Year of the Unicorn

~ 1st Novel in the Witch World: High Hallack Series by Andre Norton

This story "Based on Beauty and the Beast" per Andre ~ See Below


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Year of the Unicorn

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from the 1960s ACE paperback editions ~

To pay an unearthly tribute, thirteen must leave with the Were-Riders, thirteen torn from their homeland to ride with illusion and darkness, to travel the unmapped lands with the nomads who were more than men and less than human…
That was the price to be paid for unholy alliance without which the homeland would have been lost. But was the price worth paying? Gillan, who became one of the Thirteen, was to find out… and in the finding, find a lost land, a forgotten world, and a super-science challenge.
Andre Norton’s Year of the Unicorn is a brand-new novel of swordsmanship and scientific sorcery.

 

Write-up from the back of the 1970s ACE paperback editions ~

Taken from their families in the Year of the Unicorn, the thirteen were the payment to settle the Great Bargain by which the Hounds of Alizon were finally beaten from High Hallack with the aid of the Were-Riders.
The Were-Riders wore the bodies of men, but they were not human-kind, and the price of their alliance was thirteen beautiful maids of High Hallack to be taken as brides to the unknown.
Gillan, one of the thirteen brides, was destined to see beyond the illusion and mist that cloaked the shapes of the nomadic Were-Riders, and view the lost powers, the forgotten world, and the ancient challenge that threatened them all.

 

Write-up from the front flap of the Gregg Press edition ~

THE YEAR OF THE UNICORN was a year of good omen, particularly for maidens, but for the orphan Gillan the coming year held no promise. Raised from childhood in Abbeystead by the Dames, Gillan never found a place either with the professed sisterhood or among the laywomen who sought refuge in the Abbey during the long wars with Alizon. Hardpressed by the forces of Alizon, the lords of High Hallack allied themselves with the Were-Riders, fierce sorcerer-warriors who were said to be able to change from men to frightening beasts in battle. The rewards they offered the Riders were brides who would accompany their warlock husbands back to the land of Arvon beyond the enchanted mountains.
Eager to find a new life away from the Abbey, Gillan gladly changed places with one of the chosen maidens. She then embarked on a wedding journey fraught with danger, for she had the gift of true sight that would not be blinded by the Riders’ spells. The Were-Riders soon learned that she was of the witch stock of Estcarp and feared her. No longer a stranger among a well-meaning people, Gillan was now in peril of her life and of her soul.
In Year of the Unicorn, Andre Norton brings the saga of the Witch World to High Hallack and to new adventures among the sorceries of the Were-Riders. This new edition of Year of the Unicorn features special endleave maps of the Witch World by Barbi johnson.

 

Write-up from the back of the 1980s ACE paperback edition ~

In the Waning of Witchery…
The Land of Estcarp is become a distant tale. The power of her Witches a myth. But in the green Dales of High Hallack is one whose mysterious past will unleash the power of legends….
In a bizarre alliance born of desperate need the Lords of High Hallack have pledged thirteen brides to the Were Riders of the Wastelands, those strange nomad-warriors who are more than men, but less than human: Thirteen maids ride out to pay unearthly tribute, journeying into a world of shadows where danger lies in wait for the only one of them with the power to pierce the veil of illusion. To her fall the perils of a forgotten world, and the terrible challenge to her life and love in the Year of the Unicorn.

 

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

In the Year of the Unicorn, the Were Riders came out of the Waste to help the men of the High Hallack beat the Hounds of Alizon from their borders.
The Were Riders wore the shape of men, but they were not human. The price of their aid was thirteen beautiful maidens of High Hallack to be taken as brides. Gillan was one of the thirteen. This is her story.
Year of the Unicorn

 

Write-up from the back of the 1970 UK paperback edition ~

To pay an unearthly tribute, thirteen must leave with the Were Riders, thirteen torn from their homeland to ride with illusion and darkness, to travel the unmapped lands with the nomads who were more than men and less than human.
That was the price to be paid for an unholy alliance without which the homeland would have been lost. But was the price worth paying? Gillan, who became one of the Thirteen, was to find out… and in finding, find a lost land, a forgotten world.

 

Write-up from the back of the 1987 UK paperback edition ~

They were paying the price of an unholy alliance, forged against the dread Hounds of Alizon. But were not those thirteen maidens too high a price to pay?
With darkness and illusion their only escort, the promised brides of the Were-Riders set out through the snow-bound wastes. Shape-changers, warlocks, sorcerers maybe, their fearsome husbands had opened doors onto forbidden things, unleashing that which could not be controlled. Now, condemned to roam the unmapped wilds, they wandered in search of the gateway to their world. But, unbeknown, they harboured amongst their brides one who saw beyond the shape of things – the strange waif Gillan, exile from a foreign land. She alone could challenge them; she alone might bar their passage home.
“Andre Norton will be remembered when many of us are totally forgotten” – Anne McCaffrey
“An imagination quite out of this world” – T.L.S.
 

Write-up from a Gregg Press sales flyer ~

Across the sea to the west of Escarp lies the land of High Hallck and here Gillan, an orphan witch child of Escarp, has grown up in a convent. she becomes one of 13 brides given by the Lords of High Hallack to the Were Riders in return for the aid of their sorcery in the successful battle against the Alizon invasion. Gillan chooses Herrel, the least of the Were Riders, disappointing Halse, the overconfident one, who discovers she has witch powers when she shows herself to be unaffected by the Were Raiders shape-changing illusions. Halse cast a spell over her, separating Gillan the witch from Gillan the maid, and places Herrel under a compulsion that almost succeeds in killing Gillan the witch. In this fantastic and marvelous story, Gillan recounts the fearful trials she encounters in her quest to regain her other self and her identity in the Were Riders' magical land of Arvon.

 

Write-up from the 2016 digital release ~

Year Of the Unicorn returns to Andre Norton’s Witch World with a tale of adventure and magic. The orphan Gillan grew up in an abbey in High Hallack, always knowing she was different and never feeling at home. When the lords of High Hallack pledge twelve brides to the Were Riders in exchange for their protection, Gillan is faced with an opportunity few would consider: to take the place of one of the twelve chosen women and go off to parts unknown to marry one of these strange wild men. But Gillan leaps at the chance to leave the only home she has ever known in the hopes of finding something she was meant to do. And her rare gift to see through illusions that fool others will prove vital in a journey where nothing is as it seems.
 

Write-ups from fans ~

This is the most complicated Norton story, so far. Many years ago, Gillan a member of the Old Race of Estcarp was captured as a young girl by the Alizon forces who were waging war across the sea. Rescued by the Dalesmen of High Hallack , she grew up and was schooled the by the dames of Norstead Abby. Meanwhile, to defeat the Alizonders, the lords of The Dales made a pact with the Were Riders, a group of formidable fighters from the area known as The Waste. In return for the destruction of the forces of Alizon, The Dales would send 13 maidens to the Were Pack as brides. Gillan feels compelled to take the place of one of the chosen women. She has no idea about her background, but soon learns that she has "second sight" powers to see through some illusions. The Were Riders were, in truth, from another world and were trying to get back to the gate to go home. The brides were paired with Riders through a choosing of ensorceled cloaks. Gillan chose Herell, the least respected of the Pack. There ensued dissension in the ranks and all sorts of sabotage and skuldugery aimed against the couple. All the trials and tribulations, sorcery and malignant forces that Gillan must face to fulfill her destiny make one wonder if Andre didn't like Gillan. The book starts out fairly slow, but picks up to a break-neck pace in the final chapters. I had forgotten how good it is. Personally, I prefer the other continent, but this one has its good points. ~ PG

 

1965’s The Year of the Unicorn takes us back to the Witch World, across the ocean to High Hallack. Gillan has lived among the people of that land for almost as long as she can remember, but her skin and hair brand her an outsider. She can be thankful that she is not one of the hated Alizon, High Hallack’s great enemy, but she can never hope to be truly accepted by those among whom she lives. A quiet life in a rustic abbey may be Gillan’s best option.
But that is not her destiny. To defeat the…. ~ JN
Read More…

 

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

1966 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction - Science Fact, August
1966 by L. Sprague de Camp in Amra V2n42, September
1977 by Charles N. Brown in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Winter
1977 by E. Sisco in School Library Journal, September
1987 by Andy Sawyer in Paperback Inferno #69
2015 by James Nicoll, July, 10   Θ
2017 by Judith Tarr at TOR.com ~ July, 17 

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1965) Published by ACE, PB, # F-357, $0.40, 224pg ~ #94251 1969 $0.60 224pg,  covers by Jack Gaughan ~ #95252 1974 $0.95 224pg, #95253 1976 $1.50 224pg, #95254 1979 281pg, #95255 1980 $2.50 281pg, covers by J.H. Breslow, ~ #95255 1981 & 83 $2.50 281pg, #95256 1986 & 88 $3.50 281pg, covers by John Pound
  • (1970) Published by Tandem, PB, 0-426-05063-0, £ 5s (60p), 224pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Philip Castle
  • (1977) Published by Gregg Press, HC, 0-839-82356-8, LCCN 77023221, $7.95, 224pg ~ As Witch World 6: Year of the Unicorn ~ Dust Jacket and Text Art by Jack Gaughan, Frontmatter by Alice Phalen, Endpaper Maps by Barbi Johnson {Binding: 5.625 x 8.25 - Dark Blue Cloth Boards with Gold Lettering} Limited to 1200 copies.
  • (1977) Published by G Prior, HC, 0-860-43074-X, £4.95, 232pg ~ UK printing ~ This Edition is an identical copy of the Gregg Press release with the exception of the Title & Copyright Page.
  • (1978) Published by Universal (Tandem), PB, 0-426-05063-0, £0.75, 192pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Rodney Matthews ~ (NOTE: this release is somewhat in question. Rodney Mathews completed a series of eight paintings for the “Witch World” series and attributes one of his paintings to this title. The titles “Witch World”, “Web of the Witch World” and “Three Against the Witch World” published by Universal have the same 10 digit ISBN as the Tandem releases of 1970, we are making the assumption that this ISBN could represent this edition.) ~ See the Rodney Matthews page
  • (1987) Published by Gollancz, PB, 0-575-03999-X, £2.50, 221pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Mark Harrison
  • The Gates to Witch World (2001) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-30050-8, LCCN 2001041532, $27.95, 461pg ~ cover by Mark Harrison ~ Omnibus containing Witch World (1963), Web of the Witch World (1964) & Year of the Unicorn (1965)
  • (2016) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no isbn, $2.99, 206pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (2001) Published in Plzeň, Czech Republic; by Laser, PB, 80-7193-105-5, 256pg  ~ cover by Steve Crisp ~ translation by Pavel Grigar ~ Czech title Svět čarodějnic 8: Rok Jednorožce
  • (1995) Published in Paris, France; by Pocket, PB, 22-660-6281-6, 221pg ~ translation by Gille Dupreux ~ cover by Chistophe Kro ~ French title L'année de la licorne
  • (1977) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, Terra Fantasy 31, 159pg ~ translation by Susi-Maria Rödiger ~ German title Die Braut des Tiermenschen
  • (1980) Published in Bologna, Italy; by Libra Editrice, I Classici della Fantascienza, n. 48, 272pg ~ translation by Roberta Rambelli ~ Italian title L’anno dell’unicorno
  • (1991) Published in Milan, Italy; by Mondadori, Urania Fantasy n. 39, 202pg ~ translation by Fabio Feminò ~ illustrated by Maren ~ Italian title L’erede dell’unicorno
  • (1993) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-708-2133-2, 238pg ~ translation by Ewa Witecka ~ cover by Steve Crisp ~ Polish title Rok Jednorożca
  • (1992) Combined with "Dragon Scale Silver" translation by W. Black, "The Crystal Gryphon", "The Toads of Grimmerdale", "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by T. Pronina and "Falcon Blood" translation by L. Deutsch ~ Published in Nizhny Novgorod, by Phlox, 5-871-98016-3, HC, 416pg ~ "Year of the Unicorn" translation by T. Pronina ~ cover by V. Vasiliev ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]
  • (1992) Combined with "Sorceress of the Witch World" "The Crystal Gryphon" and "Spell of the Witch World" ~ Published in Novosibirsk, by EYA, 5-872-16014-3, HC, 448pg ~ cover by M. Mikhalev ~ Russian title Колдовской мир [Witch World]
  • (1992) Combined with "Sorceress of the Witch World" and "Spell of the Witch World" ~ Published in Moscow, by Interbook, 5-766-40814-5, HC, 348pg ~ cover by V. Kurilov ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]
  • (1993) Combined with "The Crystal Gryphon"" and "Garan the Eternal" translation by N. Nesmelova ~ Published by Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14010-0, HC, 416pg ~ "translation by N. Nesmelova ~ Russian title Гаран вечный [Garan Eternal]
  • (1993) Combined with "The Crystal Gryphon", "Spell of the Witch World" and "The Toads of Grimmerdale" ~ Published in Moscow, by Artlik, 5-855-98012-X, HC 416pg ~ cover by N. Rosenthal ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]
  • (1999) and (2001) Combined with "Warlock of the Witch World" and "Sorceress of the Witch World" ~ Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-237-03689-9 and 5-170-10355-7, HC, 573pg ~ translation by A. Grusberg and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ cover by Luis Royo ~ Limited to 3000 Copies ~ Russian title Чародей Колдовского Мира. Волшебница Колдовского Мира. Гоа Единорога.
  • (2005) Combined with "Witch World", "Web of the Witch World", "Three Against the Witch World", "Warlock of the Witch World" and "Soceress of the Witch World" ~ Published in Moscow, by Ermak and AST, 5-170-26909-9 and 5-957-71700-2, HC, 976pg ~ translation by A. Grusberg and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Cover by Luis Royo ~ Russian title Колдовской Мир [Witch World]
  • (2005) Combined with "Witch World", Web of the Witch World", "Three Against the Witch World", "Warlock of the Witch World" and "Soceress of the Witch World" ~ Published in Moscow by AST, 5-170-26911-0 and 5-957-71699-5, HC , 976pg ~ translation by A. Grusberg and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ LIMITED to 2000 copies ~ Russian title Колдовской Мир [Witch World]

 

View the 1986 ACE contract

 

 

 

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year of the unicorn 1977 gregg press signed