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The Farthest Shore (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


"New and longtime Earthsea fans will be drawn to these impressive new editions."
(The Horn Book) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea cycle has become one of the best-loved fantasies of our time. The windswept world of Earthsea is one of the greatest creations in all fantasy literature, frequently compared with J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth or C.S. Lewis' Narnia. The magnificent saga begins with A Wizard Of Earthsea, continues in The Tombs Of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, and concludes with Tehanu --each book a treasure of wisdom, wonder, and literary wizardry. The magic had gone out of the world. All over Earthsea the mages had forgotten their spells, the springs of wizardry were running dry. Ged, Dragonlord and Archmage, set out with Arren, a highborn young prince, to seek the source of the darkness. This is the tale of their harrowing journey beyond the shores of death to heal a wounded land. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Series: Earthsea Cycle (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Saga Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689845340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689845345
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By K. E. Spillman ( on July 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Of course I liked The Tombs of Atuan. It is well-constructed and beautifully styled fantasy, comparable to the works of Susan Cooper and Patricia McKillip. (No, Tolkien is in a class by himself.)
Le Guin's Earthsea books are all excellent, but some people feel that The Tombs of Atuan is slow to start, and less eventful than the other three. My opinion, for what it's worth, is quite the opposite. The introspective beginning of Tombs is not unlike the beginning of Wizard, focussing closely on a single character, that character's uniqueness, and the way that character is shaped by life. The reader approaches the threshold of adventure with the protagonist; the reader, too, is drawn into the struggle, shares bewilderment, doubt, and uncertainty; and the reader, too, has made a passage by the end of the book.
Too much of modern fantasy is all long journeys, heated battles, unquestionably terrible villains -- and swordplay, of course. Le Guin recognizes that moral ambiguity creates the greatest obstacle a character can confront...and that if the question is worthwhile, the answer is neither easy nor painless.
Tenar is a strong heroine and I would especially recommend this book for teenage girls, whose plight is sometimes not unlike that of the Eaten One; however, as all the best books are, this is a story which is based on human character and thus speaks to both sexes and all ages.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on June 1, 2001
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first read the Earthsea Trilogy at the age of 9. I re-read it at secondary school at 17, during a moody teenager phase. Now I read it to children to whom I teach English. I am struck every time by how many different layers of meaning dwell in le Guin's text. I think the technical word is polysemic. It appeals to children, teenagers and adults by offering something to each, though ultimately offering the same to all: drama, adventure, and a fearless assault on the big issues that confront every one of us. Birth, life, death. And always in original, often startling or beautiful ways. Le Guin's use of language is sublime too; she has an absolute mastery of how long a sentence should be, what the words in it should sound like and what 'rhythm' a sentence should have. Moving explorations of life's great questions, investigated with originality and sophistication, harnessed to a dramatic adventure story, conjuring up grand vistas of new and thrilling worlds, created through a command of language and imagery as fine as any I have ever come across and made alive through characters that a child can warm to and an adult love. What a book.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sparrowhawk, the protagonist of "Wizard of Earthsea," the first book of the triology, is a secondary character here; important but not the focus. This is the story of Tenar, a young priestess at the Tombs of Atuan.
Earthsea has places where there are elder powers present. Readers of "Wizard of Earthsea" encountered one in the Terrenon. Tenar, as an infant, is given to the elder power of the Tombs. Her name is taken from her and she becomes Arha, "the eaten one." She serves as a priestess to a nearly forgotten religion that treats the power of the Tombs as a god. But everything Tenar has been told is twice a lie; her religion is almost forgotten and the Power is anything but a god.
This is the story of how Tenar came to understand that her life, all of what she had been and most of what she believed was a lie. LeGuin makes it utterly convincing, in a spare, terse way that is stark and persuasive. Sparrowhawk plays a crucial role in all this, but he is not the protagonist. Sparrowhawk may have been the catalyst for Tenar's changes, but like a catalyst he is mostly unchanged by the process. It is Tenar who is changed. This is Tenar's tale.
Can you imagine how devastating it must have been for Tenar? How many of us could accept and understand that what we had been taught was evil or, worse still, utterly meaningless? Could you do as well if, say, Christianity were revealed to be an utter fraud? LeGuin makes it vivid. Any thoughtful reader is left in awe of Tenar's strength and resilience. And in awe of LeGuin's writing.
In most trilogies, the middle book is the weakest. Not the Earthsea books. This is a wonderful tale, superbly told. Very highly recommended.
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