Simon Tregarth knows he’s about to die — he’s being hunted down by a professional assassin and he has a “feeling” that it’s going to happen tonight. But then the infamous Doctor Petronius interrupts Simon as he’s savoring his last meal and offers him an escape. Dr. Petronius’s services don’t come cheap, but this expense is a no-brainer (after all, you can’t take it with you). The only downside is that neither Simon nor Dr. Petronius knows where Simon is actually going, for he will sit on King Arthur’s Siege Perilous and be sent to a world where his soul is at home…
Andre Norton (her real name was Alice, but she chose to write SFF under a male pseudonym back in the 60s) is often called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy and was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society. I’ve been meaning to read Witch World for years and since Brilliance Audio has just released the first Witch World novel on CD, this was the perfect opportunity.
As expected, I enjoyed Witch World. Andre Norton’s language is pleasant, if not brilliant, and all the characters were instantly engaging. I liked Simon immediately — how can you not like a guy who has already killed two of his potential assassins and is now eating a steak dinner while waiting for the arrival of the last and best one? I also particularly liked Loyse, daughter of the odious Fulk, who doesn’t want to marry the equally odious duke.
Though decades old, the plot was quick, fun, and refreshing and I liked the blend of science fiction and fantasy. However, the book wraps up a bit too quickly and easily at the end; I could have used a bit more tension. But perhaps if you go straight on to the next novel (Web of the Witch World, also being produced on audio) you won’t feel this way since it’s a continuation of the story.
Nick Podehl was the reader for this book and he did an adequate job, though his voice could sometimes be described as plodding and soporific. Consequently, I didn’t find that his reading added anything to the story. It didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the story, but I was disappointed that it didn’t enhance it.
I’m looking forward to Web of the Witch World. I like Simon and his companions and I’m wondering what they’ll do next in Simon’s new world.
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