Uncharted Stars

~ 2nd Novel in the Zero Stone Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Murdock Jern


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Uncharted Stars

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1969 dustjacket ~

The Zero Stone! One might well term it the seed of all disorder. Dull, lifeless, set in a great ring meant to be worn over the bulk of a space glove, found on the body of an alien on an unknown asteroid, it was the sole legacy left Murdock Jern by his father. The stone had a secret, for Jern’s father died to keep it as a threatening heritage for his son. And that secret meant power. He who knew it, could name his own price, provided it did not cost him his life first.
In Uncharted Stars; Jern continues the search begun in The Zero Stone for the source of the gem from outer space. With Eet – a mutant – he spaces from Lorgel, a planet of sand, rock, and roasting sun, to Sororis, refuge for the dregs of the galaxy’s criminal element, and ultimately, into the heat of Waystar, the asteroid stronghold of the notorious Thieves Guild. For it is there that the star map is held. And it is the star map that Jern must have – for it is the key to the time-locked secret of the zero stone  and of Eet’s origin and destiny.
Brilliantly written by one of the best science-fiction writers at work today. Uncharted Stars is a fusion of fantasy and space-age adventure that can be read on many levels.
 

Write-up from the back of the early ACE paperback editions ~

“This is classified as a juvenile for some reason, but it’s really just as good – and maybe better – than a lot of “adult” science fiction.
“The book continues the search begun in The Zero Stone for the source of a mysterious gem from outer space. The hero, Murdock Jern, accompanied by a mutated pussycat named Eet, starts trying to raise money for his quest by gem-trading… then, a hijacked archeological expedition points the way to Waystar, the dreaded stronghold of the Thieves’ Guild…
“Then he’s off to the planet of the zero stones, accompanied by his trusty pussycat, a renegade Earthman, and a telepathic lizard. I wont spoil the book for you by revealing the ending, but I will say this – pussycat lovers will have their minds boggled.
“All in all, a very entertaining book, and one of Andre Norton’s better efforts. Hoghly recommended….” – LUNA

 

Write-up from the late 1980s ACE paperback edition ~

Murdock Jern and his mutated cat companion Eat journey all the way to dread Waystar, planetary stronghold of the Thieves Guild. For to find the secret of the Zero Stone – and Eat’s origin – they must recover the legendary star map, pillage from the tomb of a long dead civilization and key to the treasures of an awesome empire.
“Highly recommended” – LUNA

 

Write-up from the back of the 1993 ROC paperback edition ~

The Zero Stone….
That most priceless of alien artifacts, had been the death of Murdock Jern’s father, and might soon become the ruin of Murdock himself. It was the Zero Stone which had led him into a partnership with the catlike alien, Eet. And it had been the Zero Stone that had seen them caught as pawns between the Thieves’ Guild and the interstellar force of law, the Patrol. And While Murdock and Eet had somehow survived against all odds – had even wrested enough credits from the Patrol to legally buy a spaceship – their troubles were only beginning.
For now they must seek their fortune along the uncharted fringes of inhabited space in a search for the world from which the Zero Stone had originally come. But others, too, sought this place which hid treasure beyond imagination. And these unknown rivals, as well as the Guild and the Patrol, were only too ready to sacrifice one insignificant human and his alien ally if they got in the way…. Uncharted Stars

 

Write-ups from fans ~

Murdock Jern and his companion, a mutated cat named Eet, find the source of the "zero stones", mysterious gems with the ability to amplify power sources.  After getting revved up by The Zero Stone one goes full speed ahead with Uncharted Stars! These further adventures of Murdoc Jern and Eet take off where Zero Stone left off. The Thieves Guild still wants them and the Patrol wants to use them as bait to catch a Guild Veep. They find a drug-addicted blackballed pilot and take off to earn money to finance a search for the source of the Zero stones. Many obstacles stand in the way not the least that they have been posted as "unreliable-do not deal with" by either the Guild or the Patrol.
They overhear a plot by Jacks to raid an archaeological dig led by a Zacathan. They take off to warn the Zacathan's party about the Jacks but arrive too late. The Jacks have looted the dig and left the badly wounded Zacathan to die. They rescue the archaeologist and go after the loot from the dig. Unfortunately the loot is on Waystar, the legendary hidden base for the Guild. After many hair-raising incidents, they finally take off for an unknown planet in an uncharted section of the galaxy. Is their ancient star chart accurate enough? What happens if they are? And will Murdoc and Eet ever be the same again? These two books are a pair of Andre's finest.
Also as a treat these books also mention many planets and species from her earlier novels. I remember her mentioning Warlock, Arzor, Limbo and Sargol to name a few planets along with Wyverns and Zacathans and her space opera staples such as the Patrol, The Thieves Guild, and the game of Stars and Comets. If one wants to go slower, I wonder how many shout outs to her other works are in there. ~ SL

 

After getting revved up by The Zero Stone one goes full speed ahead with Uncharted Stars! These further adventures of Murdoc Jern and Eet take off where Zero Stone left off. The Thieves Guild still wants them and the Patrol wants to use them as bait to catch a Guild Veep. They find a drug-addicted blackballed pilot and take off to earn money to finance a search for the source of the Zero stones. Many obstacles stand in the way not the least that they have been posted as "unreliable-do not deal with" by either the Guild or the Patrol.
They overhear a plot by Jacks to raid an archaeological dig led by a Zacathan. They take off to warn the Zacathan's party about the Jacks but arrive too late. The Jacks have looted the dig and left the badly wounded Zacathan to die. They rescue the archaeologist and go after the loot from the dig. Unfortunately the loot is on Waystar, the legendary hidden base for the Guild. After many hair-raising incidents, they finally take off for an unknown planet in an uncharted section of the galaxy. Is their ancient star chart accurate enough? What happens if they are? And will Murdoc and Eet ever be the same again? These two books are a pair of Andre's finest.
Also as a treat these books also mention many planets and species from her earlier novels. I remember her mentioning Warlock, Arzor, Limbo and Sargol to name a few planets along with Wyverns and Zacathans and her space opera staples such as the Patrol, The Thieves Guild, and the game of Stars and Comets. If one wants to go slower, I wonder how many shout outs to her other works are in there. ~ PG

 

KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1969
A predicted sequel to The Zero Stone (1968, p. 191, J-73) which again features jewel merchant Vondar and his unusual alien companion, Eet. Here they are still tracking down the origin of the zero stones (that give off an uncanny power) and the search lands them in the den of the Thieves' Guild. Vondar must pose as his own father (a gem appraiser) to keep them alive and as he is tested he discovers a second zero stone among the Thieves' treasure along with an unusual star map that may hold the key to a lost Forerunner civilization. The author's version of hallucinatory and telepathic effects is excellent and the Vondar/Eet duo is inspired. Perhaps they will continue charting stars even after Eet undergoes a final, surprising transfiguration. So far, two of the author's best.

 

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

1969 Kirkus Reviews, April 01
1969 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November
1971 by Charlie Brown in Locus #71, January 06
1971 by Ted Pauls in Locus #77, March 18
1974 in Times Literay Supplement, September 20

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1969) Published by Viking, HC, LCCN 69013080, $4.95, 253pg ~ cover by Robin Jacques {Light Blue Cloth Boards, # 0369 on Front Flap} Library Binding $4.53
  • (1969) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-84000-, $0.75, 254pg ~ #84001 1974 $1.25 254pg, #84466 1983 $2.50 254pg, covers by Jeff Jones
  • (1974) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-01614-0, £1.75, 256pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Robin Jacques
  • (1993) Published by ROC, PB, 0-451-45232-1, $4.50, 254pg ~ cover by Tom Canty
  • (2015) Published by Open Road Media, DM, eISBN 978-1-504025-48-5, $7.99, 194pg ~ cover by Barbara Brown

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1970) Published in Munich, Germany; by Moewig, OCLC: 73842699, Terra TB 178, 143pg ~ translation by Brirgitte Ress-Bohusch ~ German title Sterne ohne Namen
  • (1986) Published in Japan; by Hayakawa, 41-501-0701-7, SF S62, 309pg ~ translation by Kazi Hazime ~ cover by Katou Masaki ~ Japanese title ゼロ・ストーン2  未踏星域をこえて
  • (2001) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-724-5613-5, 207pg ~ translation by Maciej Martyński ~ Polish title Gwiezdne bezdroża
  • (1993) Combined with "The Zero Stone" translation by Z. Hasimova ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books and Angarsk, by Amber, 5-863-14018-6, HC, 416pg ~ "Uncharted Stars" translation by Z. Hashimova ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [The Zero Stone]
  • (1996) Combined with "The Zero Stone" translation by A. Prokofiev, and "Star Guard" translation by L. Tkachuk ~ Published in Kiev, by Alterpres, 5-770-73611-9, HC, 576pg ~ "Uncharted Stars" translation by S. Snegur ~ cover by S. Pavlenko and T. Kostecki ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [Stone Forerunners]
  • (2005) Combined with "The Zero Stone" and "Secret of the Lost Race" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-12410-1, HC, 448pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [The Zero Stone]
  • (2015) Combined with “Brother to Shadows”, “Night of Masks”, “Forerunner Foray” & “The Zero Stone”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699775194, HC, 1088pgs ~ “Brother to Shadows” translation by O. Kutuminoy, “Night of Masks” translation by A. Probes and I. Golovschikova, “Forerunner Foray” translation by D. Saveliev and Y. Savelyev, “Uncharted Stars” & “The Zero Stone” translation by D. Arseniev and A. Kolesnikov ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Брат теней [Brother to Shadows]


 

View the original contract

View the 1975 ACE contract

View the 2004 Russian contract

 

 

 

 

ACE Frontspiece

uncharted.stars.frontspiece

 

 

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