The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Zarsthor's Bane

4th Novel in the [Witch World: High Hallack Series] by Andre Norton

zarsthors bane 1978 95490 1 

See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

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


Edition Used for Analysis:

(1978) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-95490-1 , $1.95, 204pg  ~ cover by Manuel Sanjulian, illustrated by Evan TenBroeck Steadman 


Profusely illustrated by Evan Ten-Broeck Steadman, it borders on a horror story. The wars are over in High Hallack and Brixia, last survivor of the House of Torgus when the invaders razed her dale. Wandering with only a cat for companionship and scavenging for the means to survive, she comes across a young man, Dwed and his master, the dazed and confused Lord Marbon from Eggarsdale, a man obsessed on locating Zarsthor's Bane a talisman of great power and an heirloom of his house. They travel for a while together but get split up and Brixia feels compelled to follow the other three. She suffers many hardships and encounters many nightmarish creatures on the way, but she finds great aid in an unexpected place and form. Lessons learned from her wise woman nurse maid come in handy in day-to-day survival and she learns that she is stronger than she thought when she at last catches up with the three. A fast read, the many pictures help in the flow of the story. I had forgotten how good this book is. If you want to find out exactly what the Bane is and its final fate, read the book.

Timeline Points:

  1. p1. Chapter 1:
  2. p2. Brixia survived flight from invaders for some years.
  3. p6. 'Her [Brixia's] life for the past three years taught her the very slim edge which lay between life and death.'
  4. p8. Meeting of Brixia & Uta.
  5. p19. Chapter 2:
  6. p27. Fall of Moorachdale.
  7. p37. Chapter 3:
  8. p49. Dwed: "He [Lord Marbon] took a bad hurt at the Pass of Ungo—the same time as his foster brother [Lord Jartar] was slain." "When the fighting went against him [Lord Marbon] so grievously this past year, my lord came to think more and more of the Bane."
  9. p53. Chapter 4:
  10. p62. 'It was to The Waste that the lords of the Dales had, in their extremity of the seasons just past, gone for help against the invaders. And from The Waste had come that help—the Were-Riders—whom all men knew were not men at all but a daunting combination of man and feral beast.' (see: Gryphon in Glory and Year of the Unicorn) 'She [Brixia] had in her drifting, her fleeing and hiding, during the past two years skirted The Waste many times.'
  11. p71. Chapter 5:
  12. p89. Chapter 6:
  13. p107. Chapter 7:
  14. p123. Chapter 8:
  15. p139. Chapter 9:
  16. p155. Chapter 10:
  17. p175. Chapter 11:
  18. p191. Chapter 12:


Sorcerer's Notes:

  1. This story must take place either in the early autumn of the Year of the Hornet shortly after the Hounds of Alizon were driven from High Hallack and many Dalesmen formed outlaw bands or in the spring of the Year of the Unicorn (there is no mention of cold weather). That means Brixia fled the fall of Moorachdale in the unnamed year before the Year of the Gryphon or in the Year of the Gryphon. (see: Year of the Unicorn)
  2. Lord Marbon took his head wound when Lord Jartar was slain. If they were fighting the last of the Hounds, it must have happened in the Year of the Hornet. Surrounding dialogue suggests this is the case. Since his head wound and mental condition seems fairly recent, I would place this story in the late summer/early autumn of the Year of the Hornet shortly after the Hounds are defeated. (see: The Toads of Grimmerdale)

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Whispering Cane

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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