I had the pleasure of reading this brilliant book to my son. It's the story of a young man who grows up in a nation comprised of a sprawling archipelago. That nation was formerly a stable kingdom but is now overrun with competing factions and brigands and troublesome raiders. Into such a time, a child with magical ability is tolerated more than accepted, and the boy finds little favor until he manages to assist with the repulsion of a raid. After that, he's taken under the tutelage of a wise old wizard and eventually he finds his way to the great school of wizardry.
Where, in a moment of resentment, he unleashes a foul nightmare creature on the world. The creature slashes his face, leaves him utterly weakened, and goes off in the world to wreak further chaos.
What follows is the story of a multi-year effort by the wizard to first escape, then face, and then pursue that evil to the ends of the earth (and somewhat beyond). It's a tale that takes us to many harrowing places in the archipelago. There is a Castle Where Something Is Wrong. There is an Encounter With Great Future Portent. There is an Old Friend Who Will Help.
It's awesome. le Guin is so good that I would sometimes pause to re-read a passage in wonder. She is my favorite author of Sci-Fi/Fantasy.