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E. A. Lovitt
- Published on Amazon.com
"Lost Lands of the Witch World" is a reissue of the very fine Escore trilogy, featuring the adventures of Kemoc, Kyllan, and Kaththea, the three children of Earth-born warrior, Simon Tregarth and his witch-wife, Jaelithe. The three novels combined in this volume are "Three Against the Witch World"(1965), "Warlock of the Witch World" (1967), and "Sorceress of the Witch World" (1968).
Kaththea Tregarth, born one of three triplets, could link telepathically with her birth-brothers, Kyllan and Kemoc. At an early age, she was forcibly separated from her brothers and taken to the Place of Silence to be trained in magic by Wise Women of Estcarp.
In "Three Against the Witch World" narrated by Kyllan, the warrior brother, the triplets escape from witch-ruled Estcarp to the magical land of Escore. There, they accidentally destroy the false peace that had long abided between the great powers of Light and Dark. "Things awoke and gathered, and the land was troubled..." and the three learn that they must fight with the forces of Light, or be utterly annihilated by the Dark.
Unfortunately, in "Warlock of the Witch World" narrated by Kemoc, the wizard brother, Kaththea is wooed by the fair-seeming Dinzil, who is actually a creature of the Great Dark Ones.
Kemoc sets out to win allies against the Dark among the Krogan, who made their homes in the lakes, rivers, and waterways of Escore. When he returns from this failed mission, there are many other battles to be fought in the now-troubled land. During one such engagement, Kemoc is wounded and is almost captured by minions of the Dark, but is saved by the Krogan maid, Orsya. When Kemoc finally returns to the safety of the Valley of Green Silences, he discovers that his birth-sister Kaththea has ridden off to the stronghold of an apparent ally, Dinzil.
Off he goes on another quest into the magic-troubled land, where he meets with the gnarled Moss Wives, and Loskeetha of the Garden of Stones, Reader of Sands. Loskeetha shows Kemoc three separate futures--all which end in the death of his birth-sister, Kaththea, twice by his own hand!
Finally, she who was once a powerful witch is rescued by her brother, Kemoc, but because of her near-alliance with the Dark, Kaththea is stripped of her magic. No longer can she communicate mind-to-mind with her brothers, nor perform the simplest spell of healing.
A witch without her magic is a very dangerous thing to be in Escore: a vessel waiting to be filled by the Dark. In "Sorceress of the Witch World" narrated by Kaththea, the witch sister attempts to return over-mountain to Estcarp to seek help from the Wise Women, but is caught in an avalanche and then captured by a tribe of nomadic hunters.
Andre Norton is a scholar of Amerindian history and lore, and has incorporated her knowledge in many of her novels, e.g. "Sioux Spacemen" (1960), and "The Beast Master" (1959). The dog-sleds and temporary dwellings of the Vupsall, the people who capture Kaththea, are yet another example of Norton's borrowings from history and anthropology, although this particular Escorian tribe also works metal (maybe a touch of Finno-Ugric, rather than Amerindian).
At any rate, this author's careful attention to detail will bring to life the dimly-lit interior of Utta, the Wisewoman's tent where Kaththea begins to reacquire the magic that was her birthright.
The Dark receives a very satisfying thumping at the end of this fine fantasy trilogy, which does not suffer in comparison with Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books. In fact, my own personal preference is for Norton's Witch World.