Wind in the Stone

~ A Novel in the Five Senses Series (Hearing) by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1999 dustjacket ~

The imagination of Grand Master Andre Norton is limitless; her evocation of strange and wonderful otherworlds is superb; her tale-weaving skills are incomparable. For six decades she has been an imposing and innovative force in the fantasy genre. Travel with her now to yet another stunningly different realm of dark wonders – and prepare to ensorcelled by a breathtaking new magic…
Wind in the Stone
Once the wind united the Valley with the Forest, enveloping them in the strongest of magics. It was a union that endured when the Darkness came, and through it the land was preserved, and the evil banished. The creatures of the Forest then retreated into their hidden glades, vanishing into the mist of legend. And the people of the Valley, blessed with the ability to hear the secret messages emitted by all living things, settled in to farm their lands. And so, there was peace for many centuries… until the Dark returned.
A student-mage—a thief of sinister scraps of knowledge stolen from the ancient halls of learning – seeks to enslave the Valley and destroy the Forest. To this end, the sorcerer had sundered a family, sending a mother and her infant –girl-child fleeing into the woods while holding the babe’s twin – a boy – captive in a black tower, to be used in later years to further the mage’s base goals of depraved domination. The mother dies but the girl survives and is adopted by the strange and elusive denizens of the Forest. Safe from the sorcerer’s influence, she grows to young womanhood, cultivating the cherished skill that has now been denied the others of her kind: the ability to truly hear the sounds of her world.
But her future will be fraught with trail and terror, for only she can smash the chains that shackle the Valley and its inhabitants. Here is a destiny to fear, yet one that must not be shirked – even as it impels her toward dread confrontations with sorcerer and demon minions. And it will force her to oppose the one she must conquer and free: the magician’s protégé and her most powerful adversary. Her bane, her blood.
Her brother.


Write-up from the back of the Paperback edition ~

Once the Wind united the Valley with the Forest, enveloping them in the strongest of magics which protected the land and banished the threatening Darkness. And there was peace for many centuries…
Until the Dark returned.
A mage, seeking to enslave the Valley and destroy the Forest, has brutally sundered a family. A mother has fled into the woods with her infant girl-child, while the depraved sorcerer holds the babe's twin--a boy--captive in a black tower. The mother dies but the girl survives. Adopted by the strange denizens of the Forest--safe from the mage's malevolent influence--she grows to young womanhood, cultivating a cherished skill that has been denied the others of her kind: the ability to truly hear the sounds of her world. But her future will be fraught with trial and terror, for only she can smash the chains that shackle the Balley and its inhabitants. It is her destiny to confront sorcerer and demon minions, and to oppose the one she must conquer and free: the magician's protégé and her most powerful adversary. Her bane and blood. Her brother.
“Stunningly vivid… a tale of ancient powers, bound and loose… Norton’s realistically portrayed characters are especially appealing. What more could you want from a story?” Starlog


Write-ups from fans ~

At the ancient Place of Learning, one apprentice chooses to study the old forbidden "black" arts. Just before his final examination, he tells the Council he doesn't think he’s intended to be a scholar, and leaves, after plundering one storeroom. The forbidden knowledge he's learned leads him to the Valley of Styrmir, where he takes over the Valley and suppresses the people till they are nothing but unthinking drudges. One family -- the one that most strongly carries the old Talent and is able to summon the Wind -- he leaves alone until one Mid-Winter Feast time when he sets the rest of the Valley people upon them. Then he seizes the newborn son of one of the daughters of the house to raise as "Demon's Son". He thinks he's managed to stamp out all resistance to his rule and that he can train up the boy to help him open the Gate to an Evil Dark One. He doesn't know that the boy he seized was one of twins and the mother escapes to the Forest, there to bear a daughter. The daughter is raised by the Forest People, children of the wind, who see to it that she learns all she can of the Old Magic. When both children are grown, the daughter leads the Forest People to prevent the evil one from opening his Gate and destroys him. ~ SL


The oddest of Andre's "senses" books. In the first part, she builds a world where the Wind is a sentient force that united the valley and forest until many years ago when Darkness rose and there was a terrible war. In the end, Darkness was banished, and the valley and forest lived in peace. But the covenant that ended the war had also bound the Wind to the forest with an anchoring stone. Many years later, Irasmus, a student at the mysterious Place of Learning decides to embrace the Dark and rule the world. Using forbidden knowledge, he summons minor demons, the Gobbes to act as an army. He leads these ugly, strong, foul-smelling creatures into the valley of Styrmir where they slaughter or enslave most of the people except for one family holding called Firthdun where the family keeps the old ways of wind and moon power and the "dreaming". A few years later this new Dark Lord has one of his slaves rape Sulerna, one of Firthdun's maidens. When she is due, the dun is attacked by the remnants of other duns in the valley. Fleeing the carnage, Sulerna goes into labor and Irasmus appears to take the newborn boy. He leaves the mother to die, but she flees into the forest where she gives birth to a girl, just as she dies at the foot of the wind's stone. This twin is rescued by Hansa, a female of the Sasqua, a race of gentle giants who lived in the forest in the blessing of the Wind.
Part two: several (15-20?) years later. Fogar, the male twin has been reared by Erasmus as an apprentice and taught Dark lore, but he secretly plots against his master. Falice the female twin has been honed into a weapon of the wind spirit Theeossa. She is destined to oppose the dark lord and try to free from servitude his apprentice--her brother! And she has to do it without breaking the Covenant. One of Andre's most complicated novels. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ Oct. 15, 1999

The latest novel by one of sf’s official Grand Masters is a variation on one of her favorite themes, the battle of light against darkness, with both sides aided by natural and magical forces. Long ago, the Wind united the Valley, but after a battle with Darkness, the Wind and the others were driven into the Forest, and humans’ ability to hear the Wind nearly died out. Now an ambitious young mage, greatly ruthless and helped by things better not described, tries to establish a tyranny by raising a male infant from a line of Wind-sensers. Others, however, raise the boy’s twin sister in the Forest. When she matures, she faces the daunting task of battling her brother to free the Valley. Norton has done this sort of thing often and, not infrequently, better, but this is a well-told tale, with well-realized female characters, that is admirably free of sophomoric flirting with the trendiness of darkness, evil, etc. Solid reading for Norton’s fans. — Roland Green


Review by Publishers Weekly ~ Nov. 01, 1999

A foray into the consciousness of its antihero opens this stately chronicle of evil vs. goodness from a veteran, celebrated author. Irasmus, formerly an apprentice at Valarian, the Place of Learning, has renounced his teachers and plundered their powerful cache of knowledge, with which he wishes to reawaken the Dark of Chaos, an evil kept in check for generations by the Covenant of Light. The imperfectly trained yet potent Son of Darkness begins building his empire with enslaved ""low-grade demons"" and, gradually, the people of the Valley. Among the captives, the villagers of Firthdun are unique in their adherence to the old ways; they nurture a lingering Old Blood ability to commune with the Wind, a natural force commanded by a female entity called Theeossa. Meanwhile, laboring to undo the damage unwittingly wrought, the mages of Valarian enlist the aid of Theeossa and the children of her Forest. To combat Irasmus, Forest and Valley inhabitants alike must place their faith and future in three youths of the Old Blood: a girl named Cerlyn, and a pair of twins born of a terrible rape. While skillfully conceived and deftly written, this novel moves slowly, for each advance is related from a variety of sketchy viewpoints. The inevitable showdown between the forces of dark and light thus arrives as more of a relief than as the thundering climax Norton (Scent of Magic) clearly intends it to be.


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

2000 by Leslie A. Clark in Talebones #18, Winter
2000 by Vikki Lee in Vector #210
2019 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

With deepest appreciation to Rose Wolf, without whose ability to read scribbled revisions and translate them into smooth prose this book would never have come to be and to Jennifer Brehl, an editor whose aid in a stressful time meant so very much.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1999) Published by Avon Eos, HC, 0-380-97602-1, LCCN 99036104, $23.00, 280pg ~ Limited Edition 220 copies ~ cover by Kinuko Craft ~ {Gold Paper Boards, Brown Paper Spine}
  • (1999) Published by Avon Eos, HC, 0-380-97602-1, LCCN 99036104, $23.00, 280pg ~ cover by Kinuko Craft ~ {Brown Paper Boards}
  • (2000) Published by SFBC, HC, # 05795, 0-380-97602-1, $11.50, 280pg ~ cover by Kinuko Craft {Black Paper Boards}
  • (2000) Published by Avon Eos, PB, 0-380-79556-6, $6.50, 338pg ~ cover by Kinuko Craft
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-938582-35-6, DM, $3.99, 243pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497657-05-2, DM, $3.99, 356pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge

  • The Five Senses Set (2017) Published by Open Road Media, DM, 978-1-504-04836-1, $8.99, 975pg ~ cover by unknown ~ omnibus containing Mirror of Destiny (1995), Scent of Magic (1998) & Wind in the Stone (1999


Non-English Editions ~

  • (2006) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo and St. Petersburg, by Domino, 5-699-18867-3, HC, 320pg ~ translation by N. Gaidash ~ cover by Michael Whelan ~ Russian title Ветер в Камне [Wind in the Stone] ~ Limited to 4100 copies
  • (2017) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 978-5-699-94076-9, PB, 320pg ~ translation by N. Gaidash ~ Russian title Ветер в Камне [Wind in the Stone] ~ Limited to 3000 copies


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (2013) Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699686629, HC, 512pgs ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Аромат магии [Scent of Magic] ~ Limited to 5200 copies


    • "The Scent of Magic" as "The Aroma of Magic" ~ translation by N. Vasilyeva, pp. 5-308
    • "Wind in the Stone" as "The Wind in stone" ~ translation by N. Gaidash, pp. 309-509


View the Original contract 

View the 2005 Russian contract

For information on editions currently available visit the Book Store


 There is a story that comes from people close to Andre about a Magical Stone placed by the local Indians years ago just behind where they were going to build the High Halllack Retreat. I was actually given a chance to hike through the Now Private Property and see the "Stone" that inspired the novel Wind in the Stone.     To see a map to this "Stone" travel over to the Plans for High Hallack


Review from Publisher's Weekly ~ 1999 11 1999


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