The Defiant Agents

~ 3rd Novel in the Time Traders Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Time Travel, Time War or Ross Murdock

NOTE: Many “Print on Demand” publishers have started to release this title. This site has chosen to ignore these published versions and only concentrate on estate sanctioned materials. 


Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old posting ~

In this near future book the US is in a race with the Russians to use alien technology scavenged from crashed spaceships to colonize planets outside our solar system. Because they feel that they are in danger of losing this race, men working for the United States government have decided to use a group of volunteers from the Apache tribe as subjects in an experiment without their knowledge. By use of the Redax, the volunteers will be made to think and act as Apaches of the 18th and 19th centuries would respond. It is hoped this would help them better adapt to life on a primitive planet.
However, the spaceship they are traveling in crashes on the planet of Topaz. Travis Fox escapes with a group of the surviving volunteers. In exploring the planet he learns that they are not the only group on the planet. The Russians using their own version of the Redax have Mongol nomads as their subjects.


Write-up from the front flap of 1962 HC ~

Operation Cochise: a carefully planned Western move to colonize a planet ahead of the Reds. Travis Fox had been an eager volunteer, but the morning he dragged himself half-conscious from the wrecked spaceship on the planet Topaz, he sensed the terror which would threaten the project. Travis never learned why the ship had crashed, nor why he and the other Apache agents had been shot into space without warning and under Redax control, a machine which had returned them to ancestral mentality.
But the dangers on Topaz demanded free minds, for Travis soon realized that if the Reds already encamped beyond the mountains -- a horde of barbaric Mongols completely dominated by their masters -- discovered the secret of the eerie underground chamber in the towers hidden in a valley of mist, not only Topaz but Terra itself would be destroyed.
Andre Norton's ability to grip the reader and transport him to other worlds in space and time is well known. In this fast paced adventure in which the struggle for domination of men's minds ranges from control of their prehistoric memories to the risk of unleashing a horror never meant for the hands of men, the author again proves to be "a superb storyteller whose skill draws the reader completely into a fantastic other-world,"(Chicago Tribune). A companion book to Galactic Derelict.


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

“The ever reliable Andre Norton is, if anything, better than usual in The Defiant Agents, third and best in the space-and-time-travel series that began with The Time Traders.
“Here we have a distant planet which both th U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are populating with colonist in a hypnotic state of regression to their ancestors – the Russians reliving the life of the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan, the Americans (all Apaches) recreating the days when they were a proud warrior race.
“The conflicts of these groups with each other, with nature on a hostile planet, with Russian puppet-masters and with an even more dangerous force from beyond the stars make a fine heroic narrative, imaginative, inventive, told with the compelling pulse of the true storyteller.” – New York Herald Tribune


Write-up from the front flap of the 1978 Gregg Press edition ~

THE DEFIANT AGENTS, first published in l962, is the third novel in Andre Norton’s Time Traders series. It involves a special project that grew out of discoveries made in GALACTIC DERELICT, the second novel in the series. Travis Fox, the Apache archeologist, is sent off on a journey to the uninhabited planet of Topaz with a carefully selected team of Apache settlers. Topaz is a world of golden grasslands and wooded mountains, much like the American West before the coming of the white man. Unbeknownst to the pioneers, they are being subjected to the Redax, a field that puts them into an hypnotic state of regression to their ancestors, presumably to equip them to colonize a virgin planet. But the Russians are there first with a company of Tartar horse herds, their minds similarly warped so that they are reliving the life of the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan while the Apaches recreate their days as a proud warrior race. THE DEFIANT AGENTS is the story of the conflicts of these groups with each other, with nature on a hostile planet, with mind-control from two sources, and with an even more dangerous force from beyond the stars. It is a fine heroic narrative, imaginative and inventive, told with the compelling pulse of the true story-teller, the inimitable Andre Norton.


Write-up from the back of 1980's ACE paperback edition ~

Travis Fox, once the unwilling captive of the runaway spaceship Galactic Derelict, has volunteered - eagerly this time - for the mission to colonize Topaz. But when he and his fellow Apaches find themselves reverting to the ways their ancient warrior-race, just as the expedition from Russia has been transformed into a Mongol Horde encamped across the mountains, it becomes clear that more than their own lives is at stake...
“The conflicts of these groups with each other, with nature on a hostile planet, with Russian puppet-masters and with an even more dangerous force from beyond the stars make a fine heroic narrative, imaginative, inventive, told with the compelling pulse of the true storyteller.” – New York Herald Tribune


Write-ups from fans ~

The United States and Russia both attempt to colonize a planet with groups hypnotically regressed to the types of minds of their ancestors, to give them the kind of knowledge necessary for their survival and welfare on a primitive planet.  The U.S. chose Apache Indians for their colonists and the Russians picked the Mongolian Horde.  However, there was an intelligence leak in the U.S. project and some of their planetary information tapes have been copied.  To take advantage of the planet Topaz, the U.S. scientists use the Redax machine to regress the Apaches to their ancestoral times and send them off in hibernation sleep.  Unfortunately the Russians had reached there first and established satellites that caused the U.S. ship to crash.  Travis Fox and the mutated intelligent telepathic coyotes are the first to awaken and explore the new world.  When he returns from his scouting trip, he discovers the survivors have also awakened.  Some of them still retain their "modern" memories and thought patterns, while others are almost completely regressed.  While establishing their rancheria, they come upon a Mongol girl attempting to escape from the control of the Soviet scientists.  Realizing that "there but for the grace...", that could have been them, the Apaches decide to take on the Russian ship.  But they need more weapons than bows and arrows.  Travis finds a cache that the Baldies left behind and three of the Apaches take charge of "disintegrator" guns and destroy the Russian ship. ~ SL


This picks up where Galactic Derelict left off. One of the planets discovered using the Alien (the Baldies) technology was named Topaz. The Americans decide to send a bunch of modern Apache volunteers to colonize Topaz, but unfortunately the Russians have the same idea. Each group has a way to make their guys revert to ancestral memories and behavior--The Americans evoke the Apaches of 200 years ago and the Russians go for reverting their colonists to the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. Both groups have equipment to control their people, but the American ship crashes and leaves the control machines smashed and the bosses dead. Travis Fox (met him in GD) and a few others have memories of modern world and old time lore. Andre's love of animals shows with a pair of mutated intelligent coyotes who help Travis and the rest. They rescue a Mongol girl who is being hunted by the Reds (Russian bosses). The Reds have the Mongols under control with a machine that act like an invisible slave collar that forces obedience. A stalemate reigns until DEUS EX MACHINA time, Travis uncovers a stash of powerful Baldie Weapons a takes out the Reds and the Apaches and Mongols decide to form one big happy family. ~ PG


1962’s The Defiant Agents is the third in the Time Traders series. It’s a sequel to The Time Traders and Galactic Derelict.
Thanks to the events of the previous two books, the US now has in its possession the location of various potential colony worlds as well as the means to reach them. Unfortunately, thanks to a spy, so do the Reds.
Once the info theft is revealed, the US decides to override the objections of researcher Dr. Ashe, ignore the fact that certain vital technologies are still in the experimental stage, and set in motion Operation Cochise: the…. ~ JN
Read More ...


KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1962
Long years of research in the sppace labs of Terra enables Science to return man to the mental and emotional prototypes of his ancestors with a full awakening of racial memory. A group of volunteers penetrates the land of Topaz where the Apaches have been enslaved by a powerful machine in the hands of the Reds. Travis and his associates become leaders of the underdog and fall at negotiation with the enemy. A master plan to usurp the mysterious treasure house in the towers is more effective and the Reds are thus rendered powerless. But the Apaches do not respond in kind. Instead they decree that both sides shall live in peace. Andre Norton, a polished writer of science fiction, weaves his outlandish fare in patterns intricate enough to attract the most devoted addict. Do not try to contrive a consistent political allegory out of his flight into fantasy. This is pure science fiction with obvious pertinent overtones.


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

1962 Kirkus Reviews, March 01
1962 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, July, reprinted in: (UK) Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, November
2015 by James Nicoll, May, 01   Θ
2017 by Patrick T. Reardon, Aug. 01
2018 By Judith Tarr at, Oct. 29


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For P. Schuyler Miller who expressed a wish for some Apache colonists,
 and Charles F. Kelly who has a liking for "time agent" tales.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1962) Published by World, HC, WP262, LCCN 62009063, $3.50, 224pg ~ cover by Ed Emshwiller {Black Cloth Boards}
  • (1963) Published by ACE, PB, # F-183, $0.40, 192pg ~ # M-150 1966 $0.45 192pg, #14231 1969 $0.60 192pg, covers by Ed Emshwiller ~ #14232 1972 $0.75 192pg, #14233 1974 $0.95 192pg, #14234 1975 $1.25 192pg, covers by Adams ~ #14235 1978 $1.75 218pg, cover by Davis Meltzer ~ #14236 1980 $1.95 218pg, #14229 1984 $2.50 218pg, #14249 1987 $2.95 218pg, #14249 1992 $3.99 218pg, covers by Walter Valez
  • (1978) Published by Gregg Press, HC, 0-839-82423-6, LCCN 78020923, $8.95, 190pg ~ Time Trader Series 3 ~ Dust Jacket and Frontmatter by Wayne Barlowe ~ {Binding: 5.625 x 8.25 - Dark Blue Cloth Boards with Silver Lettering, Blue End Papers}      Note: There are a couple of bibliographies that state this edition was released in the UK by George Prior Publishing – We have not been able to verify this fact.
  • Time Traders II (2001) Published by BAEN, HC, 0-671-31968-X, LCCN 00049426, $19.00, 370pg ~ cover by Stephen Hickman ~ Omnibus containing The Defiant Agents (1962) & Key Out of Time (1963)
  • (2017) Published by Open Road Media, DM, no ISBN, $0.99, 183pg ~ cover by Ian Koviak


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1964) Published in Munich, Germany; in Moewig, OCLC: 73741701, Terra SF370, 66pg ~ German title Schiffbruch der Zeitagenten
  • (1993) Published in Budapest, Hungary; by Pheonix, 963-7606-95-6, 187pg ~ Hungarian title A végzetes csata: Időharcosok 3
  • (1974) Published in Japan; by Bookstore Books Jubo, 47-659-1535-2, QT 19, 208pg ~ translated by Symphony Hinatsu ~ cover by Tsunoda Sumio ~ Japanese title 崩壊した銀河文明
  • (1994) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3803-3, 213pg ~ translated by Marta Starczewska ~ cover by Alan Gutierrez ~ Polish title Zuchwali Agenci [Bold Agents]
  • (1999) Published in Poland; by Amber, 83-7245-186-9, 158pg ~ translated by Hanna Szczerkowska ~ cover by Jeff Sturgeon ~ Polish title Bunt Agentów (republished in 2006 with cover by Arenes)
  • (1993) Combined with "Key Out of Time" ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14021-6, HC, 352pg ~ translation by Dimtry Arseniev ~ Russian title Война во времени [War Time]
  • (2003) Combined with "Time Traders" translation by Oleg Kolesnikov, "Galactic Derelict" translation by Dmitry Arseniev and "Key Out of Time" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-03581-8, HC, 512pg ~ "The Defiant Agents" translation by Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Russian title Война во времени [War Time]
  • (2014) Combined with “The Time Traders”, “Galactic Derelict” & “Key Out of Time”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699705177, HC, 768pgs ~ “The Time Traders” & “The Defiant Agents” translation by O. Kolesnikova, “Galactic Derelict” & “Key Out of Time” translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Торговцы во времени [Time Traders]


View the Original contract

View the 1977 Gregg Press contract

View the 1993 Polish contract

View the 2004 Russian contract