Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton
Web of the Witch World continues the story of Simon Tregarth, the modern man who escaped assassination by coming through a gate into the Witch World, and Jaelithe, a witch of Estcarp, as they fight the strange enemy who are invading their land. At the end of the previous novel, the Kolder, who are from a technologically advanced planet, had been defeated by the witchery of Jaelithe and her sisters (and it seems that Simon has some powers, too). Jaelithe gave Simon her name, thus showing her trust in (and love for) him, and Loyse and Koris declared love for each other.
But in Web of the Witch World the sappy stuff abruptly ends when Duke Yvian, formally betrothed to Loyse, kidnaps her because he needs to marry her to seal his claim to power in Karsten. This sets off another fast-paced science fantasy adventure in which everything is not as it seems, for once again our heroes discover that alien Kolder is influencing Estcarp’s enemies. Simon, Jaelithe, Loyse, and Koris must find and destroy the root of this evil while dealing with their own personal issues.
If you’ve read Witch World, you’ll definitely want to read Web of the Witch World since it is part two of the story — a direct continuation. Expect the same quick-moving plot filled with battles, captures, escapes, shapechanging, mind control, illusions, ships, and flying machines. Andre Norton created likable heroes and an interesting world, and the writing is pleasant, too. I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version read by Nick Podehl. He does a fine job — his narration isn’t particularly inspiring, but there’s nothing wrong with it either.
Where Witch World falls short of more excellent work is in the magic system, which is based mostly on telepathy and mind power. Thus, our heroes are able to do things by willing them strongly enough or by just “knowing” things, or sometimes through really good hunches. That works, I guess, but it’s not nearly as fun and exciting as the kind of stuff that, say, Brandon Sanderson dreams up. However, these novels were written in the 1960s — long before fantasy fans were demanding something “new.” Reading Andre Norton is valuable then, not just for a quick fun read, but also for an SFF history lesson.
Witch World — (1963-2005) This series, her most popular, is more properly called “science fantasy.” Many of these novels are co-authored, and some include related short stories. Some are available on audio. Publisher: The story of Simon Tregarth, who fled the Earth through an inter-dimensional gate and ended up in a world where magic worked and the forces of evil threatened the benevolent witches who lived there.
Witch World novels written solely by Lyn McConchie are found on our McConchie page.
Witch World: Estcarp — Andre Norton enthralled readers for decades 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. 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.
Witch World: High Hallack — Were-Wrath (the one with the funny cover) is a short story and a rare title — There were only 175 printed (but the story is also published in the Wizards’ Worlds collection).
Witch World: The Turning — There is an omnibus edition (Secrets of the Witch World) that contains the last three books.
Collections of short stories about Witch World — some stories are written by other authors
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