Dread Companion

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


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Dread Companion

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Kilda's home planet had no place for her, so she took employment as a teacher and governess to two young children on the planet named Dylan. But she soon found that one of her charges has an invisible "dread companion"- and soon Kilda knows that the companion is not imaginary at all, as it leads her charges into another - dimensional world resembling the legends of Faerie. Though the other world has unknown dangers on every hand, Kilda follows the children across the spatial barrier, knowing that she is their only hope.
 

Write-up from the front flap of 1970 hardcover edition ~

Kilda c' Rhyn had some misgivings about agreeing to take charge of two children, Bartare and Oamark, when they emigrated to the planet Dylan, but she did not hesitate long, for the job offered her only the chance of escape from the restricted life facing her as a ward of the state on her native Cholax. Kilda was scarcely embarked on her new life when she began to perceive that the girl Bartare was more than just a willful child. Her suspicions grew when one night she observed Bartare performing a ritual dance in the courtyard and, immediately afterward, was terrified by a distorted image of her own face in a mirror.
Nevertheless, Kilda refused to be frightened off, and when, during an outing with the children in an unsettled area, Bartare struck out on her own with Oomark in tow, Kilda followed. She was drawn painfully across a barrier from the world she knew into a nightmare place, where forms changed before her eyes, where all food and streams were poisonous, and where the coming of darkness held indescribable terrors. Only the aid of a shipwrecked interplanetary scout, Jorth Kosgro, and her own determination to rescue the children - against their wills, if need be - enable her to surmount the forces of the ancient power that were mustard against them.
With masterly, Andre Norton weaves ancient themes of mystery and magic into spellbinding science fiction that will hold readers enthralled.

 

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

“Here is vintage Andre Norton, who is outstanding among science fiction authors. The story is about a girl changeling who leads her brother and an older girl, Kilda, into an evil and enchanted land… Evoking a feeling of terror and horror, the author tells a fantastic tale with the implied theme of evil fighting against good and the power of a strong will to survive. It’s all cloaked in mystery and magic with a hint of a Rip Van Winkle conclusion updated to the year 2483. “Avid readers of science fiction will enjoy this one and should make new converts.” – Washington Star

 

Write-up from the Fawcett paperback edition ~

At first, Kilda thought her young charge, Bartare, was just a willful little girl. At first. But then Bartare began to know things she could not know, do things that could not be done… evil things that frightened her brother and governess in ways neither imagined possible.
And then, on the planet Dylan, the unseen force that controlled Bartare’s sorceries summoned her to the nameless netherworld of dark magic, forcing Kilda and Bartare’s brother to follow… trapping them in a world of madness and terror for all time…
“Folklore and spacelore, sorcery and science… an engrossing adventure.” – Horn Book

 

Write-up from the back of Ballantine Del Rey paperback edition ~

At first Kilda thought Bartare was just a stubborn girl who exerted an unnaturally strong influence over her little brother, Oomark. But Bartare was no ordinary child. She was consorting with a strange and powerful woman who enabled her to work dark magic and to control others – even Kilda herself.
Then one day Bartare was summoned by her mysterious mentor. She took Oomark out of their own world – and Kilda followed into a terrifying place where Bartare’s dread companion ruled their only way home.

 

Write-ups from fans ~

This one surprised me. All these years, I've sort of ignored this one as a dark depressing novel, but it turned out to be more exciting than I remembered. It starts with Kilda, a creche-reared orphan who gets a job tutoring a young boy, Oomark and his pre-teen sister Bartare. Oomark is fairly normal, but Bartare is strange, knowing things she shouldn't know and showing occult powers and controlling people. On a field trip, the children disappear and she tracks them and is transported to another world, one with magic, danger, and evil as well and some supposedly good "folk" who had lured Bartare to join them, saying that she was really a "changeling". Here, Andre uses her extensive lore collection about the Fey and fairyland/other world. Kilda has to figure out how to lure a reluctant Bartare from the "folk" and find a gate back to their own world. Luckily, Kilda meets another captive of this world who helps her get around and avoid the dangers. After many adventures, they get to the end of the book only to find a twist that is very familiar to readers of Fairylore. "Spoilers!" Please Read it yourself! ~ PG

 

In Andre Norton’s 1970 standalone novel Dread Companion, Kilda c’Rhyn’s great tragedy is
Unfortunately, I inherited my mother’s sex but my father’s spirit and interests. I would have been supremely happy as a scout, a seeker-out of far places and strange sights. My favored reading among the tapes were the accounts of exploration, trading on primitive planets, and the like. Perhaps I might have fitted in with the free traders. But among them women are so few and those so guarded and cherished that I might have been even more straitly prisoned on one of their spaceports, seeing my mate…. ~ JN
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KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1970
To escape the circumscribed roles of her sex in the Outer Rings, Kilda o' Rhyn secures a position with a family going to Dylan, a frontier planet and thus less rule-bound. But the breakaway bends to a turn of the screw: one of her two charges, the girl Bartare, is possessed and She is hostile to Kilda, while younger Oomark dreads both his sister and her companion. Rightly, as the misty, monstrous world of the Folk closes in upon them. Eating of its fruit, Oomark sprouts horns and hooves and Kilda, just sipping its water, sees her toes lengthen into roots. But she binds her feet and eats only from her dwindling supplies, guarding her identity until the Betweener Jorth Kosgro, furred former Scout, and the potent notus tree force Bartare to guide them to the world gate--where, renounced by her Lady, she must leave with them. More-than-apparent time has lapsed (over 50 years for Kilda and the children, 180+ for Jorth) and there's another loss--Kilda's, of her initiative and independence, to Jorth (who at one point remarks on the novelty of 'a woman admitting she's wrong'). As the two head off in his reactivated spaceship, a girl could sigh and not with satisfaction--while anyone might grow restless during the desolate, disoriented trek of Kilda and Oomark that fills the second quarter of the book.

 

Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1970 Kirkus Reviews, September 01
1970 by E. Haynes in Library Journal, December 15
1971 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, April
1972 by B. Patten in Books and Bookman, June
1972 by A. Jackson in Luna Monthly #41/42 (fnz), October/November
2015 by James Nicoll, September, 04   Θ

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1970) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, 0-152-24201-5, 978-0-152-24201-5, LCCN 72115758, $4.95, 234pg ~ cover by Richard Powers {Blue Cloth Boards, White End papers, ISBN on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1970) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-16669-4, $0.75, 234pg, $0.95, ~ cover by Frank Kelly Freas, Illustrated by Jack Gaughan ~ #16669 1972 $0.75 191pg, #16670 1973 $0.95 191pg, #16671 1977 $1.50 cover by unknown
  • (1972) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-01340-0, 978-0-575-01340-7, £1.25, 240pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by David Smee {Pink Paper Boards, # 4DE on Front Flap, ISBN on Rear Flap}
  • (1980) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-23421-4, 978-0-449-24321-3, $1.95 ~ cover by Ken Barr
  • (1984) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-31556-1, 978-0-345-31556-4, $2.50 US $3.25 Canadian, 221pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger
  • Dark Companion (2005) Published by BAEN, HC, 0-743-49898-4, 978-0-743-49898-2, $26.00, 528pg  ~ cover by Bob Eggleton ~ Omnibus containing Dark Piper (1968) & Dread Companion (1970)

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1972) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, OCLC: 74121152, Pabel TB201, 159pg ~ translated by Susi-Maria Roediger ~ German title Die Welt der grünen Lady
  • (1998) Published in Poland; by Amber, 83-716-9822-4, 208pg ~ translated by Jacek Kozerski ~ cover by Steve Crisp ~ Polish title Pani Krainy Mgieł [Ms. Land Of Mists] (reprinted in 2000 with new cover by York)
  • (2003) Combined with "Here Abide Monsters" and "Huon of the Horn" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-04540-6, HC, 480pg ~ translation by Oleg Kolesnikov and S. Sergeyev ~ Russian title Здесь водятся чудовища [Here Abide Monsters]

 

View the original contract

View the 1978 Ace Contract

 

 

 

 

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