A Taste of Magic

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

Written with Jean Rabe

Taste of Magic


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of dustjacket ~

Wisteria is magically attuned to the world around her. Her senses relish the tastes of magic that the wonders of nature offer. But the peacefulness of her backwoods existence is shattered when her village is attacked by the raiding force of the bellicose Lord Purvis, who leaves only this twenty-something magic wielder and an adolescent lass as the inadvertent survivors. Wisteria has pledged herself to a mission. Now she and her young ward must brave the wilds beyond their home in pursuit of the ravager who destroyed everyone near and dear to their hearts. The woman with the Taste of Magic now has a taste for vengeance, and the blood oath she has pledged must be satisfied with the life of Lord Purvis.


Write-ups from fans ~

Wisteria, Called Eri, returns home from a successful hunt only to find all the people of her village slaughtered -- the Village's ruler Lady Ewaren brutally tortured. The one survivor is a young girl, Alysen, who has been sent by her family for Lady Ewaren to foster, and she survived only because the visiting "witch" (Nanoo Gafna) set s no-see spell on her. Alysen tells Eri that "they came for you", looking to kill a girl whose father had magic. The Raiders turn out to have been led by Lord Purvis, one of the Empress's factions, who had murdered the emperor and his food-taster, Eri's father.

They were supposedly seeking Eri to end the bloodline that the ability to taste magic. Eri vows a blood oath to slay the man responsible, but first she must get Alysen to safety in the "witch village" of the Nanoos in the fens. Then she discovers she must also rescue Nanoo Gafna who was captured in the raid on the village and is being tortured to make her reveal the location of the "the girl" they had come to kill. While Eri and Nanoo Shellaya come across another Nanoo, a male, who shows her how to scry to find her enemy -- who turns out is attaching the Nanoo village. Tuns out the whole purpose of the raid, the capture of Nanoo Gafna, the attack on the village was to get and kill Alysen -- not Eri -- who had been scrying on Lord Purvis and saw him kill both the emperor and his food-taster, Eri's father. ~ SL


In a world where everyone has at least a smidgen of wyse (magic ability) but very few are strong. Wisteria is strong in the wyse especially in the sense of taste. After her mother died, she was fostered to the village of Nar and was tutored on the wyse by Nanoo (witch) Gafna and in hunting and weapons by Bastien, a famous retired warrior. A few years after Bastien's death, she is out hunting and when she returns to the village, all the people except the young girl Alysen have been slaughtered by the evil Lord Purvis. Alysen tells Wisteria that Purvis was looking for Wisteria and that it was her fault that everyone was dead. She swears a blood oath to hunt down and kill Purvis. They leave to look for Gafna to put Alysen under the protection of the Nanoo who are super strong in the wyse. They have many adventures and at last, she leaves Alysen with the Nanoo, and Wisteria and one of the Nanoo go out questing to find Purvis and rescue Gafna whom they learn has been kidnapped. Then, they find out that Purvis was chasing Alysen and not Wisteria. Lots of twists and turns. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ Nov. 15, 2006

The companion to Scent of Magic (1999) follows the fortunes of Wisteria, who returns home from hunting, only to find bodies and blood everywhere. With the exception of 10-year-old Alysen, who was warded by one of the fen witches, everyone in the village is dead. The two youngsters set out on a perilous journey in search of the noble who sanctioned the carnage. As has been Norton’s wont throughout her long, illustrious writing career, her magic is steeped in and a part of the natural world, and Wisteria’s talent enables her to taste the air, forests, rivers, and all of nature. This is the last book Norton worked on before her death in March 2005, and she was unable to complete it. At her request, the manuscript and copious notes were given to Rabe. Although it has a few rough spots, the characters and the action will draw readers in and hold them. — Sally Estes


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

2019 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Sue Stewart … who made Andre smile.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2006) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-31527-0, 978-0-765-35127-4, $24.95 US $34.95 Canadian, 304pg ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2006) Published by SFBC, HC, # 1220014, $12.99, 303pg ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2007) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-35433-0, 978-0765-35433-4, $ 6.99. 304pg ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2013) Published by TOR, DM, 978-1-466-84597-8, $6.99, 304pgs. ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2018) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no ISBN, $3.99, 208pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth?

For information on editions currently available visit the Book Store



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