Wolfshead

(aka) Secret of the Lost Race

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


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Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

The orphaned Joktar is on the run. A xenophobic maniac wants him dead because of his mysterious origins. He is sent fleeing for his life, leaving behind his life as a curiously young-looking Casino Dealer in the spaceport of N'Yok. He is captured and shipped as slave labor to the company run ice planet of Fenris. He escapes captivity and survives against all odds, with the help of some of his strange genetic quirks. He falls in with a group of freedom fighters, and finds a mysterious mentor. He thinks he is safe, but his enemies find him again. This time he decides to fight back.

 

Write-up from the front flap of the 1977 dustjacket ~

The constellation of the Wolf was an area of the galaxy few spacemen wanted to visit, for its sparse worlds were home only to the outcasts of the civilized worlds. But now it was learned that there was one among its runaway inhabitants who was more than just a misfit - he was a definite danger to all humanity.
The hunt was on, for the desperate young man called Joktar. If he was what they said he was, he could contaminate the whole universe. Joktar alone did not believe it, and he rallied a world of courageous outlaws to defend him.

 

Write-ups from fans ~

Who is Joktar? Other than the best Stars and Comets dealer N'yok has ever seen. A orphan, yes, looking about half the age he really is, well trained in every kind of unarmed combat, but carrying the highly illegal "Force Blade". Why are the strange men in gray uniforms after him? With no idea of who his parents were, their planet of origin, or any other personal history before he arrived in N'Yok with his mother just before she died, Joktar had no clue why anyone should take such interest in him. The story starts out very slowly with 2&1/2 pages of communications between people we don't meet until much later in the story. Then he gets picked up in a street raid to get some forced laborers to slave away in mines on Fenris*, a cold inhospitable planet. Through a series of unbelievable luck, he escapes his "Company" masters and hooks up with rebels who are plotting an overthrow of the mining companies who hold a monopoly on trade. Right near the end, his past catches up with him and the big question of who he is, is answered. ~ PG

 

1959’s Secret of the Lost Race is a fascinating little oddity; it has what must be the most bleak passage I’ve encountered in a Norton novel, the first (possible but not confirmed) matriarchy I remember encountering in her fiction (despite not having any on-stage women to speak of, which is an odd combination), and, because the copy I happened to find was the 1969 Ace reprint, a very interesting essay by Lin Carter.
But first, a word from the fan site Andre Norton Books:
March 17, 2015
Marks ten years since the world has been without Andre Norton…. ~ JN
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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1977) Published by Hale, HC, 0-709-16181-6, £3.60, 192pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Helen Hale {Black Paper Boards}

 

 

 

 

 

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