The Gates to Witch World

(aka) Annals of the Witch World

and Witch World Saga 1-3

~ An Omnibus for the Witch World: Estcarp Series by Andre Norton

includes: Year of the Unicorn from the High Hallack Series


Contains ~

  • Witch World (1963) Published by ACE, PB, # F-197, $0.40, 222pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan
  • Web of the Witch World (1964) Published by ACE, PB, # F-263, $0.40, 192pg ~ cover and illustration by Jack Gaughan
  • Year of the Unicorn (1965) Published by ACE, PB, # F-357, $0.40, 224pg ~ cover and illustration by Jack Gaughan


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 2001 dustjacket ~

More than thirty years ago Andre Norton wowed readers with the first book in her preeminent Witch World series. Now, the first three installments in this legendary series are collected here for the first time.
Simon Tregarth, a man from our own world, escapes his doom through the gates to the Witch World. There he aids the witch Jaelithe’s escape from the hounds of Alizon, only to find himself embroiled in a deeper war against an even deadlier foe: the Kolder.
The Kolder linger on, a constant threat to Simon and the witches he’s sworn to protect. To save their world from this threat from another dimension, Simon and Jaelithe must venture to the heart of the poisonous Kolder realm and vanquish them for good or witness the enslavement of their world.
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish comes true, she finds more than a little adventure. As she ventures out, not only is her life in danger, but also the power that lies within her, waiting to be discovered.


Write-up from the back of the tradepaper edition ~

Andre Norton, a legendary author with millions of books sold worldwide, has been accorded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the highest accolade of the field. For decades she has enthralled readers with thrilling tales of people challenged to the limits of their endurance in epic battles of good against evil. None are more memorable than her Witch world novels. From the moment Simon Tregarth, a man with no place to turn on Earth, escapes to Witch World, this fabulous, strange world is filled with magic, action, and the company of unforgettable men and women who join the battle.
For too long, the first three novels of the Witch World have been unavailable. Now, for the first time, “Witch World”, “Web of the Witch World” and “Year of the Unicorn”, the most memorable of Andre Norton’s beloved fantasy series, are united in a single paperback volume, a trio of timelessly entertaining fantasies.


Write-up from a fan ~

 Witch World ~ starts out with disgraced Ex-Us Army colonel on the run from underworld assassins. He meets an old man who has the reputation of providing an escape for desperate people on the run. The old man takes him to an old house and has him sit in a stone chair beneath a stone arch. At dawn he sees a gate open in the arch and he lands on a grassy stretch of moors. He is definitely not on Earth anymore, but where is he?
He hears a hunting horn and rescues a young woman from a pack of hounds and hunters on horseback. She takes him to her home country Estcarp which is ruled by a council of virginal Witches (Women of Power). Estcarp is at war with the Kolder, and alien race bent on domination and world rule. Simon enlists in Estcarp's army and meets Koris whose home Gorm is held by the Kolder. We meet the Sulcars, master traders and warrior sailors, the race of misogynistic Falconers who with their telepathic falcons sometimes hire out marines on sulcar ships. Estcarp is beset from the west by the Kolder and threatened from the South by the Duchy of Karsten and from the north by the cruel hound-masters of Alizon. Simon has many puzzles to solve--he has seen Magic, Science, hi-tech and low-tech all mixed together. Also, Simon himself is an enigma to the Witches when they discover that he possesses a similar magic to their own. How can that be? Who and What are the Kolder, and can they be defeated? ~ PG

 Web of the Witch World ~ Picking up right after Witch World, Jaelethe discovers that her Powers have not altogether left her in spite of wedding Simon. She has a hard time convincing the council of Witches that this is the case, and they refuse to return her witch-jewel. Simon gets a "sending" that Loyse has been lured away, captured and taken to Karsten. Simon, Koris and 10 men sneak into Kars in disguise after stopping into Verlaine to kill Fulk and where the discovered that he had been under the control of the Kolder. In Kars, the Duke is killed and the Estcarpian forces escape only to get captured buy the Kolder who are still bent on taking over the world. Simon must use his latent powers to help locate the Kolder home base and the Gate that they used to enter the Witch World. Simon mentally calls Jaelethe to reveal the location of the Kolder base to the Sulcars and they team up to try to close the Gate. I recommend reading Witch World before reading this one. A page-turner with lots of adventure! ~ PG

 Year of the Unicorn ~ This is the most complicated Norton story, so far. Many years ago, Gillan a member of the Old Race of Estcarp was captured as a young girl by the Alizon forces who were waging war across the sea. Rescued by the Dalesmen of High Hallack , she grew up and was schooled the by the dames of Norstead Abby. Meanwhile, to defeat the Alizonders, the lords of The Dales made a pact with the Were Riders, a group of formidable fighters from the area known as The Waste. In return for the destruction of the forces of Alizon, The Dales would send 13 maidens to the Were Pack as brides. Gillan feels compelled to take the place of one of the chosen women. She has no idea about her background, but soon learns that she has "second sight" powers to see through some illusions. The Were Riders were, in truth, from another world and were trying to get back to the gate to go home. The brides were paired with Riders through a choosing of ensorceled cloaks. Gillan chose Herell, the least respected of the Pack. There ensued dissension in the ranks and all sorts of sabotage and skuldugery aimed against the couple. All the trials and tribulations, sorcery and malignant forces that Gillan must face to fulfill her destiny make one wonder if Andre didn't like Gillan. The book starts out fairly slow but picks up to a break-neck pace in the final chapters. I had forgotten how good it is. Personally, I prefer the other continent, but this one has its good points. ~ PG


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2001) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-30050-8, LCCN 2001041532, $27.95, 461pg ~ cover by Mark Harrison ~ map by Jack Gaughan
  • (2003) Published by Orb, TP, 0-765-30051-6, $17.95, 461pg ~ cover by Mark Harrison ~ map by Jack Gaughan




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