The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Four Sorcerers ~ Elwher, Metaldragon, Indagare & Lotsawatts


The Duke's Ballad

 9th Novel in the [Witch World: Estcarp Series] by Andre Norton


This book was written solely by Lyn McConchie but set in Andre Norton’s Witch World, hence marketed as collaboration.



[Bibliography Page]

[Coulson's Index] N/A - Published after 1996

See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey]

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[Expanded Reading Order]

[Read it Here]

[Updated: 09/21/2019]


Edition Used for Analysis:
(2005) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-34552-8, $6.99, 320pg ~ cover by Daniel Dos Santos



The Duke's Ballad is the tale of Aisling, a young witch from a family gifted with a magical power that she must protect from her brother Kirion. l le wields magic unlike the rest of the family‘s and gains power only through terrible means; by killing others who wield magic, Years ago, Aisling fled her native Kars when Kirion, working for Shastro, the Duke of Kars, tried to kill her, Since Aisling's departure,
Kirion has tightened his insidious hold on Duke Shastro, The malevolent sorcerer's dark influence works through Shastro to cast a deadly pall over all of Kars. A Fatal chain of events is triggered when Kirion pitches the people of Kars into a war with a neighboring clan.
Aisling recruits her younger brother. Keelan, and returns in disguise, determined to undermine Kiriun's power and unseat his evil pawn from the throne. Accompanied by a catlike telepathic beast, Aisling becomes part of Shastro's court. Even as she begins to learn the ways of court power, however, a brutally cold winter besieges the land, testing the endurance of the people of Kars, who have little cheer in that darkest season.
As Kars and its people contend with Kirion's depredations, the warring clan's raids, and the devastating winter, Aisling and Keelan must through guile, persistence, and ingenuity, somehow find a way to avoid the attention of their dangerous older brother and save the people from his murderous sorcery. Only if they can survive Kirion’s terrible power can they deliver the dukedom into the peace and prosperity it once knew.


Timeline Points:

  1. p13. Aisling says, “I’ve been here three years.” (since the end of Ciara's Song)
  2. p18. Hilarion is her teacher in the Valley of Green Silences. (No others of the Valley appear except an unnamed Krogan girl.)
  3. p128. “A message came from Hilarion. Escore has made a large advance in driving evil from the land. One of the Estcarp witches died but in doing so she has empowered the Light. The Darkness falls back.” (see: The Gate of the Cat)
  4. p201. “Aisling was twenty-two now…”


Sorcerer's Notes:

Aisling's Age

Year Name




Aisling completes her studies with Hilarion in Escore and returns to Karsten





The Coastal Clans threaten to lay siege to Kars city for mysterious deaths. Events of The Gate of the Cat take place.



Shastro and Kirion kill each other while Kars city is under siege of the Coastal Clans


The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Isle of Illusion

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ April, 2019

Copyright ~ Elwher, Metaldragon, Indagare & Lotsawatts
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