The Tombs of Atuan

Book 2 of The Earthsea Cycle

Ursula K. Le Guin

Illustrated by David Lupton

The Tombs of Atuan is the second book in Ursula K. Le Guin’s unmissable Earthsea series. Artist David Lupton provides the illustrations and a haunting binding design for this new Folio edition.

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‘One of the major works of fantasy in this century.’
  1. Observer

The second book in the Earthsea Cycle continues the story of Ged, once known as Sparrowhawk, now a wandering mage seeking an artefact that could be the key to peace throughout the archipelago. Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the literary giants of the last century, lauded by writers around the world. Her Earthsea novels contain all the adventures of the greatest fantasy, as well as an underlying foundation of quiet wisdom. The Tombs of Atuan tackles guilt, responsibility and hope, all within a story so irresistibly told it could almost be a fable itself.

Before she passed away, Le Guin worked with series artist David Lupton to ensure that her worlds and characters were presented as accurately as possible. For The Tombs of Atuan, Lupton continued to work with the author’s son to maintain the integrity of Le Guin’s much-loved characters, and for this special edition he has created seven rich and foreboding illustrations, as well as a beautifully eerie binding design.

See the Folio Le Guin collection here.

Bound in printed and blocked cloth

Set in Garamond with Ducinea Serif as display

184 pages

7 full page colour illustrations

Printed map endpapers

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

The girl has no name other than Arha, ‘the eaten one’. Since she was five years old, Arha’s life has been pledged to the Nameless Ones as their highest Priestess, a duty she is tied to even beyond death. She alone dances before their throne; she alone knows the secret, blind ways of the Undertomb and the Labyrinth. It is Arha who spills blood for them when they demand it. And then a young mage arrives, his heart intent on the treasure that lies somewhere within the Nameless Ones’ deadly maze. Ged knows all about the power of names and the dangers of confronting the darkness. For Arha, sworn to guard the tombs, everything she has ever known is in jeopardy.

‘The deepest and smartest of writers. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul.’
  1. Neil Gaiman

Told with Le Guin’s beautiful clarity of language, The Tombs of Atuan has enormous emotional heft; frightening and sad, joyous and strange. The second part of Ged’s journey reveals just how far he has come since A Wizard of Earthsea, and hints at the trials he has yet to face. David Lupton’s striking illustrations make ingenious use of light and dark, and follow the trials of Arha, a woman raised in the shadows. When the first glimmer of light appears, both in the text and in Lupton’s paintings, hope soars like a hawk in flight. Produced in series with A Wizard of Earthsea, this enchanting edition is an essential volume for the bookshelves of anyone who loves fiction, fantasy, and magic.

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 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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