Harcourt Children's Books, Hardcover, 9780152051235, 274pp.
Publication Date: September 2004
Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability--with a glance, a gesture, a word--to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill.
In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world's darkness, gifts of light.
"Gifts, in the context of Le Guin''s newest, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist''s admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu for another full-length young adult novel. . . . While intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec''s story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics." Booklist, 8/01/04 (starred review)