Beast Master's Ark

~ 3rd Novel in the Beast Master Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Hosteen Storm

Written by Lyn McConchie from a brief collaborated outline.

Winner 2003 Sir Julius Vogel Award - Best Novel



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 2002 dustjacket ~

More than thirty years ago in The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder, Andre Norton created a memorable character, Hosteen Storm. A Native American soldier for Earth, he barely escaped his doomed home world when the Xik destroyed it. Armed with his soldier's skills, his ancestors’ insights, and an uncanny ability to communicate mind-to-mind with animals. Storm is a hero unlike any other in science fiction.
Now, science fiction Grand Master Andre Norton has teamed up with Lyn McConchie to pit Storm against his most dangerous enemy yet: Death-Which-Comes-in-the-Night.
It is silent. It leaves no tracks. The only evidence that remains is the perfectly cleaned bones of its victims. And it has developed a taste for humans.
No one has survived an attack yet, and the natives of Storm's adopted planet, Arzor, are moving in on human territory as they try to escape the silent scourge. The already high tensions between Humans and Natives soar, sparking a race against time as Storm attempts to solve the mystery of Death-Which-Comes-in-the-Night before Humans and Natives clash.
But he can't do it without help from Tani, a genetic engineer from the Ark. a ship traveling space with genetic material from across the galaxy, including the destroyed Earth. But Tani has been poisoned against Beast Masters by her mother. She must conquer her own unreasoning hatred, and awaken the powerful Beast Master in herself, before she and Storm can conquer Death-Which-Comes-in-the-Night and uncover the great conspiracy that threatens not only Arzor, but all human-occupied planets.


Publisher's press release followed by same write-up as paperback ~

Nineteen-year-old Tani is traveling with her aunt and uncle on their ship, the Ark, which travels through space collecting and distributing genetic material from species throughout the galaxy. They're due for a simple delivery to the planet Arzor, but once they get there, Tani realizes this will be a far more complicated and dangerous stop.


From the back of the paperback ~

Beast Master Hosteen Storm has endured great perils to carve out a life for himself on Azor, the colony planet he’s called home since the destruction of Earth by the alien Xil. On a planet with alien life forms and untold secrets from its pre-human past, there are always dangers in the wild, especially in the vast desert and rugged mountain region known as Big Blue.

But nobody has ever experienced a threat like the devastating scourge the natives call Death-Which-Comes-In-The-Night. Something is killing grazing animals, and has begun to attack humans as well, leaving nothing behind but the bones of its victims.

Hosteen, aided by his telepathically linked animals, knows that if he can’t stop the killings Azor will be decimated. His only ally is a young woman who has beast master ability, but was raised to mistrust others with such a power. At stake is the safety of all those on Azor and on other colony planets as well. Because Death-Which-Comes-In-The-Night is a scourge that if not stopped here, could spread...


Write-ups from fans ~

Before the Xik destruction of Earth, the Terran High Command authorized the creation and stocking of genetic arks (large spaceships with laboratories) to preserve many animal species.  Now one Ark ship is coming to Arzor to hopefully obtain some genetic material from Hosteen Storm's team, and to possibly create mates for them. Trouble is, the main geneticist on the Ark hates Beast Masters because she feels sacrificing the animals in war is wrong; this attitude was taught to her by her mother, who resented the fact that her Beast Master husband and his animal team had been killed in the war with the Xik. In addition to her attitude towards him, Storm gets off on the wrong foot by laughing when her owl repeats a scurrilous phrase taught to it by a disgruntled former member of the Ark's crew. At the same time, a second Xik holdout force on Arzor has created a hive of voracious killer insects, akin to the army ants of Earth--only much more deadly. Hosteen and Tani (the geneticist) must combine their skills to defeat this new Xik threat. ~~ Book 3 of BEAST MASTER series. This book is much more McConchie than Norton--Andre's heroines never GIGGLED! I could wish, Andre Norton had chosen someone else to carry on the Beastmaster series. I even have a hard time believing that McConchie had even read the originals--she missed the mark on her characterization of Hosteen Storm.  She also created a very unsatisfactory character in Tani; the book states that she is 19 years old; I could more readily believe 13--and a very spoiled 13 at that. The Storm of the first two books would not have been attracted to such a spoiled brat, not even though their Beastmaster skills combined to defeat the enemy. ~ SL


The Ark is a ship holding plant and animal DNA samples from the now-destroyed planets of Terra and Ishan. They go around human colonies introducing animals and plants to their ecologies. Tani, daughter of a deceased Beastmaster who has Beastmaster talents but was taught to hate Beastmasters (by her mother, now also deceased). She works for her uncle and aunt who run the Ark. They come to Arzor. Arzor has a big problem. Something is attacking humans, natives and animals leaving nothing but bones and disappearing without a trace. Tani and Hosteen Storm both through their telepathic power can sense the attacks and "hear" the attackers, especially in their dreams. Tani goes riding with her team of two Coyotes and a Paraowl. She meets some Nitra, the savage natives, and goes to meet their shaman who wants her to get rid of the Death-which-comes-in-the-night. Storm has also been recruited for the same task. Tension mounts as the Nitra, the Norbies, and the humans are all losing people and animals to this mysterious scourge. Will DNA testing provide the key to solving the crisis? Can Tani and Storm combine forces to identify, locate and combat the perilous enemy? Action packed and quite enjoyable. One of the best Norton collaborations ever. ~ PG


KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002
Volume three of the Beast Master series begun with 1959’s The Beast Master and 1962’s Lord of Thunder. A fourth installment is promised. And that’s good, since this is one of the better SF series going, with Norton using stripped prose to put her stereotypes through their foredestined rounds. A mind-boggling element in her fictional background are the many casually visited planets that support organic life much like that of Earth—which, by the way, is no more, having been wiped out by the Xiks (even though the Xiks were defeated) and creating the need for new planets in the federation to be colonized and regenerated. Beast Master Hosteen Storm (homeworld: Earth) now lives on Arzor and tends his beast mutations when the Beast Master Ark arrives, its crew hoping to get some gene samples from Storm’s herds and perhaps colonize Arzor with meerkats. Aboard the Ark is Tani, a 19-year-old geneticist and rather spoiled Cheyenne/Irish orphan who dislikes Beast Masters. Storm finds that some dreadful new invader is killing frawns by day and native children at night by paralyzing them, eating them alive, and sucking their bones clean all within five minutes. Sounds a bit like army ants, someone suggests. But this killer leaves no trace on the sand beyond a stink that Storm’s big cat can follow while Storm’s eagle circles above (he controls both beasts by telepathy). When Tani has nightmares about the invisible predator, Storm determines that she’s an empathic like himself and can help track the Death-which-comes-in-the-Night.
Neat, swift, and strongly detailed. Old fans will dance and howl for more. 


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

2002 Kirkus Reviews, May 01
2002 by Lesley Hatch in Vector #225, September


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To our good friend Sharman Horwood,
who also loves Witch World,
this book is affectionately dedicated.
And to Jean Weber (Australia) in memory of Minou.
- L. McC.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2002) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-30041-9, 978-0-765-30041-6, LCCN 2002067249, $23.95 US $33.95 Canadian , 318pg ~ cover by Allen Douglas {Black paper Boards & Spine}
  • (2003) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-34009-7, 978-0-765-34009-2, $5.99, 318pg ~ cover by Allen Douglas
  • Beast Master Team (2004) Published by SFBC, HC, 0-7394-4180-9, 978-0-7394-4180-0, # 64363, $12.99, 388pg ~ cover by Allen Douglas ~ Omnibus containing Beast Master’s Ark (2002) & Beast Master's Circus (2004)
  • (2016) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no isbn, $3.99, 215pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • (2018) Published by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, PB, 978-1-680-68010-2, $10.49, 246pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth


Non-English Editions ~

  • (2002) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Rebis, 83-730-1230-6, 282pg ~ translation by Jarosław Kotarski ~ Polish title Władca Bestii I Plaga [Beast and the plague]
  • (2005) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo and St. Petersburg, by Domino, 5-699-12277-X, HC, 352pg ~ translation by A. Khromova ~ cover by Rowena Morrill ~ Russian title Ковчег повелителя зверей [Beastmaster's Ark]