The Crystal Gryphon

~ 2nd Novel in the Witch World: High Hallack Series by Andre Norton

~ Spin-off: 1st in a secondary series called Gryphon

crystal gryphon


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1972 dustjacket ~

The curse of his forebears - who had looted one of the sacred places of the old ones, taken the forbidden treasure that glowed in the dark, and, thereafter, been visited with a painful, often fatal sickness - was handed on to Kerovan at his birth, though in a different form. His feet were not like those of other humans, but were small hooves, while his eyes were a strange butter-amber color. Yet he was his father's rightful heir to Ulm and was so brought up. When he was ten, his father arranged for his marriage to a fitting bride - Joisan - thought the two were not to meet until he was eighteen. Before then, invaders came to Ulm and, in the disastrous times that followed, both Kerovan and Joisan were sent fleeing. A link between them was unexpectedly provided by a small and beautiful crystal sphere with a gryphon engraved therein that Kerovon had found once and had sent to Joisan. Through incredible dangers and hardships their paths slowly converged, and, united, they journeyed to the farthest reaches of the wilderness, where only the Old Ones had lived, to save their people - and the world - from total enslavement and destruction.
In this utterly absorbing and original book of ensorcellment and high adventure, Andre Norton one again demonstrates her unsurpassed gifts as an imaginative writer and a leader in the field of science fiction.


Write-up from the DAW paperback editions ~

Paperback readers will be equally pleased, for The Crystal Gryphon is decidedly one of Andre Norton’s finest. Talking place in the same alien world as the bestselling Witch World novels, it is the story of Kerovan, half-human, half-something else, who sought his rightful heritage to the throne of Ulm at a time when strange sea invaders were shattering the old kingdoms and equally enigmatic manifestations of the Old Ones were coming again to interfere with humanity.

“Equals any of its predecessors in suspense, irony and shock” wrote the Tallahassee Democrat, and science fiction readers will add to those qualities those of marvel and fantastic adventure. 


Write-up from back of the TOR paperback edition ~

Here begins the saga of Kerovon of Ulmdale, born with the amber eyes and cloven hooves of the Old Ones, who seeks his rightful heritage as Lord-heir of Ulmsdale - and Lady Joisan of Ithkrypt, proxy-wed to Kerovan, who wears about her neck Kerovan's precious and powerful gift... a small crystal globe encasing a tiny gryphon.
Kerovan and Joisan - each forever entwined in the other's fate - their destiny clouded by dark evils which threaten to destroy their kingdoms. Together, they seek to unlock the wondrous powers they hold within them... and the mysterious secrets of the crystal gryphon.


Write-up from the UK paperback editions ~

Kerovan of Ulmsdale is born different from other children: he has small hoofs instead of feet, and his strange eyes are the colour of amber. Fearful tales spread about him – but is he really a monster, or has he inherited some of the power of all the mysterious Old Ones who inhabited his country long ago? And what about the potent magic of the crystal globe he sends to the bride he has never seen?


Write-ups from fans ~

Back to the Dales of High Hallack that we discovered in Year of the Unicorn. Sixteen Years ago the Lady of Ulmsdale unbeknownst to Lord Ulric dealt with DARK forces to forge a weapon to overthrow her lord. Kerovan, half-blood changeling was born with hoofs instead of human feet. His mother rejected him and he was given to an old friend of his father to rear. Lord Uric came now and then to visit him and check on how he was doing, At age eight, he was proxy married to Lady Joisan of Ithdale (also eight) to form an alliance and advance his son's interests as a ruler of Ulmsdale. Kerovan and his tutor travel the waste to learn more of the "Old Ones", the mysterious POWER-wielders of the past. On one trip he finds a crystal ball with a gryphon inside. He is amazed as the gryphon is the symbol of his house. He sends this to Joisan as a bride-gift and she sends back a miniature portrait of herself. Just before he can visit his bride, Alizon invades and starts a vicious war. Ulric is killed and Kerovan attacked and left for dead. He finds out all the conspiracies against him at home and decides to find Joisan, whose keep has been obliterated. They finally meet and wind up helping each other. This is an action-packed book with too much going on to relay. It is told in the alternate chapter, alternate narrator format like Moon of Three Rings. ~ PG


Ulric, the Lord of Ulmsdale, very much wishes for a male heir to succeed him.  To this end, he takes Lady Tephana as his wife, regardless of the fact that her line is said to have dealings with the Old Ones--and not good ones!  She becomes pregnant, and to ensure her child is born successfully, she intends to journey to Gunnora's shrine.  But a storm overtakes the caravan, and she winds up giving birth in another ruined place of the Old Ones.  This gives her a horror of the babe, who is born with hooves in place of feet, and she proclaims him monster.  However, Ulric is satisfied, and raises Kerovan as his heir, though Tephana insists he be raised apart.  She plots to have Ulric declare the daughter Lisana born a year later as his heir, with her husband (Rogear, a cousin) ruling as the Lord of Umsdale.  Ulric resists and arranges an ax marriage with Joisan of Ithdale, when both parties are still children. Before the time they would be truly wed, Kerovan sends Joisan a talisman of a gryphon encased in crystal.  War with Alizon comes to the Dales before Joisan and Kerovan are united.  Kerovan  joins the other Dales Lords' army, but is called home when Ulric becomes ill.  Rogear and Tephana's son from a first marriage ambush him and leave him for dead. He is not, though, and a mysterious stranger comes to his aid, supplying him with a mount and supplies for a journey.  Meanwhile, Joisan's Dale is overrun by Alizon warriors, but Joisan escapes and leads the pitiful remnants of the Dales people to the west, where Kerovan catches up with them, and leads them to safety. Joisan sees his hooves and takes him for one of the Old Ones. So when Rogear and Hlymer come, pretending to be Kerovan and his kinsman, she believes him.  Rogear induces Joisan into letting him handle the crystal gryphon. The gryphon is a key to power, and Rogear wants to use it for his evil purposes, to open a gate, but kidmaps Joisan to work the magic. Kerovan follows and rescues Joisan, destroying Rogear, Tephana, and Lisana.  - SL


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: Sept. 1st, 1972
Full dress Andre Norton adventure, set in the kingdom of Ulm where the hooved hero Kerovan -- cursed at once by his mother's evil magic and his father's uncertain ancestry -- fights to defend his land from the attacks of metal monsters (tanks?) and secure his place on the throne despite the scheming of his mother's relatives. In alternate chapters, his as yet unclaimed bride Joisan tells of her escape from the invaders with the help of Kerovan's gift -- a radiant (radioactive?) crystal gryphon -- and of her eventual acceptance of Kerovan, whom she at first mistakes for one of the Old Ones. All this adds up to more intrigue and spells and pseudo-medieval dialogue than such expressionless protagonists can support. One would like to know more about the past/ present world of Ulm, but a little less plot and some evidence that the author possesses a sense of humor would have made Kerovan more fully human. 


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

1972 by Charlie Brown in Locus #125, October 27
1973 by uncredited in Amra V2n58, January
1973 by unknown in Times Literary Supplement, September 28
1973 by Don D'Ammassa in Son of WSFA Journal #114 (fnz), November
1974 by Malcolm Edwards in Vector 67/68, Spring
1975 by J. Goldfrank in Son of WSFA Journal #175/176 (fnz), January
1975 by Fritz Leiber in Fantastic, February
1982 by Roger Schlobin in Fantasy Newsletter, March
2017 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To S.A.G.A.
(Swordsmen and Sorcerers Guild of America)
In recognition of their encouragement in our chosen field of Ensorcelling.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1972) Published by Atheneum, HC, LCCN 70190559, $5.50, 243pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan {Orange Cloth Boards, Green End Papers}
  • (1972) Published by MacMillan, HC, $5.50, 243pg ~ Canadian printing ~ cover by Jack Gaughan
  • (1973) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-01616-7, £1.50, 240pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by David Smee {Red Paper Boards}
  • (1973) Published by DAW, PB, 0-879-97076-6, UQ1076, $0.95, 192pg, UY1187 1975 $1.25, UE1428 1978 $1.75, UJ1586 1981 $1.95, UE1701 1982 $2.25 ~ cover by Jack Gaughan
  • (1976) Published by Peacock, PB, 0-140-47083-2, £0.75, 248pg - 1979 £0.80 ~ UK printing ~ cover by David Smee
  • (1985) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54738-1, $2.95, 255pg ~ cover by Boris Vallejo
  • (1987) Published by Puffin, PB, 0-140-32109-8, £2.50, 248pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Peter Andrew Jones
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, DM, eISBN 978-1-938582-33-2, $3.99, 203pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, DM, eISBN 978-1-497656-15-4, $3.99, 203pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge ~ re-released in 2017 with new cover-art by Ian Koviak


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1981) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, Terra Fantasy 92, DM6.80, 256pg ~ translation by Susi-Maria Rödiger ~ Cover art by Ken Barr ~ German title Der Kristallene Greif [The crystal griffin]
  • (2018) Published in Germany by APEX VERLAG CHRISTIAN DÖRGE, 978-3-7438-8575-2, DM, €6.99 ~ German title DER KRISTALLENE GREIF - Siebter Roman des HEXENWELT-Zyklus [THE CRYSTALLINE GRIFFIN - Seventh novel of the HEX WORLD Cycle]
  • (1991) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-850-7990-4, 237pg ~ translation by Elżbieta Krajewska ~ cover by Boris Vallejo ~ Polish title Kryształowy Gryf [Crystal Griffin]


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  •  (1992)-1 Publishedin Moscow by Nakhodka, 5-700-20001-5, HC, 368pg ~ cover by E. Tsarev ~ Russian title Кристалл с грифоном. Волшебница колдовского мира. Да здравствует лорд Кор! [Crystal with griffin. Sorceress of the witching world. Long live Lord Cor!] ~ Also sold with pirated dust jacket


    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal with a Griffin" ~ pp. 5-150
    • "Sorceress of the Witch World" as "The Witch of the Witching World" ~ pp. 151-300
    • "Long Live Lord Kor!" as  "Long live Lord Cor!" ~ pp. 301-361


  • (1992)-2 Published in Novosibirsk, by EYA, 5-872-16014-3, HC, 448pg ~ cover by M. Mikhalev ~ Russian title Колдовской мир [Witching World]


    • "Sorceress of the Witch World" as "The Witch of the Witching World" ~ pp. 3-126
    • "Year of the Unicorn" ~ pp. 127-222
    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal with the Griffin" ~ pp. 223-354
    • "Spell of the Witch World" as "Enchantment of the Witching World" ~ pp. 355-448
      • "Dragon Scale Silver" as "Part I" ~ pp. 355-401
      • "Dream Smith" as "Part II" ~ pp. 402-413
      • "Amber Out of Quayth" as "Part III" ~ pp. 413-448


  • (1992)-3 Published in Nizhny Novgorod, by Phlox, 5-871-98016-3, HC, 416pg ~ cover by V. Vasiliev ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]


    • Natalia Rezanova. Roads of the Witching World (foreword), pp. 3-4
    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal Griffin" ~ translation by T. Pronina, pp. 5-156
    • "Dragon Scale Silver" as "Dragon in silver scales" ~ translation by V. Chernykh, pp. 157-210
    • "The Toads of Grimmerdale" as "Grimmerdale Toads" ~ translation by T. Pronina, pp. 211-248
    • "The Year of the Unicorn" ~ translation by T. Pronina & G. Ivlenkova, pp. 249-354
    • "Amber Out of Quayth" as "Amber Hale" ~translation by T. Pronina, pp. 355-400
    • "Falcon Blood" as "Blood of the Falcon" ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 401-415


  • (1992)-4 Published in Moscow, by Culture, 5-8474-0373-9, 416pg ~ cover by Frank Frazetta ~ illustrations by Frank Frazetta and Sergey Shekhov ~ Russian title Королева ведьм [Witch queen]


    • "Exile's Quest" by Richard Mead as " Campaign of Outcasts" ~ translation by S. Levin, pp. 8-117
    • "Witch Quees of Locklann" by George Henry Smith as "The Witch Queen of Lochland" ~ translation by E. Plotkin, pp. 120-241
    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal Griffin" ~ translation by B. Sagalovsk, pp. 244-370
    • "Amber Out of Quayth" as "Amber Keita" ~ translation by A. Popov, pp. 372-407
    • E. Stepanov. Afterword (article), pp. 409-415


  • (1993)-1 Published by Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14010-0, HC, 416pg ~ "translation by N. Nesmelova ~ cover by C. Caldwell and M.P. Sanjuliana ~ Russian title Гаран вечный [Eternal Garan]


    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal with the Griffin" ~ pp. 3-180
    • "Year of the Unicorn" ~ pp. 181-302
    • "Garan the Eternal" as "Eternal Garan" ~ translation by N. Nesmelova, pp. 303-413


  • (1993)-2 Published in Moscow, by Artlik, 5-855-98012-X, HC 416pg ~ cover by N. Rosenthal ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn] ~ The collection "Enchantments of the witching world" was published without breaking down into individual stories.


    • "Year of the Unicorn" ~ pp. 3-118
    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal with a Griffin" ~ pp. 119-270
    • "Spell of the Witch World" as "Enchantment of the Witching World" (collection), pp. 271-378
      • "Dragon Scale Silver" as "Dragon bowl" ~ pp. 271-324
      • "Dream Smith" as "The blacksmith of visions" ~ pp. 324-337
      • "Amber Out of Quayth" as "Amber from Quait" ~ pp. 337-378
    • "The Toads of Grimmerdale" as "Grimmerdale Toads" ~ pp. 379-416


  • (2001) Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-08589-3 and 5-792-10447-6, HC, 635pg ~ cover by Luis Royo & G. Rudell ~ Russian title Хрустальный грифон. Берегись ястреба. Кошачьи врата. [Crystal Griffin. Watch out for the Hawk. Feline Gate]


    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal Griffin" ~ translation by B. Sagalovsky, p. 5-214
    • "Ware Hawk" as "Beware of the hawk" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, p. 215-438
    • "The Gate of the Cat" as "Feline Gate" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, p. 439-636


  • (2021) Published in Moscow by Azbuca-Atticus, 978-5-389-19693-3, HC, 576pg ~ cover by O. Zacis ~ Russian title Колдовской мир. Хрустальный грифон. Грифон торжествующий. Гнездо грифона [The Witch's World. Crystal griffin. The griffin is triumphant. Griffin nest] ~ Limited to 3000 copies


    • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal Griffin" ~ translation by B. Sagalovsky, pp. 5-180
    • "Gryphon in Glory" as "Griffin triumphant" ~ translation by G. Solovyova, pp. 181-376
    • "Gryphon's Eyrie" with Ann K. Crispin as"Griffin nest" ~ translation by G. Solovyova, pp. 377-556
    • "Of the Shaping of Ulm's Heir" as  "Heir to Ulmsdale" ~ short story, translation by G. Solovyova, pp. 557-574


  •  Pirated edition, marked as being published by "North-east", a non-existent publisher. ~ Russian title Кристалл с грифоном [Crystal with griffin] ~ see: 1992-1


Ukrainian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (2010) Published in Kyiv, Ukraine by Globe, (Fanzine) ~ 716pgs. ~ cover by RodneyMatthews ~ Ukrainian title Колдовской мир-3 [Sorcerer's World -3] ~ Limited to 10 copies and not released until October 2018


    • "High Hallack" as "Upper Holleck and Arvon"
      • "Horn Crown" as "A Crown of Woven Horns" ~ translation by N. Omelyanovich, pp. 5-161
      • "Year of the Unicorn" ~ translation by A. Gruzberg & O. Kolesnikov, pp. 163-269
    • "Spell of the Witch World" as "Tales of the Witching World"
      • "Dragon Scale Silver" as "Dragon bowl" ~ translation by Yu. Sokolov, pp. 271-326
      • "Dream Smith" as "The Smith of Visions" ~ translation by Yu. Sokolov, pp. 327-342
      • "Amber Out of Quayth" as "Amber from Quayt" ~ translation by Yu. Sokolov, pp. 343-386
    • "Gryphon" as "Griffin"
      • "The Crystal Gryphon" as "Crystal Griffin" ~ translation by B. Sagalovsky, pp. 387-525
      • "Gryphon in Glory" as "Griffin triumphs" ~ translation by D. Saveliev, & J. Saveliev, pp. 527-714


 See Also: The Sorcerer's Conspectus entry for this title.

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