Author: Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie
Book: The Key of the Keplian (Secrets of the Witch World #1)
Published: July 1995
Publisher: Warner Books Inc
One of the most feared creatures of the Witch World is ebony, red-eyed Keplian: intelligent horse-like creatures who lure riders to their deaths. When a young Native American girl comes through a gate from our world, she rescues a Keplian mare and her colt. With this act of kindness, she discovers the truth. Adepts who served the Light created the Keplians to ride with humans who served the light against the darkness. Eleeri begins a quest to rescue and rehabilitate as many Keplians as possible while taking on the dark forces that enslave them.
In celebration of the new year, I’ve returned to my favorite author, the late Andre Norton, and her most beloved fantasy series, The Witch World. The Secrets of the Witch World trilogy are some of the last novels written in this world. In the 1990s, the Berlin wall came down and old adversaries began looking at each other in a new light. Andre Norton wove this theme into this trilogy.
Eleeri is a Native American girl who, to escape the well-meaning bureaucrats of our world, stumbles through a gate into the Witch World. The Keplians are horse like beings that lure the unwary to mount them, then carry them to a terrible fate at the hands of their dark masters. When Eleeri saves a Keplian mare and her foal from cruel humans, she pieces together that these creatures aren’t all the monsters that legend has made them out to be.
The story is a delightful subversion of expectations as Eleeri begins to rehabilitate the Keplians she saves from the Dark Tower’s influence. It was fun to revisit this old favorite.