Ciara's Song

~ 8th Novel in the Witch World: Estcarp Series by Andre Norton

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

Hence marketed as collaboration.

ciaras song 1998 60644 8


When reading this book, one will notice some major discrepancies with the timeline of this story vs; The Key of the Keplian.

~ Having asked Lyn McConchie why the timeline discrepancies exist, her reply was: "This is down in a way to the publisher who decided they didn't need the 'intermission' that I wrote between books one and two. This was a dozen or so pages skimming over the intervening generation, and with it gone and nothing altered in book two, it left that time problem. I suggested that I rewrite, but they didn't want to wait and as I'd long since signed the contract they simply brought the book out." ~ (December 04, 2019 - Mike Brenner)

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


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~

The wonders and adventures of Andre Norton’s Witch World saga have thrilled millions. Now comes a new chronicle about the hidden realms of the Witch World…
The Darkness Over Karsten
Ciara of Elmsgarth is only a small girl when the edict is issued by the Duke of Kars: KILL ALL WITH WITCH BLOOD, AND TAKE ALL THEY OWN. A greedy mob murders her family, but Ciara is protected by the powerful Lord Tarnoor and his son, Trovagh. Safe in the isolated, siege-proof citadel of Aiskeep, Ciara and Trovagh grow, marry, and raise children.
Then the folly that grips Karsten worsens. Bigotry and corruption lead to crime, civil strife, war, and poverty--and the rise of an evil sorcerer, a black mage on a vendetta to destroy all Ciara has, and everyone she holds dear…
By the Authors of The Key of the Keplain


Write-ups from fans ~

A family of the Old Race living in Karsten learns of the thrice-horning, but they have no time to escape the slaughter.  They can, however, see to it their young daughter, Ciara, reaches a hiding place.  After the slaughter is over and done with, the Lord of the neighboring Keep rescues her and raises her as his own, with Trovagh, his young son.  When the children are grown, they marry and raise their own children, who have little of the look of the Old Race, since Ciara's father was only half Old Race.  So they live peacefully with the other Karsten people.  The oldest grandson upon reaching adulthood wants to go and live in Kars City, where he becomes corrupted by the vices of the major Lords there, and eventually tries to take over his grandparents' Keep, killing them and trying to kill his much younger sister.  She escapes, however, and makes her way to Estcarp. ~ SL


A two-part book, Ciara's Song is set in Karsten. Part one starts with Duke Yvian ordering the thrice horning of all members of the "old race" which meant anyone could legally kill and rob them. Nine-year-old Ciara was able to hide when her family was slaughtered. Powerful neighbor, Lord Tarnoor takes her in to hide her from those who would kill her. She grows up using Power for healing purposes. She marries Tarnoor's son Trovagh and bears him a son named Kirin who rebels and joins Duke Pagar's army to conquer Estcarp. Tarnoor is forced to join too. The Witches of Estcarp Turn and tumble the mountains to wipe out Pagar's army including Tarnoor and Kirin. End of part one. Part two concerns Kirin's children, Kirion, the eldest hates his siblings and dabbles in dark magic. Keelan, at first a spoiled brat, grows into the heir for Aiskeep. The youngest, Aisling has inherited Power from her grandmother Ciara, but it is growing beyond her control. She leaves her home to go to Escore to find someone who can teach her how to use her gifts safely. She faces many dangers on her quest. Will she survive and successfully find the answers to her dilemma? And how does Ciara's Song fit into this scenario? Read and find out. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ June 01, 1998

Any new story set in Norton’s popular Witch World profits from that world’s containing enough niches and loose ends to accommodate practically any new development. This installment covers events in Witch World (1963), Web of the Witch World (1964), and Three against the Witch World (1965) from the viewpoint of a family in southern Karsten. The main character is Ciara, whose family is killed in the genocide committed against the Old Race, and the story later includes her children and grandchildren. This collaboration displays the narrative mastery Norton is famed for, although it lets the pacing become a bit slower than is usual for her and does without her justly celebrated lyricism. By now, there is no shortage of Witch World fans in the vicinity of any respectable fantasy collection. They will heartily welcome this worthwhile addition to one of the master sagas of modern fantasy as well as to the literature of how heroic confrontations look to the mere mortals affected by them. — Roland Green


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

2022 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To animal-loving friends Helen McCarthy, Rachel Denk, Linnette Horne, and of course Andre Norton as always.
To them this book is dedicated; may their beloved associates live long and prosper.
- L. McC.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1998) Published by Warner Aspect, PB, 0-446-60644-8, 978-0-446-60644-8, $6.50, 245pg ~ cover and map by John M. Ford
  • (2001) Published by Oxmoor House, HC, 0-759-50179-3 ~ UK printing ~ cover by unknown ~ (NOTE: this release is somewhat in question. lists this as an Imported Item and is currently unavailable; it is also listed at but is unavailable. However, none of the Andre Norton Collectors that I have conversed with about it has ever seen or heard of this release.)
  •  (2001) Published by Warner Aspect, DM, 0-446-60644-8, $6.99, 259pg ~ cover and map by John M. Ford

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

View the Warner Digital contract




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