A novel by Andre Norton.

Publishing History

  • Paperback, Ace, 281pp., ISBN: 0-441-94255-5, 1965

Timeline Notes

  1. p2. Gillan came to Norstead eight years ago with Lady Freeza. She had been brought to the Dales aboard an Alizon vessel, though she is of the Old Race. Why she was brought is unknown, since the master of the ship had been killed by a mast and no one else knew why she was brought. "This was during the time of raids when the lords of High Hallack, fighting to free their homeland from the Hounds of Alizon, swept down and struck a lightning blow at the port through which came the invaders' lifeblood of supplies and men. And so I was swept up with those supplies and taken to one of the mountain holds."
  2. p8. Year of the Gryphon - Lords make covenant with Were-Riders
  3. p8. War continued through Year of the Fire Drake and that of the Hornet until Alizon was utterly broken & downcast
  4. p9. Year of the Unicorn - the Great Bargain is to be upheld.
  5. p10. Thirteen brides are asked for, "they must be maids, not widows, or those who had chosen to live beyond customs bonds. And they must not be younger than eighteen years of age, nor beyond twenty."
  6. p45. Gillan believes she is some twenty years of age.


  1. This would probably mean Gillan was taken by the Dalesfolk sometime in the Year of the Leopard, since The Crystal Gryphon mentions that was when the Dales had their first, small successes against the Hounds.
  2. The mention that Gillan was rescued eight years ago is at odds with later texts: Gryphon's Eyrie mentions Kerovan being 21 {though it is more likely he is 23} in the Year of the Unicorn. The Crystal Gryphon mentions that Joisan is 14 in the Year of the Crowned Swan {Kerovan would thus be 16}. The next seems to be the Year of the Moss Wife {Joisan would be 15 and Kerovan 17} followed by the Year of the Fire Troll {Joisan would be 16 and Kerovan 18} followed by the Year of the Leopard {Joisan would be 17 and Kerovan 19}. If the Year of the Gryphon, Year of the Fire Drake, Year of the Hornet, and Year of the Unicorn are in order that exact way this would mean that the war in the dales could not have lasted more than six years, if Joisan and Kerovan are 21 and 23 in Gryphon's Eyrie.) Dragon Scale Silver places another, unnamed year between the year of the Leopard and the Year of the Gryphon but this doesn't interfere with Joisan's age as it states in The Crystal Gryphon that her birthday is during "harvest time" and Gryphon's Eyrie takes place in spring/summer of the Year of the Unicorn. Joisan would turn 22 in the autumn of the Year of the Unicorn with this timeline.

Timeline Analysis

Year Since the Betrayal Year Name Event
Gillan born some 20 years before Year of the Unicorn
Year of the Gryphon Covenant with Were-Riders
Year of the Fire Drake
Year of the Hornet Alizon defeated
Year of the Unicorn The Great Bargain - On the first day of the Year, 13 maids, between 18-20 yrs old, are sent by Lord Imgry to edge of the Waste as the Were-Rider’s brides. The Were-Riders return to Arvon.
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