Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spell of the Witch World by Andre Norton

Andre Norton’s famous Witch World series began with Witch World (1963) and continued for many years. Spell of the Witch World (1972) is notable for being the first DAW collector’s book, although it was seventh in the Witch World series. The Witch World books can be read as stand-alone novels although I think you’ll benefit from reading them in the order presented below. Spell of the Witch World is DAW # 1 therefore making it a collector’s item paperback. Copies are easily found on e-bay at wildly divergent prices. Don’t be fooled by false claims: Spell of the Witch World is not a rare book. They printed truckloads and as I mentioned, it’s not hard to find. You should expect to pay no more than $5 to $10 for a solid unblemished copy. I often see it offered for much less. The “High Hallech” entries take place on a different continent in Norton’s immensely popular alternate world fantasy series. I’ve only read the titles listed here. There are others including collaborations with other authors. Spell of the Witch World is pretty good. Norton wrote mythic fantasy as well as anyone could. That’s why I picked up her books when I encountered them. The writing immediately transports you to another time and place. Essentially, three connected stories (the first being the longest): “Dragon Scale Silver,” “Dream Smith” and “Amber Out of Quayth.” Of these, I recommend “Dragon Scale Silver” as the focus, a tale of the Hallech region told by Elys, twin of Elyn, and of their tribulations. Reminiscent of the tales of the brothers Grimm, the three staves of Spell of the Witch World are notable for Norton’s strong prose.

THE “WITCH WORLD” SERIES (partial listing)

Witch World (1963)
Web of the Witch World (1964)
Three Against the Witch World (1965)
Year of the Unicorn (1965) High Halleck Cycle
Warlock of the Witch World (1967)
Sorceress of the Witch World (1968)
Spell of the Witch World (1972) High Halleck Cycle
The Crystal Gryphon (1972) High Halleck Cycle
The Jargoon Pard (1974) High Halleck Cycle
Zarsthor's Bane (1978) High Halleck Cycle
Lore of the Witch World (1980)
Gryphon in Glory (1981) High Halleck Cycle 
Horn Crown (1981) High Halleck Cycle


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