Saturday 26 March 2016

Web of the Witch World, by Andre Norton

It's been about a year and a half since I first read Witch World, the first book of what became a long and complex series. This is the plot summary borrowed from my previous review:

"Simon Tregarth, an ex-soldier living on the fringes of the underworld and with a price on his head, is offered a chance to escape through a gate connecting this world with another better suited to him – which turns out to be the Witch World. This world has a fundamentally medieval society (what is it about medieval societies which makes them so common on other worlds?) with a few additions of strangely advanced technology. There is also sorcery, wielded by women in just one place, the land of Estcarp. Tregarth finds himself involved with Estcarp – and one of the witches in particular – in their struggle for survival against an inhuman enemy."

Web of the Witch World continues the tale a few months later. Simon Tregarth is now established in Estcarp as March Warder of the south, helping to defend the witch land against the purely human enemies which surround it. He is now married to Jaelithe, the former witch who had given up her status for him. A new threat is emerging, an inimical force with the ability to take over the minds of humans, turning them into enemies of their own people. It does not take long to identify the culprits as the alien Kolder, beaten at the end of the first story but now regrouping in their attempt to establish control over the witch world.

What follows is another exciting adventure, a tale of intrigue, battle and romance, during which it becomes clear that the belief of Estcarp's Women of Power – that magical powers could only be exercised by virgin women – proves to be wrong on both counts. Tregarth and Jaelithe, individually capable, become a force to be reckoned with when they fight side-by-side.

I must admit to wondering how the story was going to end as the remaining page count shrank almost to nothing while the battle was still raging, but the heroes finally manage the job in a rather abrupt ending which doesn't really explain exactly what the Kolder were up to. It's a fun ride, though, and well worth reading if you like Witch World. After this, the focus of the series switches to the heroes' children and to other lands within the witch world, but I think I'll bail out at this point – too many other books awaiting my attention!


Fred said...

Ghosts from the Past! Witch World--must be close to half a century now since I read most of them or maybe even all of them. She was a prolific writer; I'll bet she has over 75 novels to her credit, not counting the collaborations.

Anthony G Williams said...

I really must re-read the two Janus books of hers I have. They made a strong impression on me when I first read them.

Fred said...

I vaguely remember reading a book with "Janus" in the title, but I have no memory of what they were about.

Anthony G Williams said...

Broadly, human settlers on a newly-discovered planet find that it used to have intelligent life, who left behind certain objects which have a significant effect on those who find them.

Fred said...

Sounds like one of her Forerunner stories, a favorite theme of hers.

Anthony G Williams said...

According to Wiki, they are linked:

Featuring the Forerunners, an incomprehensible yet powerful vanished alien race whose artefacts survive them. This series is also tied to the "Janus" and "Dipple" books.

Storm Over Warlock (1960)
Ordeal in Otherwhere (1964)
Forerunner Foray (1973) – also in Dipple series
Forerunner (1981) – the first book published by Tom Doherty Associates under the Tor Books imprint[citation needed]
Forerunner: The Second Venture (1985)

The story of Naill Renfro who, changed by an alien artefact, sets out to protect the planet of Janus from external threats. Linked to the "Dipple" and "Forerunner" series.

Judgment on Janus (1963; also issued as Judgement on Janus)
Victory on Janus (1966)

The story of two men trying to escape their status as displaced people or "dipples". This series also has links to the Janus and Forerunner series.

Catseye (1961)
Night of Masks (1964)

Fred said...

Ah, those titles, going back, way back. I still have a couple of those old paperbacks around somewhere. Perhaps I may dig one or two out one of these days.

michelle said...

Someone please help me. I am trying to find this book. Actually it is a fiction trilogy. It is about a girl who do not know her past. She was snatched from her mother who turns out to be the Queen. She has a magical voice which lures different magical creatures on a tree. In this book there are human soldiers trained to be immune to magic spells to be hired by witches and wizards to be their protectors. Sorry for the wrong grammar.

Anthony G Williams said...

Sorry Michelle, don't know about that one.