The Tombs of Atuan is the second book in the Earthsea Cycle. Set on a remote island ruled by the foreboding Nameless Ones, we find our protagonist Arha. Arha at the young age of six has been dedicated to the service of The Nameless Ones. Although Arha takes her role seriously, she is still a young child who is confused and frightened by the task before her. Arha is the only one on the island who is allowed to move freely about the labyrinths beneath the settlement; there the prisoners of The Nameless Ones are kept to die a slow and painful death. As Arha’s only friend and confidant dies, our hero Ged appears on the island in search of half of a ring that will save Earthsea.
Tombs of Atuan is a great science fiction fantasy book with rich, detailed descriptions that are frankly down right terrifying at times. Arha is a vivid character who plays the role of faithful and solemn servant as well as bright eyed child equally well. Le Guin does a fantastic job of tying Ged’s quest into Arha’s struggles. This book would be appropriate for high school students.