Ice Crown

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old posting ~

A young girl accompanies an expedition to a planet settled centuries before by colonists who were left there to develop as best they could after their minds were cleared of all previous memories. Keli and Roane search for a legendary treasure that could destroy the powers-that-be on the planet Clio and free Clio's people, who have been implanted with false memories and conditioned to obey. Keil and Roane touched down at Reveny, one Clio’s more archaic kingdoms. Roane didn’t know it at the time, but she was to form an alliance with Reveny’s Princess Ludorica in a search for the greatest treasure of all - the strange, the mysterious, the all powerful Ice Crown.


Write-up from the front flap of 1970 HC ~

Service had given a rare order in directing Offlas Keil to land on Clio in search of Forerunner treasure; and Keil had given a more startling one in attaching his niece Roane to the expedition. For Clio was a closed planet. Settled centuries ago as a Psychocrat experiment, its colonists had been brain-cleared, implanted with false memories, conditioned to obey the machines of the Psychrocrat installation, and left to evolve as they might. When rediscovered, Clio had been sealed - for the impact the truth might have upon its people could not be calculated, or risked. Nonetheless Keil had been ordered to touch down in Reveny, one of the small archaic kingdoms that had evolved on Clio amidst dynastic intrigues and skirmishes which seemed, to an onlooker from the stars, a giant game.
Roane, could not have foreseen her part in that game, no more than that she was part of an even larger game. Though forbidden to interfere in Clio's destiny, Roane is compelled by an emotion she does not recognize to do just that. She consents to aid the heiress to Reveny's thrown, Princess Ludorica, in her search for the lost Ice Crown - a gift from the "Guardians" to the royal line, and source of the power of rule. Roane's growing loyalty to Ludorcia, strengthened as the web of Revney's intrigue closes about them, leads her to a bitter choice - a choice that carries with it the dread knowledge of the Ice Crown's true and hitherto unsuspected powers, and frees Roane from her own more subtle slavery. 


Write-up from the back of ACE paperback editions ~

Offlas Keil and his niece, Roane, had their orders: to land on Clio and search out its treasure.
Clio was a closed planet. Settled centuries ago as a Psychocrat experiment, its colonist had been brained-cleared, implanted with false memories – and conditioned to obey.
Keil and Roane touched down at Reveny, one of Clio’s more archaic kingdoms. Roane didn’t know it at the time, but she was to form an alliance with Reveny’s Princess Ludorica in a search for the greatest treasure of all – the strange, the mysterious, the all powerful Ice Crown.


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

Forerunner Artifacts were the most sought-after items in the known universe, functioning fragments of the technology of a long-vanished race, the least of whose creations were far beyond what the human race had yet achieved. Even the rumor of a possible Forerunner relic was enough to send Offlas Keil and his niece Roane on a secret mission to the closed world of Clio.
Clio was a planet which had been used for forbidden experimentation, its people implanted with false memories, and conditioned to obey commands delivered through such items as the mysterious Ice Crown.
But on a world divided into barbaric nations in conflict, Keil’s and Roane’s search for this legendary treasure might easily prove their own ruin and the catalyst that would forever destroy the precarious balance of the power on Clio… Ice Crown


Write-ups from fans ~

Archaeological expedition lands on a planet where they must not reveal themselves to the inhabitants, descendants of an experiment in sociology conducted by the now-deposed Psychocrats. One of the archaeologists, a young girl named Roan Hume, sees the Princess of the local kingdom kidnapped and takes a hand to free her. The Princess had been seeking the long lost Ice Crown of Reveny, left by the Guardians. The two girls escaped their captors flee to another kingdom. Where she fully expects to be returned to kingdom and revenge her traitorous cousin for her kidnapping. Instead she is betrayed and returned to her cousins captivity.

Meanwhile the archaeologist have inadvertently uncovered both the computer which is still running the Psychocrat's mind control experiment, and the hiding place of the Ice Crown. When the Ice Crown is picked up it begins to force a return to the mental path desired by the long dead Psychocrats. Roan along with the Princess's faithful lieutenant and his followers manage to destroy the computer and free the inhabitants from the mind-control. ~ SL


Roane Hume, creche-reared orphan trained by her uncle to be an assistant on his archaeological digs knew that she was forbidden by oath to interact with any of the indigenous population on Clio. That planet was settled several centuries ago by the now-long-dead "Psychocrats" to run experiments on a brain-washed populace had been conditioned to obey. But when she meets a local princess chained and headed for death, she rescues her and they search for the long-lost "Ice Crown" an heirloom of her kingdom which can only be worn by one of royal blood, bringing death to anyone else who tries. (I would say more about the crown if not for *spoilers*) They discover an installation that only Roane can see clearly and so they leave to find loyal supporters to help her fight off her cousin the duke who planned to use her to get the crown. Lots of action, a few twists and a vividly interesting landscape and characters make me realize why many people have told me that this is one of their favorite Norton books. ~ PG


1970’s Ice Crown is one of Norton’s standalones, though it shares one background element with many other novels: the forerunners, the long vanished alien civilization whose fall foreshadows humanity’s fate. Oddly enough, what came to mind when I read this novel wasn’t other Norton books (like Forerunner Foray or the Warlock books [link]), but a very well known television series of the 1960s.

Clio is a closed world, protected from all contact with the surrounding galactic civilization (a civilization of which it is utterly unaware). Or almost all contact; Offlas, his son Sandor, and Offlas’ niece Roane are allowed to…. ~ JN
Read More ...


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

1971 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January
1971 by Mary Schaub in Locus, #76, March 4
1971 by T. Pauls in Son of WSFA Journal #20 (fnz), May
1971 by B. Searles in New Statesman, June 04
1971 by C. Storr in Best Sellers, July
1971 in Times Literary Supplement, July 02
1971 by B. Searles in New York Times Book Review, September
1971 By D. Hamilton in Luna Monthly #31 (fnz), December
2015 by James Nicoll, September, 18   Θ


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1970) Published by Viking, HC, 0-670-39139-5, LCCN 72102928, $4.75, 256pg ~ cover by Lazlo Gal {Green Cloth Boards, Code “1 2 3 4 5 74 75 73 72 71 70”} ~ Library Binding $4.31
  • (1970) Published by SFBC, HC, # 2621, $1.49, 215pg ~ cover by Lazlo Gal {Green Cloth Boards, # 39 L on Page 213, # 2621 on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1971) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-35840-3, $0.75, 220pg ~ #35841 1975 $1.25 220pg ~ #35842-X 1976 $1.95 220pg ~ covers by Davis Meltzer ~ 4th printing #35843-8 1981 $2.25 225pg ~ 5th printing #35843-8 1981 $2.25 225pg  ~ #35844-6 1984 $2.50 220pg ~ covers by Paul Alexander ~ (ACE # 35843-8, 1981 & 1982 copyright page states artist is Davis Meltzer but is actually Paul Alexander)
  • (1971) Published by Longman Young Books, HC, 0-582-15245-3, £1.40, 256pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Paul Shardlow {Green Cloth Boards}
  • (1993) Published by ROC, PB, 0-451-45248-8, $4.99, 220pg ~ cover by Tom Canty
  • Ice and Shadow (2012) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-451-63791-8, $13.00, 464pg ~ cover by Stephen Hickman ~ Omnibus containing Ice Crown (1970) & Brother to Shadows (1993)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1972) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, OCLC: 74135897, Terra TB 188, 162pg ~ translation by Leni Sobez ~ German title Die Eiskrone
  • (2002) Published in Kaunus, Lithuania; by Eridanas, 99-551-0046-X, 220pg ~ translation by Anita Kapočiūtė ~ Lithuanian title Ledo karūna
  • (1997) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3874-2, 243pg ~ translation by Maja Kmieciak ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Lodowa Korona [Ice Crown]
  • (1993) Combined with "Dark Piper" translation by Dmitry Arseniev and "Huon of the Horn" translation by Rybakov ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books and Angarsk, by Amber, 5-863-14013-5, HC, 416pg ~ "Ice Crown" translation by P. Osvetimskogo ~ Russian title Темный трубач [Dark Piper]
  • (2004) Combined with "Breed to Come" 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]


View the Original contract

View the 1975 ACE contract