Amber Out of Quayth

~ A Novella in the Witch World Saga by Andre Norton


 Synopsis ~

Ysmay, who was once Chatelaine of the Keep at Uppsdale, is now made to feel unwanted by her brother's new bride. She yearns for her former responsibilities, even if it means she must marry a stranger who comes to town for a trade fair. He in turn is attracted by her dowry, an old caved-in amber mine. Ysmay follows her new husband to the far north, to Quayth Keep and learns to her dismay that "It is one of the ancient places which the Old Ones had the building of." Witch World fans know what this might mean: does Ysmay's new lord have dealings with certain Dark Powers?


Write-up from a fan ~

For five years, Ysmay had been the Chatelaine of their small Hold of Uppsdale.  Now, though, her brother Gyrerd has returned from the war with Alizon, bringing with him a new bride (Annet), who dislikes Ysmay intensely.  Ysmay's father and other brother Ewald were killed during the war, and Gyrerd is disinclined to lessen his holdings by providing a dowry for Ysmay, so she is trapped as the disregarded drudge in the stillroom.  At the Fair at Fyndale, a "trader" has lots of jewelry made from amber, which Annet covets.  When she finds out that Ysmay has some amber jewelry made from the Uppsdale mine, which had been sealed off by a rockslide, Annet becomes determined to get it.  The mine is Ysmay's, her dowry from her grandmother.  Annet's covetousness, Gyrerd's parsimony, and Ysmay's desperate desire to escape, lead to her betrothal and wedding to the merchant, in return for his reopening the amber mine.  Once back at the merchant's keep, Ysmay discovers that her new husband is actually a sorcerer, working black magic with her amber.  He actually keeps the former Lord and Lady of the Keep imprisoned in columns of synthetic amber.  He needed Ysmay's amber so he could use the real amber to create his synthetic amber, which is what all his amber is, including that imprisoning the Lord and Lady.  Ysmay finds a tiny amber amulet hidden in the weave of a tapestry in her chamber, and uses that to free the real owners of the castle. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • Spell of the Witch World (1972) Published by DAW, PB, 0-451-UQ100-1, $0.95, 159pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan (Re-released in 2012)

Non-English Editions ~

  • (1992) Combined with "Dragon Scale Silver" translation by W. Black, "The Crystal Gryphon", "The Toads of Grimmerdale", "Year of the Unicorn" translation by T. Pronina and "Falcon Blood" translation by L. Deutsch ~ Published in Nizhny Novgorod, by Phlox, 5-871-98016-3, HC, 416pg ~ "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by T. Pronina ~ cover by V. Vasiliev ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]
  • (1992) Combined with "Sargasso of Space" translation by S. Berezhkova and S. Vitina, "Postmarked the Stars", "Witch World", "Dragon Scale Silver" and "Dream Smith" translation by Yu Sokolova ~ Published by Alterpres, 5-874-98065-2, HC, 752pg ~ "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by translation by Yu Sokolova ~ cover by A. Stolin ~ Russian title Галактический почтовый [Postmarked the Stars]
  • (1992) Combined with "The Crystal Gryphon" translation by B. Sagalovskogo, "Exile's Quest" by Richard Mead translation by S. Levin and "Witch Queen of Lochlann" by George Henry Smith translation by E. Plotkin ~ Published in Pushkino, by Culture Obninsk, 5-847-40373-9, HC, 416pg ~ "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by Popova ~ cover by Frank Frazetta ~ Russian title Королева ведьм [Witch Queen]
  • (1992) Combined with "Witch World", "Dragon Scale Silver" "Dream Smith" translation by R.J. Sokolov and "Toads of Grimmerdale" translation by C. Queen ~ Published in Moscow, by Fey, 5-867-40009-3, HC, 426pg & 5-867-40017-4, HC, 382pg ~ "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by R.J. Sokolov ~ cover by N. Zubkov ~ Russian title Ведьмы из Эсткарпа [Witch Estcarp]


See Also: Write-up in The Sorcerer's Conspectus ~ WW: ss - Amber Out of Quayth