Moon of Three Rings

~ 1st Novel in the Moon Magic Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Free Traders or Moon Singer


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the back of the paperback editions ~

At the time of the Moon of Three Rings, the galactic trade ship Lydis lands on the planet Yiktor. On Yiktor, Krip Vorlund, a junior crewmember, seeks amusement at a beast show. He is strangely attracted to the owner of the show animals, a delicate and mysterious woman, Maelen. When Vorlund is kidnapped by a Combine seeking to control the planet, he learns too well the nature of Maelen’s sorcery; she transforms him into a wolfish creature, in which form he retains his own soul.
“Between them - Krip and Maelen - they spin an eerie tale of dreams and visions, of metamorphoses and extrasensory perception, of timelessness and limitlessness.
“The primitive world of Yiktor, evoked from myth and legend and ingeniously fused with the future, will be entered most receptively by readers aquainted with medieval heroes and mysticism. Even the signing prose rings with the cadence of legendary literature.” – The Horn Book


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

"I spin from world to world because it is a way of life to which I have been born and bred. I know of none different."
This way of life was to bring Krip Vorlund, the Free Trader, to a planet called Yiktor at the time of the Moon of Three Rings. The Three Rings meant power, and those few of Yiktor who possessed it could shadow a man's life or turn it into nothingness.
Maelen, the trainer of werewolf-like animals, had this power. a Moon Singer, a sorceress, a weaver of thoughts, Maelen willed that Krip leave his body to be found and carried to the valley of the forgotten by those pursuing him for their own evil in the space race. And by her magic, Maelen "espered" the transplantation of Krip's inner being into the form of one of her own little creatures.
Now, in the guise of a predatory animal, Krip is terrorized by a fear more powerful than any he had ever known as a Free Trader of the Galaxies. For although his external characteristics have changed, his soul remains the same. To make his plight known to those outside the realm of the Moon of Three Rings is impossible. How can he, a haunted creature, retrieve his body and remetamorphosize to his natural state before it is too late?
Brilliantly told by a leading science-fiction writer, Moon of Three Rings is an absorbing space-age adventure that can be read on many levels. 


Write-ups from fans ~

The world of Yiktor comes to life under Andre's talented pen and the Thassa are one of the most interesting races she ever created.
Krip Vorlund, youngest and newest crewman of the Free Trader Lydis on leave at the great fair on Yiktor visits a "Beast Show" run by a mysterious Thassa moonsinger, Maelen. He later accompanies her to an animal dealer who has a badly-treated Barsk, a dangerous wild predator (similar to a wolfhound). The dealer tries to kill Maelen, but Krip stuns him and saves Maelen's life. Later Kirp is kidnapped and tortured by a local warlord who hoped to trade him for advanced weapons so he can take over the world. He manages to escape and is found by Maelen and her troupe. He is in bad shape and when the soldiers of the warlord are about to overtake them, she uses her magic to transfer him into the body of the Barsk. She claims that Krip's body was under a powerful curse and protection of a local god, but they take it anyway. All kinds of mayhem follows as they try to get back his body to change him back. Maelen is in deep trouble with the Thassa for all her use of their moon-powered magic on an off-worlder. Action-packed, riveting. I visit yiktor often.

NOTE: Yiktor' moon, Sotrath shows two of its rings at all time and the Thassa can draw power from it. On occasion, the third ring appears and while it is visible, their power is multiplied and greater deeds can be done. ~ PG


1966’s The Moon of Three Rings is the first volume in Norton’s Moon Singer  series.
Yiktor appears to be just another world among millions, a world once home to an advanced civilization now long vanished, just as so many civilizations have flourished, then vanished, across the galaxy. Now Yiktor is a world whose current population is (seemingly) trapped in barbarism. To Free Traders, it is a possible source of valuable trade goods. To a greedy Combine seeking worlds to conquer, Yiktor looks like easy pickings. As they will learn, the great civilization that called Yiktor home is not extinct…. ~ JN
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KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1966
Moon of Three Rings is by the prolific author who can generally be counted on to do multiple rings around any of the others working in the juvenile science fiction form, and this is one of her best. Krip Vorlund, a Free Trader, was a wanderer. All of the traders were rooted only to their ships; they had no ties to any world except as places to visit and exchange goods, and their only ambition was to be able to own their own space ships. But when Krip's crew came to the medieval planet Yiktor his soul became a wanderer into different bodies. It's all because he became a pawn in a plan by off-worlders to gain control of Yiktor as a base to achieve galactic control, and to do so they had to be able to conquer the Thassas, a small group of people of Yiktor with magic powers. Maelen, a Thassa trainer of a beast show and a Moon Singer saves Krip's life, but only by exchanging his body with that of a wolfish animal, later with a Thassa man. Together, Maelen and Krip become involved in the struggle to escape from the feudal battles, to attain safety for Yiktor, and to retrieve Krip's lost body. It's a compelling pilgrimage, well worth taking for fantasy/SF fans. 


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

1966 Kirkus Reviews, August 01
1967 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction -> Science Fact, June
2014 by Patrick T. Reardon, Jan. 13
2015 by Patrick T. Reardon, June 08
2015 by James Nicoll, July, 17   Θ
2017 by Judith Tarr at, Feb. 27


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To Sylvia Cochran,
who guided so many “infant" pens


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1966) Published by Viking, HC, LCCN 66006943, $3.75, 316pg ~ cover by Robin Jacques {Cream Cloth Boards}
  • (1966) Published by The Macmillan Company of Canada Ltd., HC, LCCN AC-66-10251, $4.75, 316pg ~ Canadian printing ~ cover by Robin Jacques {Pictorial Boards}
  • (1967) Published by Viking Junior Literary Guild, ~ cover by Robin Jacques {Pictorial Boards}
  • (1967) Published by ACE, PB, 020-08033-060, H-33, $0.60 ~ #54101, 1970, $0.75, 256pg ~ #54102, 1974, $0.95, 256pg ~ covers by Jack Gaughan ~ #54103, 1975, $1.25, 256 pg  ~ cover by John Schoenherr ~ 5th printing #54104-6, 1978, $0.75, 294pg  cover by Paul Alexander ~ 6th printing #54105-4,1981,  $2.50, 294pg ~ 12th printing #53899-1, 1985, $2.50, 294pg ~ 13th printing #53900-9, 1987, $2.95, 294pg ~ covers by Walter Valez
  • (1969) Published by Longman Young Books, HC, 0-582-15510-X, £ 21s (£1.12), 320pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Robin Jacques {White Paper Boards}
  • Moonsinger (2006) Published by BAEN, HC, 1-416-52061-9, 464pg ~ cover by Alan Pollack ~ Omnibus containing Exiles of the Stars (1971) & Moon of Three Rings (1966)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1969) Published in Munich, Germany; by Moewig, OCLC: 73842694, Terra TB 166, 143pg ~ translation by Birgit Ress-Bohusch ~ German title Das Geheimnis der Mondsänger
  • (1985) Published in Munich, Germany; by Moewig, 38-118-3806-7, TB 6, 160pg ~ German title Das Geheimnis der Mondsänger
  • (1995) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Zysk i S-ka, 83-715-0011-4, 220pg ~ translation by Dorota Dziewońska ~ Polish title Księżyc Trzech Pierścieni [Moon of Three Rings]
  • (1992) Combined with "Iron Cage" and "Yurth Burden" ~ Published in Katerinburg, by Victory, 5-879-41001-6, HC, 448pg ~ cover by A. Kazansev ~ Russian title Луна трех колец [Moon of Three Rings]
  • (1992) Combined with "Operation Time Search" and "Forerunner Foray" ~ Published in Moscow, by Reteks, 5-874-86003-7, HC, 464pg ~ translation by B. Martov ~ cover by B. Romankova ~ Russian title Поиск во времени [Time Search]
  • (1992) Combined with "The Puppet Masters" by Robert Heinlein ~ Published in Moscow, by Agra and Inrezerv, 5-879-94003-9, HC, 432pg ~ cover by N. Lyubeshkina ~ Russian title Космические оборотни [Space Werewolves]
  • (1993) Combined with "Exiles of the Stars" ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, no ISBN, HC, 416pg ~ translation by K. Prilipko ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Лунная магия [Moonlight Magic]
  • (1997) Combined with "Iron Cage" and "Yurth Burden" ~ Published in Tallin, by Melor and Moscow, by Symbolism, 5-870-05043-X, HC, 440pg ~ translation by s. Ryzhov ~ Russian title Пылающая Вселенная [Burning Universe]
  • (2004) Combined with "Exiles of the Stars" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-05456-1, HC, 384pg ~ translation by Oleg Kolesnikova ~ Russian title Луна трех колец [Moon of Three Rings]
  • (2007) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 978-5-699-23099-0, PB, 320pg ~ Russian title Луна трех колец [Moon of Three Rings]
  • (2015) Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699838974, PB, 288pgs ~ translation by O. Kolesnikova ~ series: Sliver Fiction Collection ~ Russian title Луна трех колец [Moon of Three Rings]
  • (2015) Combined by “Exiles of the Stars”, “Voorloper”, “Forerunner” & “Forerunner: The Second Venture”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699766109, HC, 992pgs ~ “Exiles of the Stars” & “Moon of Three Rings” translation by O. Kolesnikova, “Voorloper” translation by D. Arseniev and A. Kolesnikov, “Forerunner” & “Forerunner: The Second Venture” translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Звёздные изгнанники [Exiles of the Stars]


View the Original contract

View the 2004 Russian contract