Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Tombs of Atuan

The Tombs of Atuan
By Ursula K. Le Guin
Published by Simon Pulse
Published in 2001
ISBN-13: 9780689845369
192 pages

Synopsis from back cover:
When young Tenar is chosen as the high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away--home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs' greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain.

Prologue: "Come home, Tenar! Come home!"

This is my second Ursula K. Le Guin book and again, have enjoyed it tremendously. It is a short book at 192 pages but a good read nonetheless. The synopsis above gives a good overview of the book. In the first book A Wizard of Earthsea, readers are introduced to a young boy named Ged who is destined to be an Archmage, but first has to go through some hard lessons. He encounters a near death experience when he unleashes something monstrous. The deadly thing has caused the death of the then archmage in his attempt to save Ged.

Book Two, The Tombs of Atuan, takes readers into another magical journey where a young girl named Tenar is identified and chosen as the High Priestess of the Tombs of Atuan. She is born on the day the former high priestess's death at the same time and same hour. Tenar's mother tried to cheat her way out of giving away her daughter by creating some form of sickness, but to no avail. The time then comes to take Tenar away. She undergoes the rituals to become Arha, the Eaten One. She is now nameless and is no longer Tenar.

Tenar learns of the way in the labyrinth, the domain only she the high priestess has access to and no man is allowed entry. One day, she finds a man in her domain. That man is Ged (also known as Sparrowhawk) who is after the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. He is able to gain entry through magic but is trapped inside without a way out. Tenar and Ged get acquainted with each other but Tenar's friendship and trust for him do not happen on the spot for she is Arha.

In this story, it is about Tenar and how she discovers herself. Ged has a role to play but his role is a supporting one. Tenar gains an understanding that she has been living in a lie all the while and serving the wrong side. She has to make very difficult decisions. I admire her strength.

I have enjoyed The Tombs of Atuan and am now off to the third book in the Earthsea Cycle, The Farthest Shore. I know Tenar appears again in Tehanu, the fourth book in the series, and I really enjoyed reading it!

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