by Ursula K. LeGuin
, the "last" book of Earthsea
Tehanu is a Kargish name from one of the bright summer stars of Earthsea, known in Gont as the Heart of the Swan, or the Arrow.
Nearly twenty years after completing the Earthsea trilogy, LeGuin revisits her epic fantasy milieu, but the intervening two decades have changed her interests in storytelling. So while the events in Tehanu take place immediately after The Farthest Shore, the epic balance of power and magic in Earthsea take a back seat to the emotional and psychological aftermath of those events.
The protagonist of the novel is Tenar (some twenty five years since The Tombs of Atuan), and other familiar characters from the trilogy appear throughout Tehanu. But this is a very different novel than the first three: the writing is less epic, more personal, and the pacing slows to the pace of pastoral life on Gont. Focusing on Tenar, already the best developed character in the series, allows LeGuin to open up new perspectives on Earthsea, especially its sexual politics and what good and evil mean if you're not a mage.
Diehard fans of the trilogy were surpised at Tehanu's shift in focus. Some fans were disappointed, others intrigued at the chance to see a fantasy world re-envisioned (imagine if the follow up to George Lucas' Star Wars Trilogy had been a family drama set on Tatooine directed by Ang Lee).
* Make that, "next to last" book of Earthsea. In 2001, LeGuin added both a collection of short stories, Tales from Earthsea
, and a novel, The Other Wind
to the series.