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A Wizard of Earthsea

The First Book of Earthsea
Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Series: Earthsea, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.   

Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.  

Read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

©2018 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fantastic tale and escape

Beautiful story, great escape for your boring daily commute. Wish it was a longer story. Definitely stood the test of time. If you liked Harry Potter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking story

A philosophical novel with a rich and interesting world. The reader sometimes lapsed when using a variety of accents, but overall it was a really stellar reading, and his voice compliments the story wonderfully. I was particularly impressed with the way the voice of the protagonist matched with the feeling of him developed in the language and description of the novel. I came to this book not fully expecting to enjoy it like I did, but I was pleasantly surprised. I'll be making my way through the rest of the Earthsea novels when time allows.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Love it.

I listened to this straight through. I wish there was a second book in Audible.

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Love Narrator

I love the Narrators voice so much I looked him up, hoping there are more books he's read that I would be interested in.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-05-2019

Not for me

I love the book, but I can't just get past the narrator's silly whisper-growl voice. Listened to 1 minute and gave up.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr Ward
  • 08-01-2019

My first experience of Earthsea, truly excellent.

Amazing tale of being human, of facing our fears and of mastering them. A remarkable work and why I have only come to it aged 41 I do not know.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Richmond
  • 13-12-2018

A Bit Disappointed

I Have been hugely excited ever since this book showed up for preorder on Audible, as A Wizard of Earthsea is my go-to story for sick days, lazy Sundays, or when I'm just not feeling 100%. It has been for over 10 years!

LeGuinn is a fantastic storyteller and wordbuilder, with an accessible narrative that weaves deep questions and themes into a child friendly story that will also truly delight, thrill, and hold the imagination of adults in a chokehold and refuses to let go.

I was equally disappointed when I finally opened A Wizard of Earthsea this morning to find narration that sounds somewhat akin to Neil Gaiman with a chest infection, and about half the audio frequencies removed.

I found the narrator perfectly adequate, but also somewhat lackluster after cutting my teeth on the Harlan Ellison reading; but as the options are not there, and the BBC dramatisation (which are normally very good) was also a bit of a flop with this story, im just glad to be able to have this story accessible at all times again, though the Ellison reading is preferable every time if you can find it.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Adnil
  • 31-12-2018

Brilliant

I hope they produce the others in the series and that they are read by the same narrator. His reading is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dela Boy
  • 08-06-2019

A Mesmerising Tale

A simple yet strong tale of reconciliation between light and dark. The main character says so much with so little. I will certainly be taking a look at the second book of Earthsea.
I was attracted to the Author for her work with Taoist literature. This work appears to be reflected and clarified in her fiction.

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  • Dave D
  • 10-04-2019

Narration a touch salty

I tend to hold that a noticeable narration is adding too much, and this is one such case, adding a little too much seasoning to Le Guin's beautiful but unassuming prose for my taste. But I enjoyed the performance and the book is a genre-transcending classic. Well worth a listen.

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  • andrew griffiths
  • 07-04-2019

Fantastic book & reading

So good, I want book 2 in the earthsea cycle... The other books do not seem available and this is so well produced

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  • Rebecca
  • 20-03-2019

A great classic, beautifully read.

I first read ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ as a teenager back in 1969, shortly after it was published, in its classic, slightly psychedelic Penguin cover. Le Guin was always a true influence on those who followed, like Hope Mirlees, Tad Williams, or of course Tolkien, Lewis etc a decade or so earlier. Every dragon rider, every haunted wizard, every brave venturer into Death’s land in later fantasy fiction owes something to Le Guin.
What was so amazing to me, hearing it again after all these years, is that it is still groundbreaking, beautifully and unpretentiously written, the story of a young man’s personal development into maturity and confidence, with no tricks or over-stretched metaphor. And it’s short! Not an extraneous word or a self indulgent moment.
And of course - this has the wonderful Kobna Holdbrook Smith reading it! Having been a huge fan since ‘Rivers’, I now stalk him on Audible- if he’s reading it, I’m listening to it! At first I wasn’t sure about the slightly Norf Landon voice he gave Ged, but actually I grew to like it. It differentiated him from other voices.
So this too joins my list of favourites.

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  • RMB
  • 09-02-2019

As excellent now as when it was first published

The narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith marries perfectly with the story. Whilst elements of a story that is fifty years old can sound a little dated the story transcends it's age and is as interesting now as when I first read it.

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  • Oliver
  • 21-01-2019

Worth the wait

I’ve been waiting for this book to come to audible for ages. It is a good story and read well (by the same dude who reads the River’s of London Series). The book is quite different to many arcs in High Fantasy, and a great intro to Earthsea

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-01-2019

Reader makes story feel flat

The story itself reads like a history, which I don’t mind at all. The reader here unfortunately uses the same grave, husky tone throughout, regardless of the tone of the story. I feel the focus was on him making his voice sound impressive and not giving life to the tale. I felt for the most part this made it sound as if he was full of cold and struggling to reach higher pitches. The performance unfortunately, for me, made it difficult to get immersed in the story.