In Review: Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Tombs of Atuan’, illustrated by David Lupton

The central story of this book is focused on a young Tenor who is chosen by the Nameless Ones to be their next high priestess who is known as the Eaton One
Tombs of Atuan

Synopsis: When young Tenar is chosen as 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.



Review: Released last month by The Folio Society. The Tombs of Atuan sees the second in Ursula K. Le Gion’s Earthsea series get the Folio society treatment.


The Story

The central story of this book is focused on a young Tenor who is chosen by the Nameless Ones to be their next high priestess who is known as the Eaton One and is responsible for looking after the ominous Tombs of Atuan. The early chapters of the book very much deal with the dogma and the limiting life that Tenor finds herself living as she learns about her role in a rather strict nunnery of sorts.



However, as the story opens up we find that it is a real character study of how this young girl becomes a young woman and grows into her role as The Eaton One. The book starts off with Tenor questioning absolutely everything about her place in the world and it really takes a deep dive into her character while she experiences this grand adventure.

Things begin to get a little more interesting when Tenor starts learning her way through the labyrinth and meets the young wizard Ged who tries to steal from the Tombs and poses an interesting challenge to Tenor. Ged brings the light of magic with him. Which sort of brings some light into Tenor’s life given that she has known nothing but religious dogma and duty. The story is very much about how Tenor with some help from Ged finds her freedom. It is very much about Tenor’s growing pains. It’s quite a contrast to the story featured in the first book of the series, which was about Ged.


The Artwork

One of a few things that makes this edition of the book special is the 7 unique illustrations by artist David Lupton. This work is unique to the books released through the Folio Society which releases books as very much a luxury item. The artwork within the pages is very in keeping with the darkness that is present within the storyline of the book. Lupton’s paintings really stand out from the page and add a solid visual style that suits the narrative within the book and Tenor’s journey into light.





This is a real luxury item. When I opened the parcel that this book arrived in. I was pretty much blown away by the presentation, smell, and feel of the book. I was initially a little tentative about removing the book from the little box that it arrives in, which is made of high-quality cardboard with a colour that matches the book’s artwork. The paintings featured in the book are printed on nice textured glossy paper that feels nice to the touch. And the print is beautifully clear for the reader in that it is not too small or too big, but just right.

Overall. The Folio Society’s presentation of The Tombs of Atuan is a really enjoyable read and the presentation is wonderful. But if there is anything that could have been added to make it better. I think I’d have liked there to be some form of bookmark tied in with the book. A little like the bit of ribbon that I have in my journal to allow me to keep track of what page I am on.

Obviously, these books can be on the pricey side. But they are well worth it if you are looking for a unique reading experience as well as owning something that is somewhat of a statement collectible.


The Folio Society’s edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan, illustrated by David Lupton, is availble exclusively from

Ursula K. Le Guin’s 'The Tombs of Atuan', illustrated by David Lupton
  • Cover Art
  • Story
  • Illustrations
  • Presentation

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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