The Farthest Shore

The third book in the Earthsea cycle makes plain what before had only been hinted at: the magic of the wizards carries a cost. Ged, now Archmage, is called to uncover what strange force is destroying magic in Earthsea, a journey that risks no return. Here you can see threads from the previous books come together: Ged’s original transgression, bringing a woman back from the dead; his second, breaking into the protected tombs; and now, venturing into the afterworld to restore what was broken. Reflecting on the book, forty years after it was published, Le Guin writes: “I see life as a shared gift, received from others and passed on to others, and living and dying as one process, in which lies both our suffering and our reward. Without mortality to purchase it, how can we have the consciousness of eternity? I think the price is worth paying.”