Star Guard

~ 2nd Novel in the Central Control Series by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1955 HC ~

3956 A.D. found the people of earth, Terra, firmly under the power of Central Control - or so it seemed. Arch Swordsman Kana Karr had been taught like the rest of earth's men that the role in the universe assigned to them was to be its mercenaries. Under the command of officers from other planets, they went wherever fighting was necessary.
Outwardly there seemed to be no trouble. But rumors were beginning to spread - rumors of disasters that had wiped out whole units of Terra's men. Kana Karr knew of these rumors when he set out on his first mission, but it was to be a seemingly easy police action on the planet Fronn. The assignment proved to be anything but what was expected. Kana and his comrades faced, not just disaster, but the planned annihilation of their whole force! In these distant planets, some power was beginning a campaign to overthrow the whole system.
How could word be gotten back to Central Control? What network of forces was operating under an apparently calm surface? And what did this all mean for the planet Terra and mankind? In a breath-taking novel of outer space, Andre Norton spins a tale of excitement and intrigue, this time thrusting the reader into a future world where men are not the masters but underdogs of the universe. Star Guard is another tightly plotted, fast moving adventure to add to such popular Norton books as Star Rangers, Star Man's Son, and At Swords' Point.


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

In a breathtaking novel of outer space, Andre Norton spins a web of excitement and intrigue, this time taking the reader into a future epoch where men are not the masters but the underdogs of the universe – hired soldiers who wear the uniforms of their alien masters.
Andre Norton’s Star Guard in the fast-action account of the courageous recruit was first dared to challenge that science-dictatorship on behalf of the whole of Earth.
It’s a thriller,” said The Cleveland Press


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

“Intrigue, Espionage, Battle… A fast-moving adventure which should enthrall!” – The New York Times
They were Terrans, considered by Central Control to be the ideal mercenaries of the galaxy. Divided into “Hordes” and “Legions”, the former serving on primitive worlds with hand weapons. The latter indulging in technical warfare on more advanced planets. These man of death followed orders perfectly – until rumors of whole unit annihilations began to spread.
Kana Karr was just Swordsman of an ordinary Horde. He had been sent to an un-extraordinary planet to quell a common rebellion. A simple assignment – until Kana discovered the awesome truth behind the intergalactic rumors and realized that not only his life but the fate of the whole human race was irrevocably entwined with the outcome.
“Fantastic, valorous, Fast-Paced.” – Saturday Review


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

Mercenary Menace
Central Control was the Law. And by that law, the “barbarian” Terrans were allowed access to the stars only as mercenaries.
So Kana Karr became a Swordsman, a specialist in primitive warfare on low-tech planets. His first assignment – helping to quell a rebellion on an underdeveloped planet – should have been simple. But someone was fighting dirty – and the intended victims were the Terran mercenaries.
Then Kana stumbled on the truth behind the killings, and learned that the fate of all Terrans hung in the balance.
“Andre Norton has filled her book with enough intrigue, espionage and battle to make a fast-moving adventure which should enthrall.” – The New York Times Book Review


Write-ups from fans ~

Space opera at its finest. Terrans, newcomers to space, looked down upon by Central Control, a confederation of ET races. So the only way for men to go to the stars is a Mercenaries, either the low-tech "Archs" or the high-tech "Mechs". Kana Karr, Arch swordsman 3rd class, Alien Liason specialist. Is assigned to a Horde on the Planet Fronn. Everything went well for a while until their unit is betrayed by a group of Mechs with superior weaponry. This, of course, is against all the rules and regulations governing Terran mercenaries. The horde has to flee for their lives through hostile territory in dreadful weather seeking any allies that they can find. Can they get word back to Earth so they can be rescued? What does the future hold for one Kana Karr, Arch Swordsman 3rd Class? Read this exciting book and find out! ~ PG


1955’s Star Guard is a prequel to Star Rangers. Although this book is set thousands of years before Star Rangers, Star Guard’s galaxy is ruled by the same Central Control that is in the process of falling apart in Star Rangers. The difference is that Star Guard’s Central Control is dominated by the galaxy’s elder races and humans are an ill-regarded junior race. Humans struggling for freedom in a galaxy set against them is a familiar story, but Norton provides a fascinating, if very dark, twist by placing this in the same universe as Star Rangers.
The elder races…. ~ JN
Read More ...


KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1955
Worlds and cons away are the adventures of Kana Karr, Swordsman Third Class, who goes to the planet Fronn with Yorke Horde in the 5th millenium A.D.-Terran figuring. Earth, or Terra, under a despotic and all powerful Central Control has developed a system of, professional fighting men, which it sends out for needed patrol duty in other solar systems. For his first assignment Kana, who is one of these soldiers, is sent out as part of a patrol to quell an uprising between two humanoid factions on forbidding Fronn. The adventures that follow are protracted and typical of Andre Norton's well developed sets of fantastic circumstances and they result in Kang's initiation to the coterie of Terrans who are breaking away from Central Control and seeking freedom to pioneer on their own on other planets. Absorbing. 


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

1955 Kirkus Reviews, August 01
1956 by Floyd C. Gale in Galaxy Science Fiction, January
1956 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, January
1956 by Anthony Boucher in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February
1956 by Villiers Gerson in Amazing Stories, March
1956 by Henry Bott in Imagination, August
1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, August, reprinted in: (UK) Astounding Science Fiction, December
1979 by H. Flick Jr. in Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, January
2015 by James Nicoll, January, 02 Θ
2019 by Judith Tarr at, August 12


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1955) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 55007612, $3.00, 247pg ~ illustrated ~ cover by Richard Powers {Green Cloth Boards}
  • (1956) ACE Double Book containing Star Guard and Planet of No Return by Poul Anderson, Published by ACE Double, PB, # D-199, $0.35, 214+105pg ~ cover of Star Guard by Ed Emshwiller ~ cover of Planet of No Return by Edward Valigursky
  • (1961) Published by ACE, PB, # D-527, $0.35, 214pg ~ # G-599, 1966, $0.50, 214pg covers by Ed Emshwiller ~ #78131 1973 $0.95 254pg, #78132 1974 $1.25 254pg, #78133 1977 $1.50 254pg, covers by Chris Foss
  • (1969) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-00208-5, £ 18s (216p), 256pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Alan Breese {Olive Cloth Boards}
  • (1981) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-23646-3, $1.75 ~ cover by Ken Barr
  • (1984) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-31624-X, $2.25, 224pg ~ #35036-7 1987 $2.50 ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger
  • Star Soldiers (2001) Published by BAEN, HC, 0-671-31827-6, $18.00, 434pg ~ cover by Stephen Hickman ~ Omnibus containing Star Guard (1955) & Star Rangers (1953)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1958) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, OCLC: 72941805, Utopia Großband 81, 95pg ~ German title Die Rebellen
  • (1958) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, OCLC: 73753135, Utopia Großband 81, 94pg ~ German title Die Rebellen
  • (1973) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, Terra TB 210, Utopia ~ German title Die Rebellen von Terra
  • (1971) Published in Milan, Italy; by Editrice Nord, 88-429-0020-9, OCLC: 70715663, 183pg ~ translated by Gabriele Tamburini ~ Italian title Riscatto cosmico
  • (1978) Published in Japan; by Tokuma Shoten, 41-915-1580-2, 244pg ~ translated by Sakawa Mariko ~ cover by Naitou Sadao ~ Japanese title 燃える惑星 スター・ガード
  • (1996) Published in Kaunus, Lithuania; by Eridanas, 99-864-8633-5, 206pg ~ translated by Anita Kapočiūtė _ Lithuanian title Žvaigždžių gvardija
  • (1995) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3809-2, 218pg ~ translation by Włodzimierz Nowaczyk ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Gwiezdna Straż [Space Guard]
  • (1991) Combined with "Star Rangers" ~ Published in Moscow, by All Moscow, HC, 260pg ~ Russian title Галактический патруль [Galactic Patrol]
  • (1991) Combined with "The High Crusade" by Poul Anderson ~ Published by Dzherelo, 5-580-15076-X, PB, 320pg ~ cover by W. Barby ~ Russian title Звездная стража. Крестоносцы неба.
  • (1991) Combined with "The Stars Are Ours!", Star Born" and "Star Rangers" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eskmo-Press, 5-040-06859-X, HC, 512pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by Igor Varavin ~ Russian title Звездная стража [Star Guard]
  • (1992) Combined with "Catseye" and "Merlin's Mirror" ~ Published by Enthalpy, 5-886-02002-0, 416pg ~ Russian title Кошачьим взглядом. Звездная стража. Зеркало Мерлина
  • (1992) Combined with "Catseye" translation by Dmitry Arseniev and "The Zero Stone" translation by A. Prokofiev ~ Published in Kaliningrad by Russia's West, 5-829-43010-9, HC, 500pg ~ "Star Guard" translation by L. Tkachuk ~ cover by B. Trubin ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [The Zero Stone]
  • (1992) Combined with "Daybreak 2250 AD", "The Last Planet", "Secret of the Lost Race" and "Star Hunter" ~ Published in Ishin, by EYA, HC, 544pg ~ cover by O. Polishchuk ~ Russian title Рассвет в 2250 году [Daybreak 2250 AD]
  • (1992) Combined with "The Last Planet", "Catseye" and "Star Hunter" ~ Published in Angarsk, by Amber and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14007-0, HC, 528pg ~ Russian title Звездная стража [Star Guard]
  • (1992) Combined with "The Voyage of the Space Beagle" by A.E. van Vogt ~ Published in St. Petersburg, by Library "Stars", 5-718-30041-0, HC, 352pg ~ cover by N. Zubkov ~ Russian title Звездный легион. [Star Legion]
  • (1992) Combined with one Roger Zelazny novel and six short stories, and one Robert Heinlein novel with three short stories ~ Published in Stavropol, by Caucasian Region, 5-867-11064-8, HC, 538pg ~ "Star Guard" translation by L. Tkachuk ~ Russian title Э.НОРТОН, Р.ЖЕЛЯЗНЫ, Р.ХАЙНЛАЙН. Фантастика. [Andre Norton, Roger Zelazny, Robert Heinlein. Fantasy]
  • (1993) Combined with "The Last Planet", "Star Man's Son", "Treasure on Thunder" by Edmond Hamilton and "Brother Berserker" by Fred Saberhagen ~ Published in Tallinn, by Melora, 5-797-90480-2, HC, 512pg ~ cover by M. Shevdova ~ Russian title Планета приключений. [Planet of Adventure]
  • (1994) Combined with "Star Rangers" and "Merlin's Mirror" ~ Published in Tashkent, by Pravda Vostoka, 5-855-83001-2, HC, 480pg ~ Russian title Звездная стража. Звездные бродяги. Зеркало Мерлина.
  • (1994) Combined with "The Last Planet", "Catseye" and "Star Hunter" ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-863-14034-8, HC, 528pg ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Звездная стража [Star Guard]
  • (1996) Combined with "The Zero Stone" translation by A. Prokofiev, and "Uncharted Stars" translation by S. Snegur ~ Published in Kiev, by Alterpres, 5-770-73611-9, HC, 576pg ~ "Star Guard" translation by L. Tkachuk ~ cover by S. Pavlenko and T. Kostecki ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [Stone Forerunners]
  • Combined with "Catseye" translation by Dmitry Arseniev and "The Zero Stone" translation by A. Prokofiev ~ Pirated edition, marked as being published by "North-east", a non-existent publisher. ~ "Star Guard" translation by L. Tkachuk ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [The Zero Stone]
  • (2015) Combined with “The Last Planet”, “Secret of the Lost Race”, “The Sioux Spaceman” & “Yurth Burden”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699827817, HC, 704pgs ~ “Secret of the Lost Race”, “The Sioux Spaceman” & “Yurth Burden” translation by O. Kolesnikova, “Star Guard” & “The Last Planet” translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Последняя планета [Last Planet]


View the Original contract

View the 1978 ACE contract

View the 1983 Copyright renewal app.

View the 2004 Russian contract ~ no publishing data at this time


Original drawing by Barbi Johnson 1970? from one of Andre's scrapbooks