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Ursula K. Le Guin: Annals of the Western Shore (slipcased edition)

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After the extraordinary success of the Earthsea novels, Ursula K. Le Guin returned in late career to the young adult fantasy genre with a trilogy of coming-of-age novels set in the far-flung Western Shore. These tales of teenagers struggling to come to terms with their own mysterious and magical gifts showcase the imaginative generosity and abiding human concerns that mark Le Guin’s work, and together they form an elegant anthem to the transformative power of storytelling. This acclaimed trilogy is gathered here in one volume for the first time, complete with illustrated endpapers featuring newly colorized versions of Le Guin’s own hand-drawn maps of her imagined world.

The trilogy opens with Gifts (2004), in which Orrec Caspro and Gry Barre, a boy and girl from neighboring clans in the forbidding Uplands, will receive both their families’ domains and their hereditary “gifts”—for Orrec the ability to maim or kill with a word and gesture, for Gry the power to communicate with animals, luring them to their deaths in the hunt. When they dare to turn their backs on their families’ expectations, the young friends discover their true gifts.

The once prosperous city of Ansul, the setting for the second book, Voices (2006), is in the grip of a superstitious, book-burning army from the desert land of Asudar, and seventeen-year-old Memer may hold the key to her people’s fate. Memer lives in the mysterious Oracle House, where a secret room hides the city’s few remaining books. When Orrec Caspro, now a famous poet, and his wife Gry arrive in Ansul, Memer will begin to unlock the revolutionary power within herself.

In the Nebula Award–winning Powers (2007), the young slave Gavir can see events before they happen, vivid visions that feel like memories. After a violent tragedy destroys his childlike faith in his masters, Gav sets out on an epic journey to understand who he is, why he has such strange powers, and what freedom means: a journey that brings the trilogy full circle.

This deluxe collector’s edition includes Le Guin’s talks and interviews about the novels, a chronology of her life and career, and helpful explanatory notes.

Brian Attebery, editor, is professor of English at Idaho State University and the editor of Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. He edited The Norton Book of Science Fiction (1997) with Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler and is the author of Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth (2014) and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002), among other books. In 2019 he was Leverhulme Visiting Professor of Fantasy Literature at the University of Glasgow.

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