The Farthest Shore is the third of a series of books written by Ursula K. Le Guin and set in her fantasy archipelago of Earthsea. It follows on from The Tombs of Atuan, which itself was a sequel to A Wizard of Earthsea


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Throughout Earthsea a strange malaise is spreading. Magic is losing its power; songs are being forgotten; people and animals are sickening. Accompanied by the young prince Arren, whose true name is Lebannen, Ged, also known as Sparrowhawk, now Archmage of Roke, leaves the island to find the cause of the problem. After an journey which takes them to the literal end of the earth, and into the land of the dead, they confront and defeat the mage Cob, whose magic has opened a doorway between the worlds. But Ged must sacrifice all his power to close the breach.

Le Guin offers us two endings to the story. In one, after Arren's coronation as King of Earthsea, Ged sails alone out into the ocean and is never heard from again. In the other, Ged returns to the forest of his home island of Gont. In 1990, seventeen years after the publication of The Farthest Shore, Le Guin opted for the second ending when she continued the story in Tehanu.


Like both previous books in the trilogy, this is a bildungsroman. The story is told mostly from the point of view of Arren, who develops from the boy who stands overawed in front of the masters of Roke, to the man who addesses dragons with confidence on Selidor.

Ged has also matured. He is no longer the impetuous boy who had himself opened a crack between the worlds in A Wizard of Earthsea, or the foolhardy young man who sailed the Dragon's Run and went alone into the Tombs of Atuan. Though the task before him is every bit as difficult and dangerous as any he had attempted before, necessity alone guides his actions now.