The Duke's Ballad by Andre Norton
(Witch World Novels (Hardcover Tor))

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Synopsis

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, who wields magic unlike the rest of the family's. He gains power only by a terrible means: by killing others who wield magic.

Years ago, Aisling fled her native Kars when Kirion, working for 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 Kirion's power and unseat his evil pawn from the throne. Accompanied also by a catlike telepathic beast, Aisling becomes part of Shastro's court. But even as she begins to learn the ways of court power, 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 somehow, through guile, persistence and ingenuity, 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.
 

About Andre Norton

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One of the most famous science fiction and fantasy authors of all time, Andre Norton was named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. She has written over a hundred novels which have sold millions of copies worldwide, including her Witch World, Beast Master, Solar Queen, and the Time Traders series. She lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.Lyn McConchie has written many novels. Her collaborations with Andre Norton include The Key of the Keplian, a Witch World novel, Beast Master's Ark, for which she won the Sir Julius Vogel award for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel of 2002 by a New Zealander, and the recent Beast Master's Circus. She lives in New Zealand, where she writes and runs a farm.
 
Published January 1, 2005 by Tor Books. 320 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Duke's Ballad

Publishers Weekly

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In Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie's The Duke's Ballad, the latest enjoyable entry in Norton's durable Witch World series, Aisling, a young half-breed witch, must rid her country of Karsten of the blight her brother's evil has spread.

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