A Wizard of Earthsea

Book 1 of The Earthsea Cycle

Ursula K. Le Guin

Illustrated by David Lupton

Introduced by David Mitchell

A true great of the fantasy genre, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea brims over with danger and wild magic. Illustrated by David Lupton and introduced by David Mitchell.

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‘The magic of Earthsea is primal; the lessons of Earthsea remain as potent, as wise, and as necessary as anyone could dream’
  1. Neil Gaiman

Ursula K. Le Guin built her fantasy worlds with an eye for realism and emotional truth; the result with the Earthsea Cycle is a fantasy series that is as moving as it is magical. In his introduction, author and fantasy fan David Mitchell celebrates the striking originality of Le Guin’s world, an archipelago filled with bustling humanity and a solid lack of whimsy. The endpapers of this edition feature maps drawn by Martin Sanders based on the originals by Le Guin, and The Folio Society worked closely with the author to produce illustrations that would do her creation justice. David Lupton’s atmospheric paintings show Earthsea and Ged as the author intended – a place of sea and salt; a hero of light and shadow. The first volume in a quartet that has enchanted generations of readers and writers alike, A Wizard of Earthsea is an essential fantasy classic.

See the Folio Le Guin collection here.

Bound in printed and blocked buckram

Set in Garamond with Dulcinea Serif display

232 pages

Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations

Printed endpapers

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

‘One of the literary greats’
  1. Margaret Atwood

This special collector’s edition of A Wizard of Earthsea features a stunning binding capturing Ged himself, the lightning-shaped scar on his cheek blocked in bronze, while the endpapers are printed with a newly redrawn map of Le Guin’s magical world. Series artist David Lupton has provided seven dynamic illustrations, with guidance from the late author herself. Whether they depict Ged facing down the Dragon of Pendor, or the young mage on his boat, the stars turning overhead, Lupton’s illustrations feel grounded in the primal magic that is abundant in Earthsea. The first volume in this celebrated series is the beginning of a story spun by one of our greatest storytellers, and no one who hears it will remain unchanged. 

Ged, a boy sorcerer learning the high arts of wizardry, falls victim to his own pride and vanity and accidentally releases a terrible shadow into the world. Binding itself to Ged, the shadow-beast destroys all hope of peace for the young mage until he can master it by gaining the greatest of powers: knowledge of the shadow’s true name. Ursula K. Le Guin’s lyrical tale of magic, morality and identity is also a stirring adventure story. Ged battles the Dragon of Pendor, uses weatherworking to propel himself across the Inmost Sea, summons fog and werelights, and transforms himself into a hawk with a Spell of Change. A Wizard of Earthsea thrums with its own mythology, as beautiful and as real as any ancient tale. 

About Ursula K. Le Guin 

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018) was born in Berkeley and lived in Portland, Oregon. She published 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, 4 collections of essays, 12 books for children, 6 volumes of poetry and 4 translated works, and received many honours and awards, including the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, a National Book Award and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. A Wizard of Earthsea (1968; Folio Society 2015, 2022) is her best-known work; it is the first book of Earthsea, which includes The Tombs of Atuan (1971; Folio Society 2022), The Farthest Shore (1972; Folio Society 2022), Tehanu (1990; Folio Society 2023), Tales from Earthsea (2001; Folio Society 2023) and The Other Wind (2001). Her Hugo Award-winning novels, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and The Dispossessed (1974) are also available as Folio editions (2018). Her most recent publications were Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2010 (2012) and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Short Stories (2012).

About David Mitchell

David Mitchell is a British novelist. He grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, and studied at the University of Kent, where he earned a degree in English and American Literature and an MA in Comparative Literature. Named one of Granta’s ’Best of Young British Novelists’ in 2003, he has written numerous novels, two of which, number1dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

About David Lupton

David Lupton is a London-based illustrator. He studied Illustration at the University of Portsmouth before completing an MA in Sequential Illustration at the University of Brighton. His work is hand-drawn and painted with only the slightest digital enhancement. He has created work for many commercial briefs, including editorial illustration, children’s picture books, music video design and animation, and record cover artwork. Lupton has illustrated a number of books for Folio, including The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (2015). He worked closely with Ursula K. Le Guin to illustrate the Folio edition A Wizard of Earthsea (2015), and continued to realise the author’s vision after Le Guin passed away, illustrating The Left Hand of Darkness (2018), The Dispossessed (2019), The Tombs of Atuan (2022) and The Farthest Shore (2022), Tehanu (2023), Tales from Earthsea (2023) and The Other Wind (2024).


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