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The Gates to Witch World [Hardcover]

Andre Norton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 17 2001 Witch World Chronicles (Book 1)
The first three legendary Witch World novels from one of the most popular authors of our time-Publishers Weekly

Few authors have achieved such renown as World Fantasy Life Achievement honoree Andre Norton. With the love of readers and the praise of critics, Norton's books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Perhaps her best loved and most influential novels, the Witch World series have been too long unavailable to readers.

But finally, in the first of two ominibuses, Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Year of the Unicorn, the first three novels of the Witch World, are united for the first time so readers can once again step through The Gates to Witch World.

Witch World -- 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.

Web of the Witch World -- The Kolder linger on, a constant threat to Simon and the witches he's sworn to protect. To save their world from this threat from another dimension, Simon and Jaelithe must venture to the heart of the poisonous Kolder realm and vanquish them for good, or witness the enslavement of their world.

Year of the Unicorn -- Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish comes true, she finds more than a little adventure. As she ventures out, not only is her life in danger, but also the power that lies within her, waiting to be discovered.

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From Library Journal

This volume combines for the first time in hardcover the initial three installments in Norton's very popular "Witch World" series Witch World (1963), Web of the Witch World (1964), and Year of the Unicorn (1965). As long as you're ordering the Conan books (above) from Tor, you might as well get this, too.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Andre Norton creates an emotional bond with her readers, giving them more than worthy heroes and heroines living in an exotic and magical new world."
--RT Book Reviews

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The rain was a slantwise curtain across the dingy street, washing soot from city walls, the taste of it metallic on the lips of the tall, thin man who walked with a loping stride close to the buildings, watching the mouths of doorways, the gaps of alleys with a narrow-eyed intentness. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read Oct. 19 2003
Format:Paperback
If you like fantasy and are not acquainted with the works of Andre Norton, then this is an excellent starting point. Believable, heroic characters and a well thought-out "Witch World" combine to make for an enjoyable read. Simon Tregarth is transported through a mysterious gate into a world populated by people and other things not people. A struggle goes on between good and evil, and it's not clear who is winning. (But, we know who wins in the end - "good", of course.) The style of writing - more of a story that unfolds as it is read - is one strength that characterizes her writings. That, and the fascinating settings, imaginative perils faced, and strong likable characters make this a "must read". This is a refreshing hard-to-put-down story. It does not suffer from the typical overinflated, overwordy, overcomplicated, and overcharacterized (and lifeless) features of the usual fantasy megathon offered today.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, The Cover May Intrigue You... July 4 2003
Format:Hardcover
Now when I spotted this book, I thought it would actually be worth reading. Yeah, right. I hate Simon. I hate him with a passion. He was a lackluster character made by a ghetto character designer trying to sell the character for a rock. I did like 'Albino Chick' as I affectionately dubbed her who was a really good character unlike some people. Mainly because she acted like a real person. This author doesn't write in an interesting fashion and it's really really sad when you skip through all the parts just to find parts with 'Albino Chick.' The plot idea was okay but you'll probably fall asleep before you finish reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Andre Norton Does Indeed Write "The Good Stuff" Feb. 17 2003
By Sires
Format:Hardcover
The first Witch World novel was published in 1963 so this book almost marks the 40th anniversary.
In her Introduction, C. J. Cherryh refers to Norton's Witch World novels as "the good stuff". She is right. I am so pleased to have this omnibus collection of the three seminal Witch World novels although it can never replace my tattered old Ace paperbacks with the Jack Gaughin covers. It even felt a little odd to be reading clear text (minus some of the typos that Ace was notorious for) on a white page instead of the yellowing pages of the acidic paper of these old books.
However, I found myself just as caught up in the story of Simon Tregarth, the tarnished war hero who stepped through a gate ahead of an assassin into the world of Jaelithe, the Witch of Escarp, as I have ever been. The story of these two who fight, along with Koris of Gorm and Loyse of Verlaine, to try to preserve the ancient world of Escarp from the advance of the Kolder, is played out against a vivid background of cultures such as the Falconers, who value their hawks far more than their women; the Sulcar, valient seagoers; and last but not least the matriachal Witches who rule the land of Escarp through the power of the jewels and their minds.
The third book is Year of the Unicorn. It is set in High Hallack, a land of dales and small holdings. High Hallack has been torn by war with Alizon from overseas. This story is set after the war has been won when the Dalesmen are faced with meeting a bargain they made during their most desperate hours with a people they feared, the Were riders.
The premise is the barter of 13 brides for the services of the Were Riders against the hounds of Alizon. The heoine is Gillian, who also came from overseas on an Alizon ship as a child, but not of Alizon.
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Format:Hardcover
"Witch World". Of Cornish descent, court-martialed former US Army Colonel Simon Tregarth seems on a path to certain death due to his recent activities when he meets Dr. Petronius. The odd doctor introduces the desperate American to the world of his Cornish ancestors, which enable Simon to escape his earthly fate through the gate to Witch World. However, Simon quickly lands in a war against the powerful Kolder, who makes the Nazis look like pre-school children.

"Web of the Witch World". The Kolder continues to menace Simon and the witches he has vowed to keep safe, but the coven he wants to protect seems reluctant to accept him. To save his brave new world, Simon and a witch must journey to their enemy's stronghold and accomplish the impossible by defeating the Kolder in their home turf.

"Year of the Unicorn". In far removed from the war Norsdale, a bored Gillan obtains what she always desired, but soon learns that wishes that come true might not be what one really wants in life. Now she is embroiled in an adventure of a lifetime that probably means certain death for her unless she can enable the power within her to come alive.

THE GATES TO WITCH WORLD is a compilation of three of the best science fiction novels of the twentieth century. These books deservedly made Andre Norton a household name in the early sixties and yet the tales retain the freshness that enthralled readers then and will fascinate a new audience with its exciting plots and engaging characters.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your entry into one of Fantasy's greatest worlds July 16 2005
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Gates to Witch World" combines the first three published Witch World novels of Andre Norton. The first two concern the adventures of Simon Tregarth, and the third, "Year of the Unicorn" is a stand-alone fantasy set in the Dales of High Hallack.

As the first fantasy, "Witch World" (1963) begins, Simon Tregarth, who worked his way up to Lieutenant-Colonel on the battlefields of World War II, is a hunted man, unjustly cashiered from the U.S. Army for dealing in the post-war blackmarket. Since Simon had been labeled as a crook, he figured he might as well play the game.

After seven years in the underworld, surrounded by his enemies and a gunshot away from death, Simon treats himself to a decent last meal (Andre Norton heroes and heroines NEVER whine. They assess the odds, then keep on slogging). Enter the mysterious Doctor Petronius who persuades Simon that he has nothing to lose by vanishing from his enemies' gunsights through the Siege Perilous, a Cornish megalith that is rumored to be a gate to other worlds. Simon leaves the restaurant with Petronius, almost positive that he is walking into a trap. Instead of the bullet he is expecting, our hero is transported to the foggy moors of a new world.

The action doesn't let up. The first thing Simon does is rescue a witch from a nasty bunch of snake-headed dogs and hunters (we don't learn the witch's name until the very end of the book). The next thing he knows, he's embroiled in a war where the good guys appear to be losing.

Simon allies himself with "a tall, proud-walking race with...the carriage of rulers and an odd weight of years upon them." His new home, medieval Estcarp is a matriarchate, ruled by witches, whose powers depend on their continuing virginity.

Nevertheless, Simon falls in love with the witch he rescued.

The enemies that he and Estcarp must confront have invaded Witch World via a gate similar to the Siege Perilous. The alien Kolder are technically advanced, with submarines and mind-control devices that they use to command their zombie soldiers.

Estcarp's only allies are the Sulcarmen, seafaring warriors and traders who lose their main port of Gorm to the Kolder. Simon, his friend Koris of Gorm, the witch he rescued from the Hounds of Alizon, and a youthful soldier called 'Briant' tread the mysterious byways of Estcarp and its warring neighbors, in an attempt to track down and destroy the technically superior aliens.

"Web of the Witch World" (WWW - 1964) is the sequel to "Witch World" (WW- 1963) and continues the story of Simon Tregarth and the witch, Jaelithe. Thematically, both WW and WWW will seem very familiar to fans of the late, great Andre Norton: a conflict between technically advanced, but soulless aliens, and courageous, sword-wielding men and women, who are attempting to make one last stand against the Powers of Evil.

Simon Tregarth and his witch-wife, Jaelithe once again find themselves in combat with the alien Kolder, who invaded Witch World through a gateway from their own dying planet. The Kolder were temporarily stymied in WW, but Simon and his fellow warriors know that they must somehow close the gate between worlds before there will truly be an end to the alien evil.

Witch-ruled Estcarp must do battle with her own neighbors as well as the aliens. Yvian of Karsten declares open war against the witches, and they in turn believe that he has somehow been tainted by the Kolder. The Hounds of Alizon, seething with hatred against all things magical must also be tamed.

The third fantasy, "Year of the Unicorn" (1965) is a grand adventure, a love story, a coming-of-age novel set like a jewel amidst the fantastical Dark and Light of Norton's Witch World. `Unicorn' veers away from the `mainstream' Witch World adventures of the Tregarth family, but it is perfect in its own setting: the Wastes and Dales of High Hallack.

Each setting, each character is illuminated with clear description and color, like scenes from a medieval Book of Hours. Even though I first read this book in 1965, I can still close my eyes and see Gillan and the ancient Dame Alousan gathering herbs in the high-walled garden of Norstead Abbey. I can see the twelve and one high-born maids riding forth from the Abbey - the twelve and one maids who were promised as brides to the Were-riders of the Waste.

The heroine, Gillan realizes that she is not meant for the quiet life of her vowed companions. She possesses a magic that is forbidden to the goodly Dames, and a restless curiosity that is stifled behind the stone walls of the Abbey. And so she rides forth, disguised as the bride who had threatened to kill herself rather than marry a Were-rider. In order to survive, Gillan must rely on her unschooled magic to separate illusion from reality, and true love from the snarling masks of the Were Pack.

Lifetime Grand Master of Fantasy, Andre Norton built well. There are 35 Witch World (WW) fantasies, and the count is probably still rising even though this author passed away on March 17, 2005. Many of the later WW novels were collaborations, and it wouldn't surprise me if her co-authors attempt to live on in the world that the Grand Master created. I wish them well, but so far they have not managed to penetrate the brilliantly weird landscapes of Andre Norton's imagination.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Andre Norton Does Indeed Write "The Good Stuff" Feb. 17 2003
By Sires - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The first Witch World novel was published in 1963 so this book almost marks the 40th anniversary.
In her Introduction, C. J. Cherryh refers to Norton's Witch World novels as "the good stuff". She is right. I am so pleased to have this omnibus collection of the three seminal Witch World novels although it can never replace my tattered old Ace paperbacks with the Jack Gaughin covers. It even felt a little odd to be reading clear text (minus some of the typos that Ace was notorious for) on a white page instead of the yellowing pages of the acidic paper of these old books.
However, I found myself just as caught up in the story of Simon Tregarth, the tarnished war hero who stepped through a gate ahead of an assassin into the world of Jaelithe, the Witch of Escarp, as I have ever been. The story of these two who fight, along with Koris of Gorm and Loyse of Verlaine, to try to preserve the ancient world of Escarp from the advance of the Kolder, is played out against a vivid background of cultures such as the Falconers, who value their hawks far more than their women; the Sulcar, valient seagoers; and last but not least the matriachal Witches who rule the land of Escarp through the power of the jewels and their minds.
The third book is Year of the Unicorn. It is set in High Hallack, a land of dales and small holdings. High Hallack has been torn by war with Alizon from overseas. This story is set after the war has been won when the Dalesmen are faced with meeting a bargain they made during their most desperate hours with a people they feared, the Were riders.
The premise is the barter of 13 brides for the services of the Were Riders against the hounds of Alizon. The heoine is Gillian, who also came from overseas on an Alizon ship as a child, but not of Alizon. The hero is Herrel who does not fit into the mould of his kinsmen and thus has suffered all his life as an outsider in a very close knit group.
Published in the 60's these books have not aged a bit and are as fresh as the first time I picked them up.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read Oct. 19 2003
By V. Horadam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like fantasy and are not acquainted with the works of Andre Norton, then this is an excellent starting point. Believable, heroic characters and a well thought-out "Witch World" combine to make for an enjoyable read. Simon Tregarth is transported through a mysterious gate into a world populated by people and other things not people. A struggle goes on between good and evil, and it's not clear who is winning. (But, we know who wins in the end - "good", of course.) The style of writing - more of a story that unfolds as it is read - is one strength that characterizes her writings. That, and the fascinating settings, imaginative perils faced, and strong likable characters make this a "must read". This is a refreshing hard-to-put-down story. It does not suffer from the typical overinflated, overwordy, overcomplicated, and overcharacterized (and lifeless) features of the usual fantasy megathon offered today.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars three of the best science fiction novels of the 20th century Dec 5 2001
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Witch World". Of Cornish descent, court-martialed former US Army Colonel Simon Tregarth seems on a path to certain death due to his recent activities when he meets Dr. Petronius. The odd doctor introduces the desperate American to the world of his Cornish ancestors, which enable Simon to escape his earthly fate through the gate to Witch World. However, Simon quickly lands in a war against the powerful Kolder, who makes the Nazis look like pre-school children.

"Web of the Witch World". The Kolder continues to menace Simon and the witches he has vowed to keep safe, but the coven he wants to protect seems reluctant to accept him. To save his brave new world, Simon and a witch must journey to their enemy's stronghold and accomplish the impossible by defeating the Kolder in their home turf.

"Year of the Unicorn". In far removed from the war Norsdale, a bored Gillan obtains what she always desired, but soon learns that wishes that come true might not be what one really wants in life. Now she is embroiled in an adventure of a lifetime that probably means certain death for her unless she can enable the power within her to come alive.

THE GATES TO WITCH WORLD is a compilation of three of the best science fiction novels of the twentieth century. These books deservedly made Andre Norton a household name in the early sixties and yet the tales retain the freshness that enthralled readers then and will fascinate a new audience with its exciting plots and engaging characters.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent stories - problem is with e-translation. Feb. 11 2008
By A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have loved these stories for years, and have read and reread them.... Every time I discover something new. One of Andre Norton's gifts was to be able to endow her characters with hope; rarely do they give in to despair, and they never stay there long.
My concern with this electronic edition is that there seems to have been less attention to copyediting than usual. Whole paragraphs are misplaced at the beginnings and ends of chapters. If I didn't already know the stories well, it would be Very Confusing.
I hope this review will prompt some editing, and a revised (corrected) version!
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