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The Tombs of Atuan Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Saga Press; Reprint edition (Sept. 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689845367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689845369
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 95 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #193,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Often compared to Tolkien's Middle-earth or Lewis's Narnia, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea is a stunning fantasy world that grabs quickly at our hearts, pulling us deeply into its imaginary realms. Four books (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu) tell the whole Earthsea cycle--a tale about a reckless, awkward boy named Sparrowhawk who becomes a wizard's apprentice after the wizard reveals Sparrowhawk's true name. The boy comes to realize that his fate may be far more important than he ever dreamed possible. Le Guin challenges her readers to think about the power of language, how in the act of naming the world around us we actually create that world. Teens, especially, will be inspired by the way Le Guin allows her characters to evolve and grow into their own powers.

In this second book of Le Guin's Earthsea series, readers will meet Tenar, a priestess to the "Nameless Ones" who guard the catacombs of the Tombs of Atuan. Only Tenar knows the passageways of this dark labyrinth, and only she can lead the young wizard Sparrowhawk, who stumbles into its maze, to the greatest treasure of all. Will she? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"New and longtime Earthsea fans will be drawn to these impressive new editions."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While I loved "Left Hand of Darkness" and "Shikasta" I drifted off her work for too long. My wife loved this series and is now reading it to me. "The Tombs..." moves slowly, but relentlessly and the character development is awesome. Not for those scared of the dark or claustrophobic.
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Format: Paperback
LeGuin's third book in her Earthsea series is her most ambitious. Her thesis: you can only become whole by facing and accepting death, the darkest shadow. Lifted straight from Jungian psychology, this is the hardest and the important part of being whole. Sparrowhawk knows most of this truth already: remember the climax to Wizard of Earthsea. Arren, the young prince who accompanies Sparrowhawk on the epic voyages of this third book, has not yet learned this harsh lesson.
You don't need to know anything about Carl Jung to read and enjoy this book. At one level, this is a children's tale. But this book has many levels. Consider: the last king, Maharrion, had prophesied that there would be no king to succeed him until one appeared who had crossed the farthest shore. I'm not giving anything away by telling you that the farthest shore is physical - the western shore of the westernmost isle of Earthsea and metaphysical - death. And readers of earlier books know that for the wizards of Earthasea, there is a low stone fence that separates the living from the dead.
There is another wizard - humiliated by a younger Sparrowhawk - who has both great power and a terror of death. And he has worked a spell that will devastate the world, by denying and avoiding death. But by denying death, he has denied life, and magic, song, joy, reason and even life are draining out of the world. That spell must be undone before it is too late. And that task falls to Sparowhawk and Arren.
Arren must learn to understand and accept that death is necessary. Not just in the abstract but personally. He must cross that low stonewall with no hope of returning. He must cross the final shore.
This story has dragons, despair, joy, loss, discovery and marvelous surprises.
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By A Customer on May 11 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read the first book of this great series and I found myself not being able to put the book down. And when I started reading the second book I only thought there was no way this could be as good, however I had the same great time reading it as I did the first book. I believe that everyone should read this book even if you have not read any others from this series, because in essence this book is really based on people growing up, finding themselves and learning what they want to accomplish in life. This book also shows a great friendship between two people and overall it is just a wonderful book. I suggest everyone to read it.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2014
Format: Hardcover
Expecting a straightforward sequel to Ursula Le Guin's classic "A Wizard of Earthsea"? No, don't count on it.

Instead, the second book of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, "Tombs of Atuan," is very different from the first book. It features a different coming-of-age tale from Ged Sparrowhawk's, this time of a spirited girl who has been given everything except freedom -- a cold, claustrophobic tale that blossoms in Ged's light.

As a little child, Tenar was taken from her family by the priestesses, who said she was the reborn High Princess of the Nameless Ones, the dark, ruthless powers who are in the Tombs of Atuan. Her name is taken away and she was afterwards called Arha (which means that she was "eaten," spiritually), and she is raised in the cold, uninviting temple.

When Arha is fifteen, she finds that a wizard has somehow gained entrance to the massive mazelike Labyrinth, committing sacrilege and polluting the "center of darkness" with his staff's light. He's searching for half of a powerful ring; he has one half, she has the other. She takes the wizard Sparrowhawk prisoner, and for some reason doesn't want to kill him.

Instead she listens to his stories about dragons, magic and his home -- until a vengeful priestess learns that Arha is keeping the wizard alive. To escape horrible deaths, they must escape together from the Nameless Ones, and Tenar will be set free in more ways than one.

Ursula Le Guin's worldbuilding was masterful in the first book, and it's no less so in "Tombs of Atuan." The decayed, corrupted, darkness-obsessed religion and culture that Tenar is raised in seems very real.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2014
Format: Paperback
Out of all the sci-fi/fantasy works she has produced, Ursula Le Guin's first Earthsea trilogy is undeniably the crown jewel.

And "The Farthest Shore" is a beautiful climax to that original trilogy, combining subtle, evocative prose with realistic characterization and a pair of equally important, entwined plotlines. Dragons, magic, wizards, and dozens of different islands are all entwined in an intriguing contrast between the young and the old, death and life.

Arren, prince of Anlad, comes to Roke to tell the wizards there dire news: Magic is seeping out of his country, where words no longer have power and spells are forgotten. The aged Archmage, Ged Sparrowhawk, sets off with the eager, sheltered young prince to find out what is draining the "wells of wizardry."

As they cross Earthsea, they find more difficulties, places where magic is draining away, the dragons are dueling, spells and songs are forgotten, and the dead are crossing over under the influence of a mysterious figure who is at the source of it all. Great changes are in store for both Arren and Ged before they can deal with the strange forces changing Earthsea...

"The Farthest Shore" displayed Ursula Le Guin at the height of her creative powers -- her writing had matured from the more formal style of "A Wizard of Earthsea," but she hadn't gone off on the dismal man-bashing tangent of "Tehanu." It's the perfect balance of skill and high-fantasy perspective.

Well, her prose is still relatively formal. But she's loosened up enough to insert some gentle humor into her story (Arren and his "nuncle" Ged playing around with accents and dialects), and the horror of the story's villain.
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