`Ware Hawk

~ 6th Novel in the Witch World: Estcarp Series by Andre Norton

Nominated by Locus Magazine in 1984 for the Best Fantasy Novel



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of 1983 dustjacket ~

For as long as she could remember, Tirtha had been haunted by a recurring dream that drove her to return to Hawkholme, the ruined stronghold in Karsten that for generations had been home of her family. The vengeful Duke Yvian put to outlaw and killed all her blood but her parents. She knew that, as one of the last of the Old Race, she was mysteriously bound by spell to fulfill a mission at Hawkholme whose purpose was not revealed to her.
Tirtha was ready at last to begin the dangerous journey. With her went the Falconer, a member of a fighting group whose Eyrie had destroyed when the Witch Women overturned the rugged mountain range as a final defense of Estcarp. He was a blank shield, for hire. Tirtha had a small talent for farseeing in dreams. The Falconer was joined by a falcon, who kind had always partnered each Falconer as scout and companion. Beset by perils on every hand, they at last won through to Hawkholme only to find that the greatest test of their courage, strength and steadfastness must still be met.
This dark and brooding tale, the seventh of the widely acclaimed Witch World fantasy saga set in Estcarp, throws its own spell upon the reader as it sweeps to an unforeseeable climax in a novel of extraordinary imaginative power.



Write-up from the back of the Ballantine Del Rey paperback edition ~

Nightmare Journey
Tirtha was the last of the line of Hawlholme. Men who hated those of the Old Race had destroyed her clan, and she alone lived to carry the burden of her family’s destiny.
Driven by a powerful magic to return to her ancestral home, she set out into the twisted, ruined mountains of Estcarp. Her hired guide was a Falconer, a man of an ancient warrior race who was also alone in the world, and falconless.
But a Dark One was determined to foil their mission – and only together could they hope to stand against its awesome powers.
“Deeply enmeshed in sorcery and magic, the story is taut with conflict and suspense.” - The Horn Book Magazine



Write-up from the back of the UK paperback edition ~

Tirtha was the last of the line of Hawkholme. Those who hated the Old Race had destroyed her clan, and she alone shouldered the burden of her family’s destiny.
Compelled by a powerful magic to return to her ancestral home, she set out into the desolute, ruined mountains of Estcarp. Her guide was a falconer, a man of an ancient warrior race who was also alone in the world…
But a Dark One was determined to foil their mission – only together could they hope to stand against its awesome powers.
“Deeply enmeshed in sorcery and magic, the story is taut with conflict and suspense.” - The Horn Book Magazine
“Her story-telling gift is phenomenal” – Anne McCaffrey



Write-ups from fans ~

A geas has been put upon Tirtha, the last of the family from Hawkholme in Karsten. She was born in Escarp after the Horning and before the Turning.
She has an undeniable need to travel to her ancestors' estate and find some mysterious object and keep it safe from the forces of the DARK. She can't do it alone so she hires a blank shield who happens to be a falcon-less Falconer with one hand. This fighter, Nirel, and Tirtha find the going tough through the mountains that were tumbled by Escarp's Witches. On the way, Nirel finds a magic sword and is befriended by a free falcon of the same breed as the one he used to partner with. Together, they rescue an strange invisible boy who barely escaped the forces of evil that had sacked the estate where he had been living. The boy, Alon, is powerful in the ways of magic and is also a target of the DARK POWER from Escore. The evil entity wants Alon and the treasure that Tirtha's family has guarded for hundreds of years. It's a definite page-turner. ~ PG



Tirtha is the last legitimate descendant of the Lord and Lady of Hawkholme just across the border into Karsten.  After working since adulthood at menial labor, she has finally saved enough money to hire a guard-escort to return to Hawkholme to recover a treasure she has seen only in dreams--the Lady of the manor putting a casket into a concealed room.  The guard/guide she finds at the hiring fair is a Falconer, who has lost both his falcon and his left hand.  With some trepidation, she does hire him, knowing the Falconers' attitude towards women.  While crossing the new-Turned mountains into Karsten, they are attacked by a foul creature of the Dark, but together vanquish it.  Later, they come across the remains of the Falconers' Eyrie, and a "wild" falcon joins them, attaching himself to the Falconer.  The bird leads the Falconer to a place where Karsten's forces had been caught by the avalanche of the Turning, and points the man to a sword/knife retaining some Power.  Once they reach Karsten, Tirtha needs to enter a trance so she can far-see the path to the ruins of Hawkholme, but what she sees is not her path, but a vision of a brutal raid upon a newly established garth of a Karsten citizen.  Together she and the Falconer ride to a possible rescue and find Alon, a young child, so terrified by the raid that he has managed to hide himself by becoming invisible. The  falcon aids them in bringing the child back to himself, and the three of them continue the journey to Hawkholme, where they encounter the forces of the Dark who had raided Alon's home, and who also are trying to gain possession of Tirtha's "treasure."  While regaining the treasure, Tirtha is badly wounded, Alon is captured and the Falconer is badly wounded and left for dead.  Alon's newly-awakened powers enable him to escape, taking Tirtha with him into the open, where they are joined by Crytha, Yolan and Urik. Nirel (the Falconer) makes his way to them, and all of them join forces to defeat the Dark One. ~ SL



Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1983 by Debbie Notkin in Locus #272, September
1983 in Best Sellers, December
1984 by Robert Coulson in Amazing Science Fiction, May
1984 by R. Coulson in Amazing Science Fiction, June
1984 by Roger C. Schlobin in Fantasy Review #69 (fnz), July
1984 by Michael M. Levy in Fantasy Review #70 (fnz), August
1984 by A. Flowers in Horn Book, October
1984 by S.L. in Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, November
1985 by Greg Hills in Lan's Lantern #16, March
1985 by Debbie Notkin in Locus #272 (fnz), September
1990 by Andy Sawyer in Paperback Inferno #82
2017 by Judith Tarr at TOR.com, Sept. 25



Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Pauline Griffin, whose encouragement and suggestions brought this tale into being.



Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1983) Published by Atheneum, HC, 0-689-50287-7, 978-0-689-50287-3, LCCN 83002835, $11.95, 214pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan {Brown Cloth Boards}
  • (1984) Published by SFBC, HC, # 3683, $4.98, 178pg  ~ cover by Jack Gaughan {Red Paper Boards, “Book Club” on Front Flap}
  • (1984) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-31685-1, $2.75, 258pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger ~ Price of $3.50 also 1984 but for Canadian market, 4th printing in 1988 $2.95 US $3.95 Canadian, 5th printing 1990
  • (1989) Published by Gollancz, PB, 0-575-04499-3, £3.50, 258pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Brian Waugh
  • Witch World: Swords and Spells (2004) Published by SFBC, HC, 0-739-44532-4, # 1166844, $14.99, 482pg ~ cover by Scott Grimando ~ Omnibus containing Trey of Swords (1977), Ware Hawk (1983) & The Gate of the Cat (1987)
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-938582-34-9, DM, $3.99, 173pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-99-4, DM, $3.99, 196pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge ~ re-released in 2017 with new cover-art by Ian Koviak



Non-English Editions ~

  • (1991) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-708-2004-2, 222pg ~ translation by Ewa Witecka ~ cover by Steve Crisp ~ Polish title Strzeż się sokoła [Beware of the Falcon]
  • (1997) Combined with "At Swords Point" ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-859-49094-1, 416pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by Don Maitz ~ Russian title На острие меча [The Sword]
  • (2001) Combined with "The Crystal Gryphon" translation by B. A. Segalovsky and "The Gate of the Cat" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-08589-3 and 5-792-10447-6, HC, 635pg ~ Ware Hawk" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by Luis Royo ~ Russian title Хрустальный грифон. Берегись ястреба. Кошачьи врата.
  • (2001) Combined with "Lore of the Witch World", "Were Wrath" and "Zarsthor's Bane" translation by Dmitry Arseniev and "The Toads of Grimmerdale" translation by H. Mikhailov ~ Published in Moscow, by AST and St. Petersburg, by Terra Fantastica, 5-170-07078-0 and 5-792-10403-4, HC, 640pg ~ Russian title Преданья колдовского мира. Гнев оборотня. Сокровище Зарстора.



View the 2001 Russian contract