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Ralestone Luck

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


NOTE: This title has entered the “Public Domain” and is therefore open to any publisher that wants to print it. Many “Print on Demand” publishers have started to release this title. This site has chosen to ignore these published versions and only concentrate on estate sanctioned materials.

Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of dustjacket ~

Returning to “Pirate’s Haven,” their ancestral home in the Louisiana bayou country near New Orleans, was something of an adventure for Ricky Ralestone and her two brothers, Rupert and Val. None of them had ever laid eyes upon the place before. Now they were coming back to live in the great old house which had been built by their pirate ancestor in the eighteenth century and which had seen so much romance and adventure trough the years. As it happened, there was excitement in store for the Ralestones than they had bargained for. They discovered secret rooms in the old house, an imposter attempted to gain possessions of their property, a mysterious swamp boy came into their lives, Ricky and Val were almost buried alive in an underground passage, and eventually a series of exciting events brought back the “Luck” and the fortune of the Ralestones. Andre Norton has written a thrilling story in “Ralestones Luck” – A story of present-day adventure and mystery, of modern young people, of action and sophisticated dialogue, which will delight boys and girls alike.


Write-up from the back of the DELL paperback edition ~

“Andre Norton is a master storyteller with a narrative pace all her own.” – The New York Times
The Ralestone Luck is a sword known as the Luck of Lorne, a great blade forged during the Crusades by an Arab astrologer. It’s been gone for over a century. Now the Ralestones must find it – or they’ll lose everything.


Write-up from the back of the TOR paperback edition ~

Rupert Ralestone is officially the Marquess of Lorne - but with no family money or prestige, the title is worthless. He and his younger brother and sister return to the old family homestead - Pirate’s Haven. Their only hope is to find the sword that was the family’s talisman for generations, the Ralestone Luck, and restore it to its proper place.
If they succeed, the family fortunes will follow; if they fail.


Write-ups from fans ~

The Ralestones of Lorne, older brother Rupert and twins Richanda and Valerius return to the old family home/plantation of Pirate's Haven in the bayous north of New Orleans.  They are coming home broke, since the twins' guardian squandered all the family money on get-rich-quick schemes, and "The Luck Of the Lorne's", an ancient sword crafted during the Crusades, was lost long ago.  The old plantation manor is a replica of an old English Lord's home, with all the dark and gloomy rooms and a Long Hall, with a fireplace above which had hung the "Luck".  It was lost nearly a hundred years ago when the twin brothers Richard and Roderick dueled, and the winner fled with the "Luck".  The plantation didn't prosper after that, and Grandfather Miles Ralestone chose the wrong side in the Civil War.  So he left the plantation in the care of his faithful black servants and went North to make his living.  Now the family is home again.  However, there seems to be a ghost haunting the Long Hall, and Jeems, a surly near-replica of Valerius (a "black" Ralestone) popping up every now and then, and a resident artist who gets involved in the family's affairs.  Plus it seems there is another claimant for the inheritance, a rather distasteful mobster-type, who claims to be the descendant of Roderick Ralestone, he who had vanished with the sword on that long ago night.  His claim rests on the fact that nobody knew for sure which of the twins was the elder, therefore the rightful heir.  The only way Rupert, Ricky, and Val can prove their claim is to find the "Luck", which had engraved on its blade the names of all the rightful heirs right to the time of its disappearance.  But because of a scary trip into the bayou during a flood to save Jeems' treasured chest, an even more daunting trip into the cellars underneath Pirate's Haven--with a cave-in, and the assistance of the artist, the Ralestones manage to find the "Luck" and prove their right to the plantation (which proves to be sited over an oil field), and to find the long-lost branch of the family, a descendant of the disappeared Roderick Ralestone--Jeems, of course. ~ SL


After many years away, Ralestones have returned to “Pirates' Haven,” their ancestral home in the bayou country of Louisiana, about thirty miles from New Orleans. Rupert {27}, Valerian (Val){19}, and Richanda (Ricky){18} were farmed out to relatives after their parents died. They gather and go to Louisiana to live in the old plantation home of their forbearers. They are hoping to find a great medieval broadsword that family history says is the “Luck” piece for their family. When it disappeared soon after the Civil War, the family fortunes floundered. The current Ralestones are living in straightened financial circumstances and the “Luck” seems to be the only thing that will help. Val thinks he sees a ghost, and meets a "swamp boy" named Jeems who is lurking on their property. They also have a tenant, Charity Bigelow, a commercial artist. A car pulls up and a man tells them that the property is really his, but they don't believe him. As they explore the house, they find many artifacts and documents which may give a clue to the location of the Sword and confirm ownership of the plantation. There are even hints of a possible oil strike on the property. No wonder that the claimant and his associates rough up Jeems and Val for information. They endure violent storms and posing for Charity's latest book cover. Many questions-- Who is the claimant and what does he want? Who is Jeems and what is his back story? Why does Rupert disappear into a locked room for two hours each day? But most of all, Where is the LUCK? A fun Read ~ PG


1938’s Ralestone Luck was the first novel Andre Norton wrote (although it was the second she had published) and it is one that is completely new to me. It’s actually a good thing I only just discovered this because, if this had been the first Norton novel I read, there probably would not have been a second.
Rupert, Ricky. and Val Ralestone are the last of their branch of the Ralestones, a once-great family now much reduced in circumstances thanks to poor investments made by a guardian. Once they had money to burn; now all they have is about…. ~ JN
Read More ...


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1938 in Cleaveland Plains Dealer, September 04
2014 by James Nicoll, November, 28   Θ


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

D. B. N.
In return for
many miles of proof
so diligently read


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1938) Published by Appleton-Century, HC, LCCN 38021549, $2.00, 296pg ~ cover and illustrations by James Reid {Green Cloth Boards} - This establishes that the pseudonym "Andre Alice Norton" was not used at this date. It also clearly shows she developed this pseudonym before "Andrew North"
  • (1938) Published by Ryerson, HC, 296pg $2.25 ~ Canadian printing ~ cover and illustrations by James Reid
  • (1984) Published by Dell-Emerald, PB, 0-440-07265-4, 978-0-440-07265-2, $2.75, 245pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser
  • (1988) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54754-3, 978-0-812-54754-2, $2.95, 245pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser
  • (2017) Published by Open Road Media, DM, 978-1-504-04917-7, $1.99, 195pg ~ cover by unknown


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1994) Combined with "Iron Butterflies" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-859-49276-, HC, 448pg ~ "Ralestone Luck" translation by V. Shcherbakova ~ Russian title Железные бабочки [Iron Butterflies]


View the Original contract

View the 1983 TOR contract