It's been a long time since Norton, who invented the Witch World, published a solo novel set there (The Gate of the Cat, 1987), though yarns with various collaborators have appeared with some frequency (On Wings of Magic, 1994, with Patricia Mathews and Sasha Miller, etc.). According to the publishers, this will be the last Witch World novel. Time will tell. Anyhow, in this particular adventure, the disappearance of the powerful Mage Key from its current plane of existence destabilizes the magical gates that dot the Witch World and allow the numerous Dark Forces easy ingress. So all the powers that follow the light--Falconers, Witches, Hounds of Alizon, and suchlike, many of whom are enemies to the bone--must join in an alliance to send forth detachments to discover the dangerous, quivering gates, battle the bad guys trying to come through, and magically nail the gates shut. As an added fillip, readers will meet characters familiar from previous outings (Eleeri the Native American archer; priestess/healer Destree; Keris, grandson of Simon Tregarth; the horselike Keplians) and also a newcomer, the huge, furry, humanoid policeman, Gruck, hurled unexpectedly through a gate into this alien world and unable to return home. A vast, rather amorphous panorama framing numerous plotlets, and set forth in the usual stilted, sometimes outlandish prose, Still, a major effort from Norton that should satisfy Witch World fans.