The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

A Question of Magic

A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by Marta Randall


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Tales of the Witch World 3] (1990) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-85044-1, 978-0-312-85044-9, $18.95, 467pg ~ cover by Victoria Lisi


Imrie doesn’t believe in magic and that is why at the Magician’s show she saw nothing while everybody else saw smoke monsters. Later that night she discovers her amulet is missing, it’s the only thing she has left of her mothers and she must find it. As she lays awake that night listening to the storm outside and thinking about her missing amulet she decides that the Magician or someone accompanying him must have stolen it during the show.

Meanwhile the Magician has moved on to the next Dale and the Lord Harkin wants to see the Magician make lightning. As the Lord and his party are on the roof of Harkin Castle and the Magician is trying to make lightning. As lightning strikes the Magician proclaims he did not do it and more lightning comes out of the sky and kills the Lord and his wife. Ryle the Lords son, Valon the Captain of the Guard, the Magician and his Apprentice are the only ones to escape as the castle is destroyed by lightning.

Imrie has snuck out of the house and is traveling to Harkindale to get her amulet back from the thieving Magician. As she approaches Harkin Castle the attack has reach its peak and she runs into the escaping party. The first thing she does is attack the Magician and demand her amulet back but of course he denies knowing anything about any amulet. Then Imrie and the other four see over the hill that an army of sea creatures that spit lightning are coming ashore and they run. While hiding they decide they must get to the next dale and warn then of the sea creatures.

They use some old mine tunnels remembered by Ryle to hide from the sea creatures as they travel to Colmera where Imrie lives. In the tunnels it is discovered the Magician does indeed have Imrie’s amulet and he is forced by Valon to return it to her. The they come across a green stone that makes everybody but Inrie battle illusions. Once they reach Colmera they can see in the daylight that the sea creatures are machines controlled by men but they are too late to save anybody. While discussing their next move Imrie suggest that they use magic against the invaders and they quickly form a plan to go back and retrieve the green stone and set it against the invading army. On the way to get in front of the invading army the Magician and his Apprentice try to steal amulet back from Imrie and the Apprentice boy is killed by the stone. In the end it does indeed take magic to destroy the invaders.

Timeline Points:

  1. p233. Raids on northern dales from The Waste.
  2. p234. Fighting 'Outlanders. Come across the sea.' 'always something after a winter'
  3. p236. Imrie 15.


Sorcerer's Notes:
This is set at the very beginning of the Invasion of High Hallack by the Hounds of Alizon, making this spring of the year of the Fire Troll. (see: The Crystal Gryphon & Dragon Scale Silver.)

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Stormbirds

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

Copyright ~


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