Tales from Earthsea

( 27 )

Overview

The tales of this book, as Ursula K. Le Guin writes in her foreword, explore or extend the world established by her first four Earthsea novels. Yet each tale stands on its own.

"The Finder," a novella set a few hundred years before A Wizard of Earthsea, presents a dark and troubled Archipelago and reveals how the school on Roke came to be.

"The Bones of the Earth" features the wizards who taught the wizard who first taught Ged and demonstrates how humility, if great enough, can rein in an earthquake.

"Darkrose ...

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Tales from Earthsea

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Overview

The tales of this book, as Ursula K. Le Guin writes in her foreword, explore or extend the world established by her first four Earthsea novels. Yet each tale stands on its own.

"The Finder," a novella set a few hundred years before A Wizard of Earthsea, presents a dark and troubled Archipelago and reveals how the school on Roke came to be.

"The Bones of the Earth" features the wizards who taught the wizard who first taught Ged and demonstrates how humility, if great enough, can rein in an earthquake.

"Darkrose and Diamond" is a delightful story of young courtship showing that sometimes wizards can pursue alternative careers.

"On the High Marsh," from the brief but eventful time of Ged as Archmage of Earthsea, tells of the love of power -- and of the power of love.

"Dragonfly" shows how a woman, determined enough, can break the glass ceiling of male magedom. Taking place shortly after the last Earthsea novel, it also provides a bridge -- a dragon bridge -- to the next Earthsea novel, The Other Wind.

The author concludes this collection with an essay about Earthsea's history, people, languages, literature, and magic, and provides two new maps of Earthsea.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In 1990, Ursula K. Le Guin augmented her classic Earthsea Trilogy (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore) with the Nebula Award-winning Tehanu, which was pointedly subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea." Fortunately for all of us, that description was inaccurate. With Tales from Earthsea, Le Guin returns to her enchanted archipelago -- a world populated by dragons, wizards, and witches, as well as ordinary folk -- and gives us a luminous, varied collection that spans several centuries of volatile Earthsea history.

Tales from Earthsea contains two novellas, three short stories, an elegant introduction, and an extensive afterword describing the "fictional facts" behind one of modern fantasy's most durable creations. The stories proceed chronologically, beginning with the longest tale, "The Finder," an illuminating account of the Dark Ages of Earthsea and of the founding of the school for wizards on Roke Island. It closes with another long story, "Dragonfly," in which the eponymous young heroine challenges the long-established "Rule of Roke," which forbids women from receiving formal training in the magical arts.

In between, Le Guin offers us a tale of wizardly redemption ("On the High Marsh"), a portrait of the final days of Ogion, wizard of Gont ("The Bones of the Earth"), and a moving love story ("Darkrose and Diamond") in which a gifted young adept chooses love and music over the rigorous demands of magic. Every story is told in the lucid, pristine prose that has distinguished this series from the beginning.

The volume ends with "A Description of Earthsea," a faux-scholarly treatise on the history, languages, culture, and customs of the mythical archipelago. This essay-length explication should prove both useful and irresistible to Earthsea aficionados, and it is worth the price of admission all by itself. Taken as a whole, this collection is a major publishing event that marks a welcome return to a scrupulously constructed, endlessly fascinating fictional world. (Bill Sheehan)

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).

Newsweek
She wields her pen with a moral and psychological sophistication rarely seen.
Time
Her characters are complex and haunting, and her writing is remarkable for its sinewy grace.
From The Critics
Le Guin returns to the fantasy world of Earthsea (which she's already done four times since 1968) with this wonderful collection of five stories. These tales—all easily understood even by those who haven't read the rest of the series—are delightfully crafted mini epics that could each have been spun off into their own novels. Among Le Guin's many strengths is her ability to write eloquent fantasy that, while it comes replete with dragons, sorcerers, witches and a whole otherworldly mythos, is intrinsically character-based. While the book discusses the many uses of magic in Earthsea, Le Guin never gives away too much. As she writes in her introduction, "Nobody can explain a dragon."
—Chris Barsanti

(Excerpted Review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this stellar collection, which includes a number of original stories, Le Guin (The Telling; Four Ways to Forgiveness; etc.) makes a triumphant return to the magic-drenched world of Earthsea. The opening novella, The Finder, set some 300 years before the birth of Ged, the hero of A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), details both the origin of the school for wizards on Roke Island and the long-suppressed role that women and women's magic played in the founding of that institution. "The Bones of the Earth" describes Ogion, Ged's first great teacher, when he was a young man, centering on that wizard's loving relationship with his own mentor. "Darkrose and Diamond" is also a love story of sorts, about a young man who'd rather be a musician than a mage and the witch girl he loves. "On the High Marsh," the only story in which Ged himself appears, albeit in a secondary role, is a touching tale of madness and redemption. Finally, in the novella Dragonfly, a tale set immediately after the events related in her Nebula Award-winning novel Tehanu (1990), Le Guin tells the story of a young girl who chooses to defy the ban on female mages, tries to enroll in the school on Roke Island and, in doing so, initiates great changes to the world of Earthsea. In her seventies, Le Guin is still at the height of her powers, a superb stylist with a knack for creating characters who are both wise and deeply humane. The publication of this collection is a major event in fantasy literature. (May) FYI: In addition to five Hugo and five Nebula awards, Le Guin has won the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's July 2002 review of the Fantastic Audio audiobook edition: Master of fantasy, LeGuin has delighted fans by adding to her Earthsea series, begun over 30 years ago. This collection of five stories gives some background information to the Earthsea tales and allows insight into other characters and events. We learn about the founding of the magic school on Roke Island (some 300 years before the birth of Ged from The Wizard of Earthsea, 1968), the power of women's magic, and the legendary young wizard who trained there. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Berkley, Ace, 314p. map., Ammon
Library Journal
Le Guin's latest work opens with "The Finder," which takes readers back into the past of the author's imaginary universe to relate the founding of a school of magic on Roke Island and the story of a young wizard who became a legend. This story of the early history of Earthsea is followed by four other tales (two of which have appeared in other publications) and an essay on the history and culture of her archipelago world. While best appreciated in conjunction with Le Guin's previous Earthsea tales (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu), this volume not only stands alone but also serves as an introduction to new readers. Strong work from a master storyteller; highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"The magic of Earthsea is primal; the lessons of Earthsea remain as potent, as wise, and as necessary as anyone could dream."—Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman
 "New and longtime Earthsea fans will be drawn to these impressive new editions."—Horn Book
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547722047
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 783,341
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ursula K.  Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. Among her honors are a National Book Award, five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon. www.ursulakleguin.com

Biography

Speculative fiction, magic realism, "slipstream" fiction -- all these terms could apply to the works of Ursula K. Le Guin. Unfortunately, none was in common use when she started writing in the early 1960s. As a young writer, Le Guin weathered seven years of rejections from editors who praised her novels' elegant prose but were puzzled by their content. At a time when the only literary fiction was realistic fiction, as Le Guin later told an interviewer for The Register-Guard in Portland, Oregon, "There just wasn't a pigeonhole for what I write."

At long last, two of her stories were accepted for publication, one at a literary journal and one at a science-fiction magazine. The literary journal paid her in copies of the journal; the science-fiction magazine paid $30. She told The Register-Guard, "I thought: 'Oooohhh! They'll call what I write science fiction, will they? And they'll pay me for it? Well, here we go!' "

Le Guin continued to write and publish stories, but her breakthrough success came with the publication of The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969. The novel, which tells of a human ambassador's encounters with the gender-changing inhabitants of a distant planet, was unusual for science fiction in that it owed more to anthropology and sociology than to the hard sciences of physics or biology. The book was lauded for its intellectual and psychological depth, as well as for its fascinating premise. "What got to me was the quality of the story-telling," wrote Frank Herbert, the author of Dune. "She's taken the mythology, psychology -- the entire creative surround -- and woven it into a jewel of a story."

Since then, Le Guin has published many novels, several volumes of short stories, and numerous poems, essays, translations, and children's books. She's won an arm's-length list of awards, including both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, and a National Book Award for The Farthest Shore. Over the years, she has created and sustained two fictional universes, populating each with dozens of characters and stories. The first universe, Ekumen, more or less fits into the science-fiction mode, with its aliens and interplanetary travel; the second, Earthsea, is a fantasy world, complete with wizards and dragons. As Margaret Atwood wrote in The New York Review of Books, "Either one would have been sufficient to establish Le Guin's reputation as a mistress of its genre; both together make one suspect that the writer has the benefit of arcane drugs or creative double-jointedness or ambidexterity."

More impressive still is the way Le Guin's books have garnered such tremendous crossover appeal. Unlike many writers of science fiction, she is regularly reviewed in mainstream publications, where her work has been praised by the likes of John Updike and Harold Bloom. But then, Le Guin has never fit comfortably into a single genre. As she said in a Science Fiction Weekly interview, "I know that I'm always called 'the sci-fi writer.' Everybody wants to stick me into that one box, while I really live in several boxes. It's probably hurt the sales of my realistic books like Searoad, because it tended to get stuck into science fiction, where browsing readers that didn't read science fiction would never see it."

Le Guin has also published a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, a book that has influenced her life and writing since she was a teenager; she has translated fiction by Angelica Gorodischer and a volume of poems by Gabriela Mistral; and, perhaps most gratifyingly for her fans, she has returned to the imaginary realm of Earthsea. Tehanu, which appeared in 1990, was subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea," but Le Guin found she had more to tell, and she continued with Tales from Earthsea and The Other Wind. "I thought after 'Tehanu' the story was finished, but I was wrong," she told Salon interviewer Faith L. Justice. "I've learned never to say 'never.' "

Good To Know

The "K" in Ursula K. Le Guin stands for Le Guin's maiden name, Kroeber. Her father was the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber; her mother, the writer Theodora Kroeber, is best known for the biography Ishi in Two Worlds.

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    1. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 21, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Radcliffe College; M.A., Columbia University, 1952
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Finder
I. In the Dark Time
This is the first page of the Book of the Dark, written some six hundred years ago in Berila, on Enlad:
"After Elfarran and Morred perished and the Isle of Sol"a sank beneath the sea, the Council of the Wise governed for the child Serriadh until he took the throne. His reign was bright but brief. The kings who followed him in Enlad were seven, and their realm increased in peace and wealth. Then the dragons came to raid among the western lands, and wizards went out in vain against them. King Akambar moved the court from Berila in Enlad to the City of Havnor, whence he sent out his fleet against invaders from the Kargad Lands and drove them back into the East. But still they sent raiding ships even as far as the Inmost Sea. Of the fourteen Kings of Havnor the last was Maharion, who made peace both with the dragons and the Kargs, but at great cost. And after the Ring of the Runes was broken, and Erreth-Akbe died with the great dragon, and Maharion the Brave was killed by treachery, it seemed that no good thing happened in the Archipelago.
"Many claimed Maharion's throne, but none could keep it, and the quarrels of the claimants divided all loyalties. No commonwealth was left and no justice, only the will of the wealthy. Men of noble houses, merchants, and pirates, any who could hire soldiers and wizards called himself a lord, claiming lands and cities as his property. The warlords made those they conquered slaves, and those they hired were in truth slaves, having only their masters to safeguard them from rival warlords seizing the lands, and sea-pirates raiding the ports, and bands and hordes of lawless, miserable men dispossessed of theirliving, driven by hunger to raid and rob."
The Book of the Dark, written late in the time it tells of, is a compilation of self-contradictory histories, partial biographies, and garbled legends. But it's the best of the records that survived the dark years. Wanting praise, not history, the warlords burnt the books in which the poor and powerless might learn what power is.
But when the lore-books of a wizard came into a warlord's hands he was likely to treat them with caution, locking them away to keep them harmless or giving them to a wizard in his hire to do with as he wished. In the margins of the spells and word lists and in the endpapers of these books of lore a wizard or his prentice might record a plague, a famine, a raid, a change of masters, along with the spells worked in such events and their success or unsuccess. Such random records reveal a clear moment here and there, though all between those moments is darkness. They are like glimpses of a lighted ship far out at sea, in darkness, in the rain.
And there are songs, old lays and ballads from small islands and from the quiet uplands of Havnor, that tell the story of those years.
Havnor Great Port is the city at the heart of the world, white-towered above its bay; on the tallest tower the sword of Erreth-Akbe catches the first and last of daylight. Through that city passes all the trade and commerce and learning and craft of Earthsea, a wealth not hoarded. There the King sits, having returned after the healing of the Ring, in sign of healing. And in that city, in these latter days, men and women of the islands speak with dragons, in sign of change.
But Havnor is also the Great Isle, a broad, rich land; and in the villages inland from the port, the farmlands of the slopes of Mount Onn, nothing ever changes much. There a song worth singing is likely to be sung again. There old men at the tavern talk of Morred as if they had known him when they too were young and heroes. There girls walking out to fetch the cows home tell stories of the women of the Hand, who are forgotten everywhere else in the world, even on Roke, but remembered among those silent, sunlit roads and fields and in the kitchens by the hearths where housewives work and talk.
In the time of the kings, mages gathered in the court of Enlad and later in the court of Havnor to counsel the king and take counsel together, using their arts to pursue goals they agreed were good. But in the dark years, wizards sold their skills to the highest bidder, pitting their powers one against the other in duels and combats of sorcery, careless of the evils they did, or worse than careless. Plagues and famines, the failure of springs of water, summers with no rain and years with no summer, the birth of sickly and monstrous young to sheep and cattle, the birth of sickly and monstrous children to the people of the isles_all these things were charged to the practices of wizards and witches, and all too often rightly so.
So it became dangerous to practice sorcery, except under the protection of a strong warlord; and even then, if a wizard met up with one whose powers were greater than his own, he might be destroyed. And if a wizard let down his guard among the common folk, they too might destroy him if they could, seeing him as the source of the worst evils they suffered, a malign being. In those years, in the minds of most people, all magic was black.
It was then that village sorcery, and above all women's witchery, came into the ill repute that has clung to it since. Witches paid dearly for practicing the arts they thought of as their own. The care of pregnant beasts and women, birthing, teaching the songs and rites, the fertility and order of field and garden, the building and care of the house and its furniture, the mining of ores and metals-these great things had always been in the charge of women. A rich lore of spells and charms to ensure the good outcome of such undertakings was shared among the witches. But when things went wrong at the birth, or in the field, that would be the witches' fault. And things went wrong more often than right, with the wizards warring, using poisons and curses recklessly to gain immediate advantage without thought for what followed after. They brought drought and storm, blights and fires and sicknesses across the land, and the village witch was punished for them. She didn't know why her charm of healing caused the wound to gangrene, why the child she brought into the world was imbecile, why her blessing seemed to burn the seed in the furrows and blight the apple on the tree. But for these ills, somebody had to be to blame: and the witch or sorcerer was there, right there in the village or the town, not off in the warlord's castle or fort, not protected by armed men and spells of defense. Sorcerers and witches were drowned in the poisoned wells, burned in the withered fields, buried alive to make the dead earth rich again.
So the practice of their lore and the teaching of it had become perilous. Those who undertook it were often those already outcast, crippled, deranged, without family, old-women and men who had little to lose. The wise man and wise woman, trusted and held in reverence, gave way to the stock figures of the shuffling, impotent village sorcerer with his trickeries, the hag-witch with her potions used in aid of lust, jealousy, and malice. And a child's gift for magic became a thing to dread and hide.
This is a tale of those times. Some of it is taken from the Book of the Dark, and some comes from Havnor, from the upland farms of Onn and the woodlands of Faliern. A story may be pieced together from such scraps and fragments, and though it will be an airy quilt, half made of hearsay and half of guesswork, yet it may be true enough. It's a tale of the Founding of Roke, and if the Masters of Roke say it didn't happen so, let them tell us how it happened otherwise. For a cloud hangs over the time when Roke first became the Isle of the Wise, and it may be that the wise men put it there.
Copyright c2001by Ursula K. Le Guin, published by Harcourt, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
The Finder 1
Darkrose and Diamond 107
The Bones of the Earth 143
On the High Marsh 163
Dragonfly 197
A Description of Earthsea 267
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First Chapter

The Finder

I. In the Dark Time

This is the first page of the Book of the Dark, written some six hundred years ago in Berila, on Enlad:
"After Elfarran and Morred perished and the Isle of Sol"a sank beneath the sea, the Council of the Wise governed for the child Serriadh until he took the throne. His reign was bright but brief. The kings who followed him in Enlad were seven, and their realm increased in peace and wealth. Then the dragons came to raid among the western lands, and wizards went out in vain against them. King Akambar moved the court from Berila in Enlad to the City of Havnor, whence he sent out his fleet against invaders from the Kargad Lands and drove them back into the East. But still they sent raiding ships even as far as the Inmost Sea. Of the fourteen Kings of Havnor the last was Maharion, who made peace both with the dragons and the Kargs, but at great cost. And after the Ring of the Runes was broken, and Erreth-Akbe died with the great dragon, and Maharion the Brave was killed by treachery, it seemed that no good thing happened in the Archipelago.

"Many claimed Maharion's throne, but none could keep it, and the quarrels of the claimants divided all loyalties. No commonwealth was left and no justice, only the will of the wealthy. Men of noble houses, merchants, and pirates, any who could hire soldiers and wizards called himself a lord, claiming lands and cities as his property. The warlords made those they conquered slaves, and those they hired were in truth slaves, having only their masters to safeguard them from rival warlords seizing the lands, and sea-pirates raiding the ports, and bands and hordes of lawless, miserable men dispossessed of their living, driven by hunger to raid and rob."

The Book of the Dark, written late in the time it tells of, is a compilation of self-contradictory histories, partial biographies, and garbled legends. But it's the best of the records that survived the dark years. Wanting praise, not history, the warlords burnt the books in which the poor and powerless might learn what power is.

But when the lore-books of a wizard came into a warlord's hands he was likely to treat them with caution, locking them away to keep them harmless or giving them to a wizard in his hire to do with as he wished. In the margins of the spells and word lists and in the endpapers of these books of lore a wizard or his prentice might record a plague, a famine, a raid, a change of masters, along with the spells worked in such events and their success or unsuccess. Such random records reveal a clear moment here and there, though all between those moments is darkness. They are like glimpses of a lighted ship far out at sea, in darkness, in the rain.

And there are songs, old lays and ballads from small islands and from the quiet uplands of Havnor, that tell the story of those years.

Havnor Great Port is the city at the heart of the world, white-towered above its bay; on the tallest tower the sword of Erreth-Akbe catches the first and last of daylight. Through that city passes all the trade and commerce and learning and craft of Earthsea, a wealth not hoarded. There the King sits, having returned after the healing of the Ring, in sign of healing. And in that city, in these latter days, men and women of the islands speak with dragons, in sign of change.

But Havnor is also the Great Isle, a broad, rich land; and in the villages inland from the port, the farmlands of the slopes of Mount Onn, nothing ever changes much. There a song worth singing is likely to be sung again. There old men at the tavern talk of Morred as if they had known him when they too were young and heroes. There girls walking out to fetch the cows home tell stories of the women of the Hand, who are forgotten everywhere else in the world, even on Roke, but remembered among those silent, sunlit roads and fields and in the kitchens by the hearths where housewives work and talk.

In the time of the kings, mages gathered in the court of Enlad and later in the court of Havnor to counsel the king and take counsel together, using their arts to pursue goals they agreed were good. But in the dark years, wizards sold their skills to the highest bidder, pitting their powers one against the other in duels and combats of sorcery, careless of the evils they did, or worse than careless. Plagues and famines, the failure of springs of water, summers with no rain and years with no summer, the birth of sickly and monstrous young to sheep and cattle, the birth of sickly and monstrous children to the people of the isles¾all these things were charged to the practices of wizards and witches, and all too often rightly so.

So it became dangerous to practice sorcery, except under the protection of a strong warlord; and even then, if a wizard met up with one whose powers were greater than his own, he might be destroyed. And if a wizard let down his guard among the common folk, they too might destroy him if they could, seeing him as the source of the worst evils they suffered, a malign being. In those years, in the minds of most people, all magic was black.

It was then that village sorcery, and above all women's witchery, came into the ill repute that has clung to it since. Witches paid dearly for practicing the arts they thought of as their own. The care of pregnant beasts and women, birthing, teaching the songs and rites, the fertility and order of field and garden, the building and care of the house and its furniture, the mining of ores and metals-these great things had always been in the charge of women. A rich lore of spells and charms to ensure the good outcome of such undertakings was shared among the witches. But when things went wrong at the birth, or in the field, that would be the witches' fault. And things went wrong more often than right, with the wizards warring, using poisons and curses recklessly to gain immediate advantage without thought for what followed after. They brought drought and storm, blights and fires and sicknesses across the land, and the village witch was punished for them. She didn't know why her charm of healing caused the wound to gangrene, why the child she brought into the world was imbecile, why her blessing seemed to burn the seed in the furrows and blight the apple on the tree. But for these ills, somebody had to be to blame: and the witch or sorcerer was there, right there in the village or the town, not off in the warlord's castle or fort, not protected by armed men and spells of defense. Sorcerers and witches were drowned in the poisoned wells, burned in the withered fields, buried alive to make the dead earth rich again.

So the practice of their lore and the teaching of it had become perilous. Those who undertook it were often those already outcast, crippled, deranged, without family, old-women and men who had little to lose. The wise man and wise woman, trusted and held in reverence, gave way to the stock figures of the shuffling, impotent village sorcerer with his trickeries, the hag-witch with her potions used in aid of lust, jealousy, and malice. And a child's gift for magic became a thing to dread and hide.

This is a tale of those times. Some of it is taken from the Book of the Dark, and some comes from Havnor, from the upland farms of Onn and the woodlands of Faliern. A story may be pieced together from such scraps and fragments, and though it will be an airy quilt, half made of hearsay and half of guesswork, yet it may be true enough. It's a tale of the Founding of Roke, and if the Masters of Roke say it didn't happen so, let them tell us how it happened otherwise. For a cloud hangs over the time when Roke first became the Isle of the Wise, and it may be that the wise men put it there.
Copyright ©2001by Ursula K. Le Guin, published by Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved.
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  • Posted June 22, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Tales from Earthsea

    I read the first of the stories in this book three years ago. It was the first Earthsea story I had read and it was something new to me. I enjoyed it very much. After reading the rest of the series this book fills in some gaps and explains a lot about the world of Earthsea. I enjoy the characters and the mystery of magic in this series. LeGuin is a great writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    EXCELLENT!!!!!!! A MUST HAVE!

    THIS BOOK IS REALLY REALLY GOOD!!!! RIGHT NOW, I'M BUYING IT FOR 2 OF MY FRIENDS!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2001

    Best-Selling Series Continues!

    Tales From Earthsea is a wonderful anthology that answers some of the questions hinted at in the previous books. Le Guin's fast, lyrical prose is a joy to read and these five stories stand as sterling examples of her work. I loved everything about this work, especially the surprising facts that women and men founded Roke and that a single biased archmage created the myth that women could not be mages. The appendix at the end of the book sums up nicely all the varied tales and legends in Earthsea that were only mentioned in passing before. I was very glad about this because I always wondered what really happened between Morred and Elfarren. All in all a magnificent work. I would recommend it to anyone, though readers new to the series should read the Earthsea trilogy and Tehanu first. I can't wait for the next book coming in the fall!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Yeah, so...

    I saw the movie and it was cool, but it was also a little confusing toward the end and I'm not sure if the book is the same way but dragons are cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    Doesn't Stand

    My review is certainly tainted by the fact that I was told this book would stand-alone. I guess it does, but it still expects readers to be previously invested in the world and doesn't offer much for those who aren't. The characters are flat and the writer apparently thinks no story is complete without at least one instance of deus ex machina. It was readable, so have at it Earthsea fans.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    Hi,everyone

    Hi.i havent read the books but i've seen the anime movie disney did.impressive.however,id like to know what the content was like.i'm a fantasy buff,but,as a conservative christian,i'd like to know of any bad content and how heavy the magic use was.please be specific in your review.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    The Tie In Book for Earthsea

    I have been reading the Earthsea series now in order and I just finished Tales from Earthsea. The short stories contained within this novel bring continuity to the previous novels by tying together the history of Earthsea before Ged, during Ged and after Ged. It shows a full paradigm shift in the way people thought and acted in regards to the topic of magic. In the beginning it was feared, and then later revered. And you how this thought process progressed over time and what causes influenced the common way of thinking among the people of Earthsea. And the stories were delightful. As fully contagious as ever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    A pretty good history book

    Tales from earthsea is pretty good. Tells you information on characters before Ged and how the school on Roke island began. But like the other books in the series it has some boring parts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    A wonderful addition to the Eathsea series

    While not a dedicated Le Guin fan I have enjoyed her Earthsea books. This was a great collection of small stories. A nice little glimpse into the world of Earthsea apart from the series. I highly recommend this book. It might even serve as a nice entry to the series, though I might recommend to the first book, 'A Wizard of Earthsea.'

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