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Norton, Andre
book-date: 1972
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Michael Whelan

DAW 8th printing (mid-Seventies) paperback. Cover by Michael Whelan, frontispiece by Jack Gaughan, 159 pages, $1.25 cover price. Condition is VG+: tight and square with flat spine, age tanning is mild and uniform; light wear to middle of cover (gets lost in the cover art - see scan.) No stamps, marks or writing - a clean copy.

A "Witch World" collection of a short novel, a story, and a novelet - set in High Halleck, just before and during the war with Alizon. This appeared as the 7th in the series, and is one of what I consider a core of superior "Witch World" books - among her best, and highly recommended.

"Dragon Scale Silver" - Elys and Elyn, twin sister and brother, have been separated by the Alizon invasion. Through her magic dragon cup Elys was assured of her brother's safety until one day a stain appeared and Elys realized he was in danger. Accompanied by Jervon, a wounded soldier she had healed, Elys sought her brother, prepared to die in battle for him if necessary. What she confronted at the end was not a human opponent, but a power greater than that of any but the strongest man.

"Dream Smith" - we are drawn into the world of a maimed silversmith and a crippled heiress who together discover that the foreign silver that has maimed him is a source of power and enchantment for both of them.

"Amber Out of Quayth" - the adventures of Ismay, an unwanted daughter who has been forced to marry a dealer in amber. From their first meeting Ismay suspected that her husband held a strange dark secret, but she was not prepared for the powerful Evil he had used before and was ready to use again.

P. Schuyler Miller once said this about Norton: "...the richness which Andre Norton lavishes on her portraits of the wonder-worlds of the Universe, the subtle warmth of the empathic relations she portrays between men and mutated animals... and above all the mysteries she suggests and half-reveals but does not explain away with rationalizations - these, in the words of another book, are stories, O my brothers!" He was referring to her "Time Trader" series, but I feel the quote applies to any of her best work. When Norton was at her prime (say, 1950 to 1975) - you could hardly go wrong. I find myself disappointed with her recent work, and really disapprove of "sharecropping" or diluting a major author's work by having lesser writers bulk out an outline by the major author. I like the way Norton tells a story: her phrasing, pacing, how she shows character, what wonders she reveals - nobody else compares.

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.