The Key of the Keplian

~ 4th Novel in the Witch World: The Turning Series by Andre Norton

Written solely by Lyn McConchie but set in Andre Norton’s Witch World,

Hence marketed as collaboration.


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the back of the paperback edition ~

“[Witch World Is] one of fantasy’s most beloved and enduring creations.” – Rave Reviews
For More than 30 years, Andre Norton’s fabulous Witch World saga has thrilled millions. Now comes a new trilogy that reveals long hidden secrets of the mysterious Witch World.

Battle Sisters

For time beyond memory, the fire-eyed Keplian horses have lured riders to their death, sating the blood lust of the Dark Tower. All Witch World knows that the hunted, hated beasts serve Evil--all except one young woman.
Fleeing her home after her beloved grandfather dies, the orphaned Navajo-Comanche girl Eleeri follows an ancient and magical trail to Witch World. When she discovers the Keplian mare Tharna and her newborn colt in the hands of men eager to destroy them, Eleeri fights for their freedom. Running for their lives, psychic Eleeri and telepathic Tharna bond. And in a hidden canyon, they discover the awesome truth:
The Keplians were created to serve Light, and to ride with humans.


Write-ups from fans ~

In Arizona, an old Navajo dies, leaving his half-Indian granddaughter alone, but not to the mercy of the social workers. He has made up a pack for her and given her a map of a long-forgotten trail.  She takes that trail, which apparently leads only to a steep drop-off of a cliff, pursued by the meddling social worker in a helicopter.  She sees a Gate; they see a cliff.  When she leaps through, she winds up in a desolate part of Karsten, uninhabited since Duke Pagar's Horning of the Old Race.  There she finds and befriends an old man of the Old Race, who teaches her the language of her new world, and a few little magic tricks, and gives her a talisman, a small pendant in the form of a black horse with sapphire eyes.  When he dies, she begins to wander the countryside, looking for a place to call home.  In her journeys, she comes across a village where a Keplian mare and her new-born foal are being tortured.  She rescues them and takes them with her, eventually finding a hidden valley where they can make their home.  After a time, she discovers her pendant contains the spirit of the first Keplian stallion, who had been created by "good" mages to be their friend. ~ SL


Another lead-in to The Warding of Witch World. It starts on Earth. Eleeri, a Navajo-Apache girl reared by her great-grandfather and taught the ways of Indian warriors mourns when her guardian dies. To escape a relentless child welfare officer who wants to put her in an abusive uncle's custody, she follows her Guardian's instruction and goes through a gateway into the Witch World landing in eastern Karsten. She comes across an old man, Cynan, being attacked by three bandits and saves his life. She stays with him for a year and a half and he teaches her the languages and customs of Karsten, Estcarp and Escore. She has a natural affinity and a gift for dealing with horses. Cynan, perceiving her power, gives her an amulet with a keplian on it and teaches her some words of power that may summon aid or help her to get along. Cynan is dying and sends her to Escore. There, she finds some cruel villagers torturing a keplian mare and her newborn foal. She saves Tharna and her foal, Hylan and they bond telepathically. Eleeri sets out to prove that keplians are not all creatures of the Dark. A Dark mage threatens and it will take much inter-species cooperation to defeat him. Can old prejudices be overcome? Lots of action, lots of magic and some deus-ex-machine thrown in. ~ PG


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

1995 by John C. Bunnell in Dragon Magazine #221, September 


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To those who ensured this book in some way.
To Gregg Hills, who persuaded me to begin writing as an amature.
To Steve Pasecbrick of Strange Plasma, who purchased my first professional story.
To my agent, Susan James of Curtis Brown Ltd., whose acceptance of me as a client strenghthened my belief in my work.
And to my friend and collaborator Andre Norton. Your books were the first in the genre I ever read. They opened new Worlds and still do. May you live and write them forever - less is unacceptable!


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1995) Published by Warner Aspect, PB, 0-446-60220-5, $5.50, 293pg ~ cover by Kevin Johnson
  • (2001) Published by Twtp Assorted, HC, 0-759-52186-7 ~ UK printing ~ cover by unknown ~ (NOTE: this release is somewhat in question. lists this as an Imported Item and is currently unavailable; it is also listed at but is unavailable. However none of the Andre Norton Collectors that I have conversed with about it have ever seen or heard of this release.)
  • (2001) Published by Warner Aspect, DM, 0-446-60220-5, $6.99, 304pg ~ cover by Kevin Johnson


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1996) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-708-2500-1, 255pg ~ translation by Ewa Witecka ~ cover by Romas ~ Polish title Klucz Keplianów
  • (2000) Combined with "The Magestone" translation by Cyril Pleshkov ~ Published in Moscow, by AST and St. Petersburg, by Terra Fantastica, 5-237-05273-8 and 5-792-10288-0, HC, 640pg ~ "The Key of the Keplain" translation by Bela Zhuzhunava ~ cover by Ken W. Kelly ~ Russian title Ключ от Кеплиан. Магический камень.


See Also: Write-up in The Sorcerer's Conspectus ~ WW: Books - Key of the Keplian, The 

View the Warner Digital contract