Norton, Andre
book-date: 1967
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John Pound

A "Witch-World" novel by Andre Norton: Warlock of the Witch World. 5th in the "Witch World" series as originally presented, and second in the trio dealing with the adventures of the 3 children of Simon Tregarth and Jaelith. This is one of what I consider a core of 9 superior "Witch World" books - among her best, and highly recommended.

Since the coming of Kyllan, Kemoc, and Kaththea to Escore, the false calm which had existed was broken. Those who served the light met in the Green Valley to plan against the aroused Dark forces. There were the Green People, the horse-like Renthan, the winged Flannan, those of the Old Race from Estcarp who had answered Kyllan's call, and others from nearby holdings in the hills. Then there was Dinzil of the Heights, who showed favor to Kaththea, and whom she seemed to favor - much to the dismay of Kemoc, who hated Dinzil instinctively. Kemoc was chosen as an emissary to the amphibious Krogan, to sway them from neutrality. He got a cold response, and was ambushed on his way back. In desperation, he used knowledge he had learned studying ancient texts in Lormt - and was answered. His companions were not overjoyed at survival, but more concerned with what he might have woken. He goes out to bring in more of the Borderers of the Old Race, is ambushed again and this time is rescued by the Krogan girl Orsya - a close relative of their ruler. When Kemoc returns, he finds that Kaththea has left in the company of Dinzil - apparently willingly. After the current siege of Green Valley is broken and Kaththea has not returned, Kemoc vows to seek her, as closest of the three siblings. He tracks her across a maze in the waste, and has his futures read by the strongest of the Mosswives. All end badly - but Loskeetha points out that all futures are the sum of the choices we make, and that only 2 people have defeated the fates shown them. Dinzil is revealed as a would-be Great One, able to disguise his true nature, who sees Kaththea as a tool which he might use. Kemoc continues to follow the trail to Dinzil's stronghold, the Dark Tower. Along the way he rescues Orsya, who had been given to those of the Dark in Kemoc's stead. Kemoc tracks his sister to the Dark Tower where Dinzil has been training her to use her powers in this most alien space-time where appearances are inverted. Although he rescues Kaththea, Kemoc now has to wonder if he has done a good thing, for Dinzil has partially succeeded in turning her towards the Dark. Can he avoid the futures shown by Loskeetha?

I claim there is a set of 9 Witch World books that are the best - all of them meet her highest standards and are worth re-reading. There are as many or more other "Witch World" books as this set - not one of them is as satisfying as any of these. I'll be happy to sell as many good-condition single-copies or sets as I can find.

Witch World + Web of the Witch World - the first book in the series was a Hugo-nominee, featuring Simon Tregarth, a man of our world who passed through a gate to arrive on the Witch World, where magic worked. There an ancient nation of witches (Estcarp) is beset by Alizon to the north, and Karsten to the souith, with the worst threat coming from the Kolder - who do not seem to be native to this world. Simon's fate becomes entwined with the witch Jaelithe, and after a struggle to break the Kolder's power (the first 2 books) - they marry.

Three books feature their 3 children: one centering on each: Three Against the Witch World, Warlock of the Witch World, and Sorceress of the Witch World.

Then there are 4 books taking place overseas, in a region known as High Halleck. The Hounds of Alizon had been supported and armed by the Kolder - encouraged by them to seek conquests in any weaker land. The Hounds considered the Dales of High Halleck ripe for easy plucking, but their invasion foundered when support from the Kolder stopped. (No more high-tech tanks, and the ones they had stopped working.) The Dalesmen formed an alliance with the Were-Riders of the western Waste to drive off the invaders. Year of the Unicorn, Spell of the Witch World, The Crystal Gryphon, and The Jargoon Pard.