Books of Earthsea

by Ursula K. Le Guin




Call number





Complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin's vision of her classic saga. Now for the first time ever, they're all together in one volume--including the early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include 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. [Stories include: "A Wizard of Earthsea", "The Tombs of Atuan", "The Farthest Shore", "Tehanu", "Tales From Earthsea", "The Other Wind", "The Rule of Names", "The Word of Unbinding", "The Daughter of Odren", and "Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University".] With stories as perennial and universally beloved as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings--but also unlike anything but themselves--this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it"--… (more)

Media reviews

There have been some special editions of A Wizard of Earthsea before, like the stunning Folio Society edition that came out a couple of years ago. But this edition will be the first time that Le Guin’s sprawling epic, heretofore known collectively as the Earthsea Cycle, will be collected in one
Show More
place. Saga Press’ editorial director Joe Monti tells the Verge ... [w]hile they had long wanted to tackle a comprehensive volume of Le Guin’s Earthsea stories, something in the vein of the many omnibus editions of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Monti says that “Ursula was reticent” to the idea, having “been burned over the last several of decades” by creative partners that never listened or accepted her creative vision. To capture Le Guin’s vision, Monti brought on acclaimed fantasy artist Charles Vess ... The result was a years-long collaboration, in which Vess and Le Guin worked closely together to hone each of the book’s illustrations until it best represented Le Guin’s vision of the world.
Show Less
2 more
Le Guin reviews the Charles Vess illustrations for the omnibus edition of the Earthsea Cycle, including drafts and correspondence between Le Guin and Vess.
Le Guin announced the news on her blog, praising her collaboration with Vess: An artist of his standing, she writes, “can legitimately expect autonomy—to find and follow his own vision of the text without seeking any input from the writer.” But, to her incredulous relief, he reached out over
Show More
email for her input—and so they have used the medium to hammer out what exactly an Earthsea dragon looks like. Le Guin writes about sending Vess “an email full of whines and niggles and what-if-you-trieds-such-and-suches. I realize how inadequate are my attempts to describe in words the fierce and beautiful being I see so clearly.” But as the emails continue, “[p]atient as Job, grimy with graphite,” Vess visualizes the dragon that Le Guin describes.
Show Less

User reviews

LibraryThing member Phil-James
I started this book 45 years ago and just finished it now!
I got myself this magnificent edition of all the novels, with a few short stories and the author's comments , to finally catch up from where I left off in Mrs. Cooper's primary school class.
At 10 I was avidly reading anything that looked
Show More
interesting in the little book stand in the corner of the classroom. " The Wizard of Earthsea" blew my mind, but although in later years I re-read it I never read the others.
Funnily enough I'm glad I waited, because I can see now how the experience and wisdom of Ursula K. Le guin developed over a lifetime as she carried on writing of the world I loved so much.
I can see also how my taste in books and even my world-view was informed by that one book and how my philosophy and politics have evolved in parallel with the following books.
Thank-you Ursula.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bf239fa
This is absolutely beautiful but dang is it a large book! It's thick and heavy. They need to add *weight* to the description along with page count. Reading this thing is a physical act unless it's resting in your lap. This is not the kind of book you slip in your backpack on the off chance you'll
Show More
have a spare moment to read during the day. It's the kind of book that sits proudly on your shelf or in the place of honor next your favorite reading chair. Suggested alternate titles: The Dictionary Of Earthsea, or The One-Volume Comprehensive Encyclopedia Of Earthsea.
Show Less
LibraryThing member iansales
I’d been meaning to reread the Earthsea books for years, chiefly because I suspected I would get more out of Tehanu now than I had when I first read it back in the early 1990s. I’d been considering buying a copy of the Earthsea Quartet, as it’s normally sold here in the UK, but when I saw
Show More
this new omnibus, containing all six Earthsea books – A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales From Earthsea and The Other Wind – plus some additional material, and illustrated as well, I decided to get myself a copy. The problem with ominbuses – omnibi? omnibodes? – however, for those of us who track our reading – and this is a vitally important question – is: does it count as a single book, or do you count the individual volumes it contains? So, is The Books of Earthsea one book read, or is it six books read? The Books of Earthsea makes it a little awkward as it contains material not previously collected, but the point is still valid. I chose to record each of the six volumes on my Goodreads reading challenge, if only so I could make my 140 books read target, which I have well overshot, but I’ve marked it as a single book in my own personal record of books read. As for the contents… do I really need to describe them? The first three books were more male-centric than I’d remembered – an issue Le Guin herself was aware of, and addressed in later books and stories, although the world-building required some retconning and twisting out of shape to make it work. The Tombs of Atuan was better than I had remembered and The Farthest Shore a bit duller. Tehanu I really liked this time around. Its plot felt a little uneven, with everything seemingly wrapped up in the last few pages of the book, but that seemed like a fault with all five of the novels in the series. Tales from Earthsea was entirely new to me, and the stories were good. The Other Wind was a little too obvious in places – I mean, who thought the king and princess would not end up together? And again, the plot seemed wrapped up a little too quickly and a little easily. But these are germinal works (not seminal, obvs), and read in sequence form an important dialogue with the fantasy genre. The individual books should certainly never be read in seclusion. Just reading A Wizard of Earthsea would be completely missing the point of Earthsea. On the other hand, this is a book for people with strong arms, as it’s not a comfortable weight to read easily. And the illustrations didn’t work at all for me. I’d sooner they hadn’t been there. But it’s definitely worth getting hold of a copy of this book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member elenchus

A tone or register distinguishes LeGuin from other fantasy tales, including Tolkien's. The stories are slight but not puff pieces. I found them most interesting as peeks into her magic system.


This opening Earthsea novel
Show More
includes many of the tropes of a late 20c fantasy quest book, one can tick them off fairly easily -- a chosen one spurned by his own, an archenemy, an urgent need to learn magic in order to overcome a threat, a journey, powerful weapons. Yet that's in retrospect. The overall feel is that it's nothing like a Tolkien knock-off, and that's all to the good.

Similarly, the School for Wizards at Roke predates Hogwarts and its many simulacra, and is nothing like it. I liked Le Guin's detail that the gate to Roke is of Horn and Ivory; somehow it fits with Earthsea's magic system, patterned as it is upon language and names. A refreshingly different take.

Thus far, Earthsea leaves an impression of wisdom over adventure, insight over drama.

The wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees. [58]


to read:
Show Less
LibraryThing member CurrerBell
Personally, I much prefer Le Guin's Hainish scifi over her Earthsea fantasy, but the later books do pick up the pace a bit. I'm still giving this volume 4**** because of its comprehensiveness – in addition to the six main titles, the supplementary stories, Le Guin's speech at Oxford, and the
Show More
"Description of Earthsea" – along with the useful map and Charles Vess's illustrations.
Show Less


Hugo Award (Nominee — Art Book — 2019)
Locus Award (Finalist — Art Book — 2019)
Chesley Award (Nominee — 2019)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9.45 inches


1473223547 / 9781473223547
Page: 0.791 seconds