“The Word of Unbinding” — Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of innumerable SF and fantasy classics, such as The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, The Dispossessed, and A Wizard of Earthsea (and the others in The Earthsea Cycle). She has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, and is the winner of five Hugos, six Nebulas, two World Fantasy Awards, and twenty Locus Awards. She’s also a winner of the Newbery Medal, The National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

There are few fictional realms as well-loved and respected as Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea. It is a place of islands and water, wizards and words, and for more than thirty years, it has been a remarkable influence on the writers and readers of fantastic fiction.

While the books set in the Earthsea universe are most famous—A Wizard of Earthsea, the first Earthsea novel, was originally published in 1968 and remains in print to this day—the world was first introduced in our next story. It is the tale of Festin the wizard, an introverted lover of nature confronted by the dark greed of an evil sorcerer for whom one life is not enough.

As Festin struggles to escape from what he believes is eternal captivity, his powers as a wizard are challenged, and a hungry darkness revealed. As evil settles over his homeland, Festin must find a way to save not only himself, but the place he loves. 

Here is a classic story of one man’s courageous fight against evil—and the power we hold when we sacrifice everything for love.