magic, the two warriors must venture to the farthest reaches of their world—and even beyond the realm of death.
- Tehanu – Years before, Tenar and Ged had helped each other at a time of darkness and danger. Together, they shared an adventure like no other. Tenar has since embraced the simple pleasures of an ordinary life, while Ged mourns the powers lost to him through no choice of his own. Now the two must join forces again and help another in need—the physically, emotionally scarred child whose own destiny has yet to be revealed…
- The Other Wind – The sorcerer Alder fears sleep. He dreams of the land of death, of his wife who died young and longs to return to him so much that she kissed him across the low stone wall that separates our world from the Dry Land-where the grass is withered, the stars never move, and lovers pass without knowing each other. The dead are pulling Alder to them at night. Through him they may free themselves and invade Earthsea.
II. The Earthsea Short Stories
In plus to the five novels, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote nine short stories set in the world of Earthsea collected in multiple collections.
- Wind’s Twelve Quarters
- Tales from Earthsea
- “The Daughter of Odren“
- “Firelight” (Published in Paris Review)
The Earthsea Omnibus Edition
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition – The Earthsea Cycle in one 1008 pages omnibus. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition also includes fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way.
If you like Earthsea, you may also want to read Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, or check out our guide to the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.