A Wizard of Earthsea

Ursula K. Le Guin

Illustrated by David Lupton

A true great of the fantasy genre, the first book in the Earthsea series brims over with danger and wild magic.


‘If this is your first time reading A Wizard of Earthsea or your nth visit, drink this magic up. Drown in it. Dream it’

  1. David Mitchell

In his introduction acclaimed author and fantasy fan David Mitchell describes Ged, the young hero at the heart of this beloved fantasy story, as ’by far the most relatable to, and the least derivative wizard’, and talks of 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 deeply atmospheric paintings show Earthsea and Ged as the author intended – a place of sea and salt, a hero of light and shadow.

Production details

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˝

Wild magic and proud dragons

Once in that court he had felt himself to be a word spoken by the sunlight. Now the darkness also had spoken: a word that could not be unsaid

On the island of Roke, 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 that 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. It is a story that thrums with its own mythology, as beautiful and as real as any ancient tale. As Hari Kunzru writes in the Guardian, Le Guin’s writing ‘walks towards reality, not away from it’ – like all the great works of fantasy.


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) is her best-known work; it is the first book of Earthsea, which includes The Tombs of Atuan (1971), The Farthest Shore (1972), Tehanu (1990), Tales from Earthsea (2001) and The Other Wind (2001). Her Hugo Award-winning novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) is also availabe as a Folio edition. 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 Portsmouth before completing an MA in Sequential Illustration at the University of Brighton. His work, rich in melancholy and the macabre, is hand-drawn and painted with only the slightest of digital manipulation and enhancement. Lupton has created work for many commercial briefs including editorial illustration, picture book design, music video promos and record cover artwork. His previous work for The Folio Society includes A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (2015), The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe (2015) and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (2017).


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