Witch World: Swords and Spells

(aka) Witch World Estcarp Cycle

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

witch world swords and spells sfbc hc


Contains ~

  • Trey of Swords (1977) Published by Grossett, HC, 0-448-14348-8, LCCN 77072636, 180pg ~ cover by unknown
  • `Ware Hawk (1983) Published by Atheneum, HC, 0-689-50287-7, LCCN 83002835, 214pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan
  • The Gate of the Cat (1987) Published by ACE, HC, 0-441-27376-9, LCCN 87009137, $16.95, 243pg ~ cover by Rick Lovell

Synopsis ~

Write-up from the flaps of the dustjacket ~

Through a Gate on distant earth, Simon Tregarth had come to a world where witches rule supreme. In the land of Estcarp – home of the Old Race, peace-loving heirs to archaic knowledge – he drove out invading aliens and became a great and respected leader. But his children, a warrior, a warlock and a witch, fled the witches’ rule, answering an ineffable call to the forgotten land of Escore. There, they warred with the evil stirred to life by their coming… a peril that continues unabated…
Trey of Swords: Ancient heroes walk again when a half-blood weakling named Yonan finds a magical artifact and discovers his link to a lost battle of Witch World – a battle that must be fought again and won. While he travels back in time to halt the shadow army, Crytha, an untrained witch-girl, is forced to serve an evil Witch who is determined to thwart Yonan and reverse to past in her favor.
Ware Hawk: When men who hate those of the Old Race massacre her people, Tirtha alone survives to fulfill their destiny. Driven by visions to return to Karten, her ancestral homeland, she sets out with a hired guide – a lone Falconer from a legendary warrior race that holds women and magic in content. But a Dark One means to foil their mission, and only together can they hope to stand against its powers.
The Gate of the Cat: Like Simon Tregarth, Kelsie McBlair tumbles through a mysterious gate into a land torn by the terrifying forces of the Dark. Suddenly, she is the reluctant heir to a Witch’s Jewel, but with awesome powers come awesome responsibilities. Drawn against her will on a perilous journey, Kelsie will play a crucial part in the fate of the Witch World, for only she can pierce the savage heart of evil…


Write-ups from fans ~

Trey of Swords ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1977
Run-of-the-mill sword and sorcery proceedings, conducted in one of those poorman's-Mary Renault styles involving lots of fancy touches like "She bit upon her lower lip," together with many grave "fors," "sos," "suches," and "such-as-es." Yonan, the narrator, a diligent but unpromising young warrior-in-training in the household of a distant kinswoman, chances on the hilt of an ancient sword. Quite speedily it transpires that Tolar, the original owner, has returned (after being dead a few centuries) to share Yonan's body. Deep in the subterranean warrens of the noxious Thas, the hilt once more finds a blade and Tolar finds an ancient comrade in arms. Together they journey into the past to undo the disastrous errors of their long-ago "Lost Battle." The narrative is then taken up by Yonan's distant cousin Crytha, whose strange unrealized powers are of great interest to the sorceress Laidan--another one-time participant in the Lost Battle with a plan for revamping the outcome. Competent, inoffensive stuff for the dark-rune and blazing-brand audience.

Ware Hawk ~ A geas has been put upon Tirtha, the last of the family from Hawkholme in Karsten. She was born in Escarp after the Horning and before the Turning.
She has an undeniable need to travel to her ancestors' estate and find some mysterious object and keep it safe from the forces of the DARK. She can't do it alone, so she hires a blank shield who happens to be a falcon-less Falconer with one hand. This fighter, Nirel, and Tirtha find the going tough through the mountains that were tumbled by Escarp's Witches. On the way, Nirel finds a magic sword and is befriended by a free falcon of the same breed as the one he used to partner with. Together, they rescue a strange invisible boy who barely escaped the forces of evil that had sacked the estate where he had been living. The boy, Alon, is powerful in the ways of magic and is also a target of the DARK POWER from Escore. The evil entity wants Alon and the treasure that Tirtha's family has guarded for hundreds of years. It's a definite page-turner. ~ PG

The Gate of the Cat ~ An American woman inherits an estate in Scotland and goes over there to claim it.  What she finds infuriates her "tree-hugger" mentality, and she intends to rescue a wildcat from the farmer hunting it down.  Instead, she gets into a brawl with the guy and receives a knock on the head that rolls her into a stone archway, which turns out to be a Gate to Witch World. She lands in Escore just in time to see a Witch of Estcarp foully killed by evil beings and is given the witch's Jewel.  It carries with it a geas to search out what the Witches hope will be a new source of Power to revitalize their sisterhood after so many had died during the Turning. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2004) Published by SFBC, HC, 0-739-44532-4, #1166844, $14.99, 482pg ~ cover by Scott Grimando



Open menu