Earthsea is Le Guin’s most well-known series and remains popular more than 50 years after the first book was published. The series has won many accolades throughout the decades including the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and many more.
What Order Should I Read the Earthsea Cycle Books In?
The best way to read this series is in order of publication, which matches the chronological order. There is a time jump between the first three books and the second three, with Tehanu taking place at least two decades after The Farthest Shore in Earthsea time.
As well, Le Guin thought that would be the end. For that reason, early editions of Tehanu include the subtitle “The Last Book of Earthsea.” However, Le Guin came to regret that error, as she still had questions to answer from this world.
She found the answers to many of those questions in the short story collection Tales from Earthsea. Following the collection Le Guin wrote the last full-length novel The Other Wind to answer her final questions.
The world of Earthsea begins with the sorcerer Ged, who was known as Sparrowhawk in his youth. A Wizard of Earthsea tell the story of how Sparrowhawk released a terrible shadow and then had to restore balance to the world.
The second book introduces the character of Tenar, who crosses paths with Ged and alters the trajectory of their lives. Some of the stories included in Tales from Earthsea predate Ged and Tenar, but it is the author’s recommendation to read the books in publication order.
- A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
- The Tombs of Atuan (1970)
- The Farthest Shore (1972)
- Tehanu (1990)
- Tales from Earthsea (2001)
- The Other Wind (2001)
Le Guin also published short stories taking place in Earthsea throughout the years, which we’ve included below. The Word of Unbinding and The Rule of Names both predate the first Earthsea book and detail the very beginnings of the world Le Guin would come to expand.
If you would like to read more classic SFF, you can check out our article about the Dune Books in Order by Frank Herbert.