The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

When World War II hero Simon Tregarth finds himself the quarry of a manhunt, a mysterious scientist offers him a strange escape: passage into an alternate dimension through the Siege Perilous. Tregarth doubts the power of a magical stone, but it transports him to another existence, where he encounters a fugitive like himself, running from an equally deadly if much more primitive manhunt. This self-reliant young woman cannot speak Tregarth’s language, but she appears to sense his good intentions and accepts his help. Together they escape the pursuers and rendezvous with a party of armed allies. These Guardsmen, led by exiled warrior Koris of Gorm, escort Tregarth and his female companion back to her homeland of Estcarp.

In Estcarp, Tregarth learns that the power of this ancient land is founded not on the military might of its men but on the magical talent of its women. The fugitive he rescued is one of Estcarp’s “witches,” learned women who can combine mental powers with magic, providing they remain nameless and untouched by a man. Because of the fear these witches inspire, Estcarp finds itself besieged by its neighbors, Alizon and Karsten. To the west is a more ominous threat, the mysterious Kolder who have come from “oversea” to pillage the coast and make mindless slaves of its inhabitants. Tregarth gives his whole-hearted allegiance to the seemingly doomed land of Estcarp and becomes a Guardsman.

The fight against the Kolder...

(The entire section is 480 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Norton's stories are notable for a distinctive use of motifs. She links many of her tales by echoing objects, names, and settings. Certain...

(The entire section is 286 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

All the Witch World books deal with a struggle of old orders and some tentative new social balances. Power in the form of modern technology...

(The entire section is 335 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Simon Tregarth, a disgraced American army officer whose black market dealings have unwittingly driven him outside the law and made him into a...

(The entire section is 936 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Simon is part of the action hero tradition that goes back to medieval romances. Like an Arthurian knight, he follows a quest, vanquishes...

(The entire section is 127 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Witch World is the first of a series of Witch World books. Web of Witch World (1964) completes the Kolder wars and ties up...

(The entire section is 216 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Licenses have been granted by Norton for items such as Witch World maps, stationary, and acrylic sculptures.

(The entire section is 17 words.)