The Jargoon Pard

~ 3rd Novel in the Witch World: High Hallack Series by Andre Norton


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The Jargoon Pard

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Kethan, heir to the throne of Car do Prawn in the ancient land of Arvon. But his cousin Maughus was jealous and hated him, and Ursilla, his mother’s evil Wise Woman, had already begun to tamper with his destiny. One day Kethan is given a gift brought by the traveler Ibycus, a belt of incredible beauty possessing great powers. As it entices him, it becomes an obsession. It holds transformation powers that Kethan must figure out to control, for from this moment on, Kethan’s future was in other hands – and his body in a strange new shape.

 

Write-up from the front flap of 1974 HC ~

Kethan, heir to the House of Car Do Prawn and all its holdings, was deeply aware of the unrest and foreboding that filled the ancient land of Arvon. He was aware, too, that something had always set him apart from other men, though he knew not what. Increasingly he longed for freedom - from his mother, the Lady Heroise, and her Wise Woman, Ursilla, who hoped to use him as their pawn and rule through him; from the strange and evil Powers they served; from the intrigues of his jealous cousin, Maughus. With the gift of a belt, to which Kethan was strangely drawn, his life changed dramatically. It was made of leopard skin, its buckle a large yellow-brown stone - a jargoon - carved to resemble the head of the dreaded hunter, a snow cat. The belt had strange powers, through which the threads of Kethan's destiny began slowly to unwind. In a stunning confrontation between the Powers of evil and the Powers of good, in which Kethan nearly loses his life, he discovers his true identity and the path he must follow.
Andre Norton's remarkable imagination and extraordinary skill in creating outstanding science-fiction have never been more ably demonstrated. A companion volume to The Crystal Gryphon, this sword and sorcery fantasy will delight her host of admirers and create many new friends. 

 

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

The Shape-Changer
I lifted my head. My position seemed awkward. I could see only at an angle. But – I was on my hands and knees – No! I was – on four padded paws, wearing a body covered in light golden fur. I opened my mouth to cry out, but what issued from my jaws was a heavy half-grunt, half-growl sound…
He was called Kethan and the secret of his birth had been hidden – until now.
He had chosen to lead the great house of Car Do Prawn in the ancient land of Arvon. But his cousin Maughus was jealous and hated him, and Ursilla, his mother’s evil Wise Woman had already begun to tamper with his destiny.
Then one day Kethan was given a gift – a belt of incredible beauty and possessing great powers. From this moment on, Kethan’s future was in other hands – and his body in a strange new shape…. 

 

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

Cat People
In Arvon the ancient powers answer those who know how to call, and the blood of the Wereriders flows in the veins of those who are both Man and Cat.
Kethan was heir to the great house of Car Do Prawn because his mother’s evil Wise Woman had tampered with another’s birthright.
But one day Kethan was given a belt on incredible beauty and great power. From that moment, his future was again in others hands—and his body in a strange new form…

 

Write-ups from fans ~

Arvon during the Year of the Red Boar Heroise, Sister of Erach, Lord of Car Do Prawn needs a son to be heir to the House. She and her wise-woman friend Ursilla travel to the shrine of Gunnora for the birth.
Oops--- It's a girl! No problem; Ursilla cast a sleep spell over a couple in the next chamber and swaps the girl for their son and both parties leave for home satisfied. Kethan grows up as the heir, but his aunt wants her son to rule. So she buys a magical belt of Pard skin with a Jargoon carved into a cat's head and gives it to Kethan. He is wearing it at the next full moon and it turns him into a Pard (read: leopard). He flees the keep, hunted by his cousin. His belt is ripped off by a hawk in the service of Ursilla who wants to use him as a pawn to rule Car Do Prawn. Stuck in Pard form, he finds allies (who we met in Year of the Unicorn). He is captured by Ursilla who sets up a massive magical working at an ancient place of immense power. He will need all the help he can get to defeat Ursilla's fiendish plot. ~ PG

 

Following the custom of the Four Clans of Arvon, the Lady Heroise (sister to Lord Erach of the House of Car Do Prawn) will be the mother of the Heir to the House and Lordship.  When it comes time for her to give birth, she and her Wise Woman nurse Ursilla travel to the Shrine of Gunnora.  There they encounter a man waiting outside in the stable while his lady gives birth.  Heroise is certain she will bear the child who is the Heir to Car Do Prawn, but when the babe is born--it's a girl.  However, the other mother has just given birth to a son, so Ursilla casts a spell of sleep and forgetfulness on the mother and her midwife, then switches babies.  Kethan, as Heroise names him, grows up as the Heir, but is unsatisfactory to Lord Erach, as he cannot hunt, since horses and dogs seem to fear and abhor him.  Before he can be confirmed as Heir, there comes a trader in gems and other luxuries.  Kethan is drawn to a belt of fur with the buckle formed by a jargoon carved in the shape of a snarling cat's mask.   With malice aforethought, Lady Eldris (Heroise and Erach's mother, who favors Erach's children) gives Kethan the belt as a betrothal gift--he's supposed to marry his cousin and thereby secure the inheritance.  However, when he puts the belt on, he is transformed into the pard of the buckle's likeness.  Hunted away from the Keep, he encounters, and is saved by, his true father, unbeknownst to both of them.  Ursilla and Heroise realizing their plan has failed, hatch another plot to summon the girl child and somehow ensure that Kethan is made into the true child of Heroise, thereby giving Heroise the power and rulership she desires.  But Gillan and Herrel, and the girl they had raised as their own, pit their Powers against Ursilla in an ancient place of ceremony and win out over the evil she tried to raise. ~ SL

 

KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1974
If "jargoon pard" sounds like either an obscure spoonerism or an anagram, put yourself in a properly somber fantasy receptive frame of mind and be advised that a jargoon is a semiprecious stone and a jargoon pard is thus a leopard skin belt of magical werepeople properties with the power to turn young Kethan into a snarling pard beast. Announced as a "companion piece" to The Crystal Gryphon (KR, 1972), this is not a sequel, but a second chance for Andre Norton to expand on the Welsh accented neverland setting and the potential of half man/half animal natures. Expand she does with more gravely archaic dialogue, a full tarot reading for Kethan, an evil sorceress Ursilla heading up a cast of villains working at unfathomable cross purposes, and a full spectrum of magic, Green, Yellow and Red. All a bit overdressed for our taste, although anyone so inclined may immerse himself in a dazzling variety of supernatural spells, purple flames, moonflower wands, moly charms, Star Towers, snow cats, Arvon powers and so on. . .even a parting promise that "the whyfor will come to be discovered in time." Perhaps.

 

Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1974 Kirkus Reviews, September 01
1974 in Publishers Weekly, July 08
1974 in Booklist, September 01
1974 by E. Haynes in Library Journal, October 15
1974 by Jennifer Bankier in The Witch and the Chameleon, November
1975 by P. Heins in Horn Book, April
1975 by Saran Hayes in Times Literary Supplement, September 19
1975 by C. Moslander in Luna Monthly #60 (fnz), December
1976 by J. Rosenbaum in Science Fiction Review Monthly #11 (fnz), January
1976 by R. Tutihasi in SF Booklog #8 (fnz), April/March
1976 by Sandy Cohen in Delap's F & SF Review, April
1976 by Randal Flynn in SF Commentary #48/49/50 (fnz), October/December
1977 by D. Miller in SF & Fantasy Journal #89 (fnz), March
2017 by Judith Tarr at TOR.com ~ July, 31 

 

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Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

The author wishes to express her appreciation for the aid rendered on two technical matters connected with this book.
First to Mrs. Merrill Gladstone of the “Rock Pile” who produced a jargoon and also the information concerning the finding of such semiprecious stones, their weight, color and the like.
Second to Mrs. Phyllis Schlemmer, the sensitive, who demonstrated the various forms of tarot and then worked out the proper horoscope tarot reading for Kethan.

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1974) Published by Atheneum, HC, 0-689-50011-4, LCCN 74076279, $6.95, 194pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan {Yellow Cloth Boards, Blue End Papers}
  • (1975) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-02015-6, LCCN 77369613, £2.60, 194pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Patrick Woodruffe {Purple Paper Boards, # 4DE on Front Flap}
  • (1975) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-02657, # P2657, $1.25, 224pg ~ #22911-4 1977 $1.50, #23615-3 1978 $1.75, - cover by unknown
  • (1983) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-31192-2, $2.50, 224pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-937957-54-4, DM, $3.99, 175pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-36-9, DM, $3.99, 175pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge ~ re-released in 2017 with new cover-art by Ian Koviak

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1993) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-708-2232-0, 205pg ~ translation by Ewa Witecka ~ Polish title Lampart
  • (1993) Combined with "Trey of Swords" and "Horn Crown" ~ Published in Minsk, by Pelev, 9-856-01801-3, HC, 464pg ~ translation by N. Krasnoslobodsky ~ Russian title Гиацинтовый леопард [The Jargoon Pard]
  • (1994) Combined with "Trey of Swords" translation by Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14023-2, HC, 352pg ~ "The Jargoon Pard" translation by K. Prilipko ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Тройка мечей [Trey of Swords]

 

 

 

 

 Del Rey Frontspiece

jargoon.pard.frontspiece 

 

 

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