Breed to Come

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1972 dustjacket ~

“What monstrous folly, think you, ever led nature to create her one great enemy--man!” —CHARLES VAN DYKE
When desperate measures failed to control what they had begun and could not stop, men fled their polluted planet, leaving behind an epidemic virus born of experimentation. Unlike men, whom the disease destroyed, the animals of the planet thrived, each generation more l'0rccl'ul and intelligent than the last.
Of those born with heightened intelligence and manual dexterity among the cats was Gammage, who had cut himself off from his pride and gone to live in the ruins of what was once a vast university complex. His experiments there had earned him the reputation of a sorcerer among his own people: many boasted they would go to see him, few actually went, and those who did never returned.
Furtig, a young warrior of Gammage’s own family line, was one of those who went. There he found a vast band of cats, all more highly evolved than those outside, working with Gammage to master the works of man. From them he learned that the Demons--as men were called--were not legend as he had thought, but real, and that the danger of their return to the planet was imminent.
In the extraordinary climax to Breed to Come, precipitated by the landing of a spaceship bearing men of the feared exile race, both animals and men must make soul-tearing decisions as to their loyalties and the use they will make of the knowledge at their command.
In Breed to Come Andre Norton raises some of the fundamental moral questions of our time and examines them with the passionate intelligence We have come to expect of her as a writer.


Write-up from the back of ACE paperback edition ~

When desperate measures failed to control what men had begun and could not stop, they fled their polluted planet, leaving behind an epidemic virus born of experimentation. Yet unlike men, whom the disease could destroy, the animals of the planet thrived, each generation more forceful and intelligent than the last.
In the ruins of what was once a university complex a vast band of cats, more highly evolved than those on the outside, sought to master the works of man. They soon learned that the Demons – as men were called – were not legendary, but real, as was the danger of their return to the planet.
Then one day a spaceship landed bearing the feared exile race.


Write-ups from fans ~

The Demons (humans) return to the world they had abandoned (i.e. space colonists return to mother Earth), leaving it to the inferior races they had used as experimental animals.  Only the animals had grown in intelligence and courage, and weren't about to meekly submit to the Demon's demands, like the dogs and cats they had descended from. ~ SL


The meek inherit the Earth. Humans have all either died or moved to another world 500+ years ago. Between war, biological and chemical weapons many humans went crazy and inadvertently set the stage for rapid evolution and mutation of Cats, Dogs and Rats and to a lesser extent, pigs into nearly humanoid creatures. Cats (the People), Dogs (Barkers) Rats (Rattons) and Pigs (Tusked Ones) are the dominant life forms in this area. One of the Clans of the People have moved into "The Lairs" a massive abandoned city of the Demons (humans) and they struggle to learn to master Demon technology so as to be able to fight off the Rattons and be prepared to repel the demons should they ever return. Unfortunately, the vile Rattons also claim the city and wreak havoc when they can. The story is told mostly through the eyes of Furtig, a young warrior of the People of the Five Caves. He fails in the "Trials" a contest for warriors and leaves the cave to go to the Lairs and gather knowledge for the benefit of the People.
Meanwhile, the human colony on Elhorn is in trouble. A miscalculation has started an ecological disaster that is slowly spreading. They send out a scout ship to find Earth to find a way to solve the problem or if they can't, to see if they can move back to Earth. The ship with two couples lands near the city and scout around when one man is stricken by madness and teams up with the Rattons against everyone else. Will his fellow humans work with or against him? Can the People, the Barkers and the Tusked Ones put aside their differences and quarrels to unite against a common enemy? Will the scouts find a solution to their growing problem or do they recommend a return to earth for the colony? And will Furtig find love in the Lairs? ~ PG


The People who take center stage in Norton’s 1972 Breed to Come have only a vague idea of who they are or where they came from. Centuries earlier, Demons ruled the world. Then their hubris both doomed the Demons and raised their victims—the feline People, the porcine Tuskers, the ratlike Rattons, and the canine Barkers—from mere animals to people. Or so Furtig of the People has been taught since he was a cub.
As far as Furtig knows, the most serious problem facing him is the need to prove himself to those who choose, the females of breeding…. ~ JN
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KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1972
More precisely, breeds to come. . . as the feline People face their enemies the Rattons and the Barkers. The visionary Gammage and his followers (among them Norton's hero and narrator Furtig) are working together to regain the ancient knowledge of the departed Demons (read men) and prepare for the expected return. The People's technology, command of their own peculiar psi powers, and genetic makeup change with astounding rapidity as they work themselves up for the final confrontation with their former masters, and Norton stage manages the complexities of plot and verifying felinological detail with admirable finesse though with none of the mythic suspense that others (such as William Tenn in Of Men and Monsters) have brought to similar themes. Readable on its own terms, but hardly an evolutionary breakthrough. 


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

1972 Kirkus Reviews, June 01
1972 by Charlie Brown in Locus #125, October 27
1972 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November
1973 in Publishers Weekly, July 30
1973 by Don D'Ammassa in Son of WSFA Journal #113 (fnz), November
1974 by Baird Searles in Locus #154, January 25
2015 by James Nicoll, October, 02   Θ


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

With appreciation for their invalable aid in research, my thanks to my resident people-in-fur (in order of Seniority) Timmie, Punch, Samwise, Frodo, Su Li and to the valiant memory of Thia Shan, Sabrina, Samantha, who were with us for far too short a time.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1972) Published by Viking, HC, 0-670-18894-8, 978-0-670-18894-9, LCCN 71183937, $11.50, 285pg ~ cover by Laslo Gal {Library Edition – Purple Pictorial Boards, “1 2 3 4 5 76 75 74 73 72”, ISBN on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1973) Published by Longman Young Books, HC, 0-582-16468-0, 978-0-582-16468-0, £1.50, 188pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Laslo Gal {“First Published in Great Britain 1973”, ISBN on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1973) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-07895-8, $1.25, 288pg ~ cover by unknown ~ Later covers by Wayne Barlowe ~ 07897-4 1980 $1.95, 07898-2 1981 $2.25, 5th & 6th printing $2.25 in 1982?, 07899 1983 $2.50, 07900-8 1985 $2.50 US $2.95 Canadian
  • (1975) Published by Kestrel Books, HC, 0-722-66468-0, 978-0-7226-6468-1, 288pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by unknown
  • (2001) Published by Onyx Books, PB, 0-451-45266-6, 978-0-451-45266-5 ~ cover by unknown
  • Iron Breed, The (2012) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-451-63858-2, 978-1-451-63858-5, $12.00, 612pg ~ cover by Stephen Hickman ~ Omnibus containing Iron Cage (1974) & Breed To Come (1972)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1997) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3873-4, 260pg ~ translation by Piotr Kuś (Peter Schmidt) ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Koci Miot [Cat Litter]
  • (1997) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 07-134-0002-1, 179pg ~ translation by Francis Maxwell ~ Polish title Koci Miot [Cat Litter]
  • (1995) Combined with "Star Gate" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14039-9, HC, 416pg ~ "Breed to Come" translation by V. Shcherbakova ~ Cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Новая порода [Breed to Come]
  • (2004) Combined with "Ice Crown" and "Garan the Eternal" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-06989-5, HC, 528pg ~ translation by Oleg Kolesnikova and S. Sergeyev ~ Russian title Ледяная корона [Ice Crown]


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