The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Places of Witch World ~ Karsten

Karsten is the third country introduced in the [Witch World] series. After Estcarp and the Dales, it is the country most often dealt with. It first appears in Witch World.

Capital: Kars

Government: Dutchy. There have been 3 Dukes of Karsten during the series: Yvian (Witch World/Web of the Witch World), Pagar of Geen (Three Against the Witch World) and Shandro (Ciara's Song / The Duke's Ballad).1

Geography: Karsten seems to be mostly plains. There are mountains to the north and to the east and ocean to the west. There are also mountains to the far south, though these are introduced in later books and only shown on later maps. In the south-east corner is a portion of coast of the eastern sea.

Surrounding Areas: To the north are mountains and the Eyrie and women's villages of the Falconers (at least pre-Turning). Beyond these lies Estcarp. To the north-west is the peninsula with Yle and Sulcarkeep (later, their ruins). To the north-east are more mountains and the land of Escore. To the east are mountains, though these appear to be purely coastal and only a small section of the east coast is easily accessible by Cynan's Hold. Somewhere to the far south is Salzarat, the former homeland of the Falconers. (see: Falcon Blood) To the south-west, somewhere off the coast, is the isle of Usturt, (in)famous for its spider silk. (see: Spider Silk) On the southern border is the ancient nation of Varn and the Port of Dead Ships. (see: Port of Dead ShipsThe Warding of Witch World)

Special Places:

  1. Kars is the capital city of Karsten and where much of the action in the country tends to take place. (see: Witch World)
  2. Verlaine is a coastal holding famous (or infamous) for its location and gaining off of the wrecks of ships. (see: Witch World)
  3. The Cave of Volt is located somewhere in the northern mountains of Karsten on the coast between Verlaine and Yle. (see: Witch World) Whether the Cave still exists after the Turning is unknown though it is mentioned in Three Against the Witch World that Koris returned the ax which is a good indication that it probably does.
  4. Garthholm is a town on the north bank of the river across from Kars. (see: Witch World)
  5. There is a small island at the mouth of Kars' river where Karsten prisoners were traded to the Kolder. (See: Witch World)
  6. Yost is near the west coast where they mine iron and trade it with the Sulcar. (see: Ware Hawk)
  7. Yar is near the west coast where they mine silver and trade it with the Sulcar. (see: Ware Hawk)
  8. The ruined keep of Hawkholme is located somewhere in the east near the mountains that forms the border to Escore. (see: Ware Hawk)
  9. Eleeri's Gate was somewhere in the far east of Karsten not far from Cynan's Hold. On the map included in The Key of the Keplian she arrived near the east coast of Karsten, south of the mountain border of Escore.
  10. Cynan's Hold is in the far south east of Karsten near the coast of the eastern sea and south of the mountain border to Escore. (see: The Key of the Keplian)

1. There is also a fourth Duke, Asfrid, mentioned in The Sentinel at the Edge of the World who was sometime before Yvian. And a fifth, named Louvain, mentioned in Darkness Over Mirhold who takes power sometime after Pagar and Shandro, as it's mentioned that the wars between Karsten & Escarp are over by that point).

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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