Silver May Tarnish

~ 9th Novel in the Witch World: High Hallack Series by Andre Norton

Written solely by Lyn McConchie but set in Andre Norton’s Witch World

Hence marketed as collaboration.



See Also: A brief Author's Note: for The Key of the Keplian


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 2005 dustjacket ~

The Dales of Andre Norton’s Witch World has endured wars, natural disasters, the predations of strange creatures, and treachery. None loves the land as well as Lorcan, orphaned at birth, who has sought his birthright for as long as he can remember. Exiled from his native land when it was invaded by Alizon, he spent his youth in Paltendale where he was treated as an outsider, especially by Hogeth, an heir of that dale, who resented Lorcan’s presence when both were still young men.
When he came of age, Lorcan left to seek his own destiny. Since then, he has fought valiantly to rid the Dales of the Alizon invaders, but not even his efforts can prevent the deaths of many people, and the destruction of many keeps and garths. The war now over, he has survived, but so have those who would plunder the lands of the survivors. And among the plundering bandits is his nemesis from Paltendale, now more bitter and determined to vanquish Lorcan.
During his travels Lorcan has joined with five blank shields, who, fighting together for common cause, become his boon companions. Then he meets a young noble lass, from a dale known as Honeycoombe for its beekeeping. Her dale has been decimated by the war, but with Lorcan and his band, she will try to rebuild a home where they all can live in peace. Lorcan feels that he might at last find happiness with the valiant fair maiden. But Hogeth now leads marauders across the dales, destroying what they cannot rightfully have, and there will be no peace in the dales until Lorcan and Hogeth settle their old, bitter score..


Write-ups from fans ~

Lorcan a boy of 8, whose home hold of Erondale, was wiped out in the war with Alzon had fled with his father's chief armsman to the Hold of Paltendale. Growing up treated as an encumbrance, Lorcan learns hunting skills to earn his keep. Finally, in one last push to drive the Alizonders out of the Dales all the Dales forces become united under Lord Imgry.

Lorcan is 16 and a competent fighter now so he asks Lord Paltendale if he may leave. The Lord becomes enraged and tells him that he must leave as he came, a naked beggar. Lorcan reminds the Lord that he came with a horse and offers to pay for board and keep he had received. He mistakenly tosses a gold coin down instead of the silver one he'd intended. The coins were his own, his last inheritance from his father. After the war, Paltendale's third son the only survivor of the House remembers this gold coin and is determined to gain the supposed treasure for his own.  ~ SL


This is a story of The Dales at the end of the Alizon wars and events in the aftermath of all the destruction in the Dales. Thirteen-year-old Lorcan is the only survivor of Erondale and flees to Paltendale and the safety of distant kin. He is a hard worker and when he grows older, he becomes a blank shield and takes up arms against the Alizon invaders. After the war he is wandering and gets captured by a band of outlaws who want the hold him for ransom, and then kill him. He is rescued by thirteen-year-old Meive, the lone survivor of Honeycoombe (aka Landale). She has the power of communication with bees and the favor of The Lady of the Bees, an OLD ONE of Power. Her large warrior bees protect her wherever she goes. Lorcan becomes he liege man and together they set out to rebuild Honeycooombe. It is a tough job and slow going, but after a few years and a lot of adventures they start to collect people to move into and rebuild Honeycoombe. Just when things are starting to look up, word comes of another Dale Lord who has hated Lorcan since childhood and plans an attack. Love, hatred, loyalty, treachery, magic, good folk, bad folk, and a song. A page turner, indeed. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ Dec. 01, 2005

Lorcan, former heir to Erendale, must make a new life for himself after the wars with Alizon. While traveling, he falls into the hands of bandits, from whom he is rescued by Meive, a beekeeper and lady of power, who has lost her own kin. They work together to rebuild Meive’s dale, aiming to create a haven for those who have lost land or kin and are willing to work for the common good. In this well-crafted fantasy set in the late Norton’s Witch World, she and McConchie, her collaborator on two previous Witch World novels, have produced a seamless page-turner. Although the basic setting is familiar after more than 40 years’ worth of Witch World stories, the book’s quite convincing picture of a land without rulers or laws in the wake of disaster is more than a little timely. — Frieda Murray


Review by Publishers Weekly ~ Oct. 10, 2005

Though fantasy veteran Norton, who died earlier this year, receives first billing, New Zealander McConchie indicates in her acknowledgments that she, with her mentor's blessing, wrote this entertaining, if unspectacular, novel set in Norton's Witch World. When invaders destroy 10-year-old Lorcan's family and lands, he becomes the Keep Lord of Erondale. Five years later, the destitute lad has managed to master some weaponry and strikes out on his own. Due to hidden wealth entrusted to a faithful family retainer, he's no longer penniless, but he still needs all his resourcefulness and courage to survive. Meanwhile, Meive of Landale, a young beekeeper, loses her home and family to outlaws. Meive can communicate with her bees, who in the tale's most unusual twist are magical warrior bees led by the wise and powerful Bee-Goddess. Aided by the hymenopteran hivers, Lorcan and Meive set about freeing dalefolk from the tyranny of vile renegades and restoring Landale as a haven. Witch World fans will find this "collaboration" fits smoothly into the series.


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To Linnette Horne, old friend, and a truly good companion at many conventions.
- L. McC.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2005) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-30637-9, $24.95, 288pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos
  • (2006) Published by SFBC, HC, # 1197759, $12.99, 284pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos
  • (2006) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-34553-6, $6.99, 320pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos
  • (2010) Published by TOR, DM, 0-765-34553-6, $6.99, 405pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos
  • (2016) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no ISBN, $3.99, 232pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • (2018) Published by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, PB, 978-1-680-68024-9, $10.99, 266pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • As Book 8 ~ Witch World High Hallack Cycle (2021) Created by Podium Audio, Audible, length 9hrs & 55mins, $29.99 ~ narrated by Adjoa Andoh & John Lee

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

For information on editions currently available visit the Book Store



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