The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Silver May Tarnish

9th Novel in the [Witch World: High Hallack Series] by Andre Norton

This book was written solely by Lyn McConchie but set in Andre Norton’s Witch World, hence marketed as collaboration.


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index] N/A - Published after 1996

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here] [Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:

(2006) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-34553-6, $6.99, 320pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos


The Dales of Andre Norton’s Witch World has endured wars, natural disasters, the predations of strange creatures, and treachery. None loves the land as well as Lorcan, orphaned at birth, who has sought his birthright for as long as he can remember. Exiled from his native land when it was invaded by Alizon, he spent his youth in Paltendale where he was treated as an outsider, especially by Hogeth, an heir of that dale, who resented Lorcan’s presence when both were still young men.
When he came of age, Lorcan left to seek his own destiny. Since then, he has fought valiantly to rid the Dales of the Alizon invaders, but not even his efforts can prevent the deaths of many people, and the destruction of many keeps and garths. The war now over, he has survived, but so have those who would plunder the lands of the survivors. And among the plundering bandits is his nemesis from Paltendale, now more bitter and determined to vanquish Lorcan.
During his travels Lorcan has joined with five blank shields, who, fighting together for common cause, become his boon companions. Then he meets a young noble lass, from a dale known as Honeycoombe for its beekeeping. Her dale has been decimated by the war, but with Lorcan and his band, she will try to rebuild a home where they all can live in peace. Lorcan feels that he might at last find happiness with the valiant fair maiden. But Hogeth now leads marauders across the dales, destroying what they cannot rightfully have, and there will be no peace in the dales until Lorcan and Hogeth settle their old, bitter score.

Timeline Points:

  1. p1. Lorcan born in Erondale in the Year of the Pard.
  2. p2. Two siblings died of the Coughing Sickness in the Year of the Pronghorn, some years before the Year of the Pard.
  3. p3. Alizon making trouble - Lorcan is nearly eight.
  4. p7. Meera, Lorcan's sister born, their mother dies.
  5. p9. Anla 14 - a year later, Merrion is 17, Lorcan is 8.
  6. p11. Another 2 years - Meera dies aged 2, word was of war, Lorcan 10. Spies in High Hallack. Year of the Moss Wife ends.
  7. p12. Invasion.
  8. p13. Father & Merrion die.
  9. p15. Aged 10, Lorcan is Lord of Erondale and reaches Paltendale.
  10. p21. Three years later.
  11. p26. Three months later.
  12. p27. Six months later - Berond died - Lorcan is 14.
  13. p29. Lorcan is 15.
  14. p42. Were-Riders gathered once more - Were-Riders fighting for nearly three years - near end of Year of the Hornet. Lorcan is 17.
  15. p43. Battle of Hagar Pass.
  16. p47. Nearly a year passed, Lorcan 18 Years old at end of Year of the Unicorn.
  17. p52. Meive (narration) “I lay in my bed remembering that year when I had been ten and eager to learn” She is chosen to be trained by the “Wise-Woman of the Bees” as her apprentice.
  18. # p53. Two years before, when Meive was 8 a 13yr old boy named Neeco was not accepted by the hive and left the village.
  19. p55. Ithia the Wise-Woman says, “Keep her with you two further Winters. Once she is twelve, let her join me in my home…” Meive (narration) “For two years I was happy.” “But a year before Ithia bespoke me, she had gone on a journey. From that she had returned with two new queens. They were larger, blacker, and fierce.”
  20. p61. Meive (narration) “I had just turned thirteen.” Ithia spoke then. “…Spring comes swiftly now.”
  21. p75. Meive (narration) “The cheeky lad I recalled was gone. In his [Neeco's] place a man of eighteen strutted.”
  22. p77. Meive (narration) “I was a girl and only thirteen.”
  23. p86. Meive (narration) “Summer came—for the third time I believed. If I was right, then I was now sixteen.”
  24. p88. Meive sees Lorcan for the first time. (Spring, the year after the Year of the Unicorn.)
  25. p140. Lorcan (narration) “It had been late Spring when I met my lady. Now it was Summer.”
  26. p181. Levas says “We named her [the kitten] Gathea.” Both Lorcan and I recognized the name. It was that of a legendary wise woman who had been with our people when first we came into the dales. (see: Horn Crown)
  27. p211. Lorcan (narration) "It had been Spring when Devol laid hands on me, almost Summer when Meive freed me…It had been Spring again when we reached Tildale. Now it was almost Fall. Belo and his comrade had set out seeking one to pay my ransom neigh eighteen months gone."
  28. p224. Lorcan (narration) “That first Winter was one I think I shall never forget.”
  29. p286. Meive (narration) “On the longest day of the year we were wed, Lorcan and I…”
  30. p294. Appendix is a study of the song “Silver May Tarnish” and it’s variations attributed to “Lautron of Alsvale, song gatherer of Lormt. Year of the Pard.”


Sorcerer's Notes:

Lorcan's Age

Meive's Age

Year Name




Year of the Pronghorn

Coughing Sickness



Year of the Pard

Lorcan born



Year of the Moss Wife



Year of the Fire Troll

War begins



Year of the Leopard



Year of the Gryphon



Year of the Raven?



Year of the Night Hound?



Year of the Fire Drake



Year of the Hornet

Battle of Hagar Pass, Alizon defeated



Year of the Unicorn

Lorcan fights bandits and travels south.



Year of the Red Boar

In spring of this year, Lorcan is caputured by bandits. Meive saves Lorcan from these bandits in summer. They begin wandering the Dales looking for people to repopulate Honeycoombe.



Year of the Hippogriff

In spring of this year Meive and Lorcan visit Tildale. Almost a week after they leave Tildale they come across the few people left of Drosdale and rescue them from bandits. Four days later they hire Levas and his men. Sometime later they go south-east and enter Erondale where Lorcan removes some of the treasure. From there it is a slow ten-day journey to the edge of Merrowdale. They rest there the night before arriving in Honeycoombe the next day. Laer that year Meive goes to the Inn of the Forks to gather more people and arrives back with more people. It takes five days to get to the Inn at a reasonable pace. There were now twenty-four in Honeycoombe. It is this winter that Hogeth decides to come after Lorcan, but he and his army are killed.



Year of the Roc

Lorcan and Meive wed as are Levas and Elesha. Lord Silas and his people arrive in summer and settle in Merrowdale. Meive is pregnant by the end of the year and will give birth before the summer of the next year.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: The Sword Seller

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 Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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