Steel Magic

(aka) Gray Magic

~ 1st Novel in the Magic Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) The Magic Sequence


Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old posting ~

The Lowery children - Greg, Eric, and Sara - are staying at Tern Manor with their Uncle Mac while their father and mother are in Japan. Sara wins a picnic basket at the Firemen's Strawberry Festival and the children decide to put it to use. The next day they pack a picnic lunch and search for a lost lake. After winding and crawling through the underbrush, they find the lake and, on as island in the middle of it, they also discover a miniature castle. Although the doorway has been blocked with masonry, they are able to gain entrance by chipping away the mortar. Once within the castle, they are surrounded by a gray mist and, eventually, they find themselves somewhere else. After a brief exploration, they determine that they could not be on the island and are far from any place familiar. Opening the picnic basket, they start to eat while discussing the strange events, whereupon an unexpected guest shows up for lunch.


Write-up from the front flap of the 1965 dustjacket ~

While exploring a mysterious abandoned building on their uncle’s farm, the three Lowrys, Eric, Greg, and Sara, go through a doorway-and are astonished to find themselves in the long-ago land of Avalon, where an armor-clad knight begs their help.
Dark powers of evil threaten Avalon, the knight tells them, and the people cannot fight back because they have lost their three magic talismans: King Arthur’s mighty sword Excalibur, Merlin’s iron ring, and Huon’s silver horn. Worse still, if sword, ring, and horn are not recovered, then not only Avalon but also our earth would be doomed by an evil enchantment.
The Lowrys agree to try to find the lost talismans. How each of the three faces a separate, wierdly frightening enemy is an exciting story of mystery, imagination—and courage.
Andre Norton, author of Ordeal in Otherwhere, Ride Proud, Rebel! And many others, has long been noted as a science-fiction and fantasy writer of great skill and originality. Here, from the myths of the past, the author has again created a fantasy with a meaningful message for the perceptive reader. Robin Jacques, who has illustrated many classics for young people, has captured the imaginative mood in his fine line drawings.


Write-up from the back of the paperback edition ~

Magic, Mystery, adventure!
An old abandoned castle! Sara, Eric, and Greg Lowery couldn’t wait to go exploring!
But the building was more than just ruins – it was a gateway to the wonderous land of Avalon – an enchanting world of legendary people and mystical magic, a land where even common objects had great power.
And once the children entered this magical world, it was impossible for them to escape – unless they complete an important mission: return three magic talismans to their owners – King Author’s sword Excalibur, Merlin’s iron ring and Huon’s silver horn.
But the mission was more dangerous than they imagined – the land and its creatures were strange to them… and a stainless steel knife, fork and spoon were their only weapons!


Write-up from a fan ~

This book is very short and is a quick read. Sara Lowry and her brothers Eric and Greg go on a picnic on their uncle's property and discover a secret hidden gate that transports them to the enchanted land of Avalon. They meet Huon of Bordeaux who explains the three magical objects, Merlin's ring, Huon's horn and Arthur Pendragon's sword Excalibur have all been stolen. They ask the kids to find them as they, being totally human, can handle "Cold Iron" or in this case Stainless Steel utensils from their picnic basket. They split up and each goes after one of the objects. They have all kinds of magical adventures which help each child overcome his or her fears and rise to the challenges of the quests. Aimed at the younger reader, it is still satisfying to the adult audience. ~ PG


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

2019 by Judith Tarr At, Jan. 28


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Stephen, Greg, Eric, Peter,
Donald, Alexander, and Jeffrey.
And for Kristen and Deborah,
who love stories of fairy worlds.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1965) Published by World, HC, #BPWP865, LCCN 65019714, $3.50, 155pg ~ cover and illustrated by Robin Jacques {Blue Cloth Boards, # 2700 on Rear of Dust Jacket} Library Edition – Blue Pictorial Front Cover $3.41
  • (1967) Published by Hamilton, HC, £ 9s6p (114p), 155pg ~ UK printing ~ cover and illustrated by Robin Jacques
  • (1978) Published by Pocket (Archway), PB, 0-671-29901-, $1.50, 148pg ~ cover and illustrated by Robin Jacques
  • (1980) Published by Thomas Nelson Limited, PB, 0-170-05874-3, $3.50,  151pg ~ cover by unknown ~ Australian printing, (Young Australia Thematic Library Level 26)
  • (2005) Published by Starscape, TP, 0-765-35297-4, $5.99, 128pg ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2010) Published by Starscape, DM, 0-765-35297-4, $5.99, 128pg ~ cover by Tristan Elwell
  • (2015) Published by Open Road Media, DM, eISBN 978-1-497652-17-0, $6.99, 128pg ~ cover by Connie Gabbert


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1993) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Rebis, 83-856-9627-X, 147pg ~ translation by Paweł Sakowski ~ cover by Oliviero Berni ~ Polish title Magia Stali [Magic Steel]
  • (1992) Combined with "Witch World" and "Web of the Witch World" ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zeleogradskaya Books and Angarsk, by Amber, 5-863-14008-9, HC, 416pg ~ Cover by Larry Elmore ~ Russian title Серая магия [Grey Magic]
  • (2004) Combined with "Octagon Magic", "Fur Magic" and "Dragon Magic" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-01931-6, HC, 480pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Russian title Магия стали [Steel Magic]
  • (2013) Combined with “Octagon Magic”, “Fur Magic”, “Dragon Magic”, “Lavender-Green Magic” & “Red Hart Magic”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699660315, HC, 864pgs ~ “Steel Magic” & “Octagon Magic” translation by O. Kolesnikova, “Fur Magic”, “Dragon Magic”, “Lavender-Green Magic” & “Red Hart Magic” translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Магия [Magic]
  • (2015) Combined with “Octagon Magic”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699******, PB, 352pgs ~ translation by O. Kolesnikova ~ cover art by Ellersile ~ series: Silver Fiction Collection ~ Russian title Магия стали [Steel Magic]


View the Original contract

View the original Copyright app.

View the 1978 Pocket contract

View the 2004 Russian contract



Interior Illustrations: