The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

The Duke's Ballad

 9th Novel in the [Witch World: Estcarp Series] by Andre Norton

This book was written solely by Lyn McConchie but set in Andre Norton’s Witch World, hence marketed as collaboration.dukes.ballad


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index] N/A - Published after 1996

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


Edition Used for Analysis:
(2005) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-34552-8, $6.99, 320pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos


The Duke's Ballad is the tale of Aisling, a young witch from a family gifted with a magical power that she must protect from her brother Kirion. l le wields magic unlike the rest of the family‘s and gains power only through terrible means; by killing others who wield magic, Years ago, Aisling fled her native Kars when Kirion, working for Shastro, the Duke of Kars, tried to kill her, Since Aisling's departure,
Kirion has tightened his insidious hold on Duke Shastro, The malevolent sorcerer's dark influence works through Shastro to cast a deadly pall over all of Kars. A Fatal chain of events is triggered when Kirion pitches the people of Kars into a war with a neighboring clan.
Aisling recruits her younger brother. Keelan, and returns in disguise, determined to undermine Kiriun's power and unseat his evil pawn from the throne. Accompanied by a catlike telepathic beast, Aisling becomes part of Shastro's court. Even as she begins to learn the ways of court power, however, a brutally cold winter besieges the land, testing the endurance of the people of Kars, who have little cheer in that darkest season.
As Kars and its people contend with Kirion's depredations, the warring clan's raids, and the devastating winter, Aisling and Keelan must through guile, persistence, and ingenuity, somehow find a way to avoid the attention of their dangerous older brother and save the people from his murderous sorcery. Only if they can survive Kirion’s terrible power can they deliver the dukedom into the peace and prosperity it once knew.

Timeline Points:

  1. p13. Aisling says, “I’ve been here three years.” (since the end of Ciara's Song)
  2. p18. Hilarion is her teacher in the Valley of Green Silences. (No others of the Valley appear except an unnamed Krogan girl.)
  3. p128. “A message came from Hilarion. Escore has made a large advance in driving evil from the land. One of the Estcarp witches died but in doing so she has empowered the Light. The Darkness falls back.” (see: The Gate of the Cat)
  4. p201. “Aisling was twenty-two now…”


Sorcerer's Notes:

Aisling's Age

Year Name



Aisling completes her studies with Hilarion in Escore and returns to Karsten



The Coastal Clans threaten to lay siege to Kars city for mysterious deaths. Events of The Gate of the Cat take place.


Shastro and Kirion kill each other while Kars city is under siege of the Coastal Clans

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Isle of Illusion

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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Duplication of this collection (in whole or in part) for profit of any kind NOT permitted.

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