Secret of the Lost Race

(aka) Wolfshead

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old posting ~

The orphaned Joktar is on the run. A xenophobic maniac wants him dead because of his mysterious origins. He is sent fleeing for his life, leaving behind his life as a curiously young-looking Casino Dealer in the spaceport of N'Yok. He is captured and shipped as slave labor to the company run ice planet of Fenris. He escapes captivity and survives against all odds, with the help of some of his strange genetic quirks. He falls in with a group of freedom fighters, and finds a mysterious mentor. He thinks he is safe, but his enemies find him again. This time he decides to fight back.


Write-up from the back of the 1969 ACE paperback edition ~

The Constellation of the Wolf was an area of the Galaxy few spacemen wanted to visit, for its sparse worlds were home only to the outcasts of the civilized worlds. But now it had been learned that there was among is runaway refugees who was more than just a misfit – one who was a definite danger to all humanity.
The hunt was on for the desperate young man called Joktar – for if he was what they said he was, he could contaminate the universe!
Only Joktar didn’t believe it – and he rallied a world of courageous outlaws to defend him.


Write-up from the back of the 1978 ACE paperback edition ~

Constellation of the Wolf:
A lawless region whose sparse worlds are the last refuge for outcasts from more civilized sectors of the galaxy. But one of its refugees is more than just a misfit – he is a threat to all humanity!
The hunt is on for the desperate youth called Jaktor. But for a lifetime as an orphan fighting for survival in the spacemen’s helltown of N’Yok has taught Jaktor when to run – and when to fight. On the frozen world of Fenris he takes his stand – with a world of outlaws on his side.


Write-up from the back of the 1982 Ace paperback edition ~

Jokar was running for his life – and he didn’t even know why.
After growing up orphaned in the spaceman’s helltown of interstellar New York, Jokar was adept at dodging the law; but he knew of no special reason why all the police forces of the civilized galaxy should suddenly concentrate on him. All he knew was that he had to run – and run he did, out of the Solar System and straight across the galaxy to the aptly named Constellation of the Wolf. In the Freezing hell that was the Wolf world of Fenris he returned and awaited his hunters….


Write-up from the dust jacket of the Gregg Press edition ~

Secret of the Lost Race, the fifth volume of the Space Adventure Novels of Andre Norton, relates the struggle of young Joktar to escape from slavery on an ice age planet and discover the truth about his mysterious origins. He had been an orphan in the spacemen's hell town of interstellar N'Yok all his remembered life, and had grown adept at dodging the law and outwitting the criminal. But suddenly to top rankers of the galactic service are out to get him, and he cannot figure out why. Running for his life Joktar crosses the galaxy first to ice age Fenris and then to Loki, where he faces a final confrontation with his powerful and irrational enemies.


Write-ups from fans ~

Who is Joktar? Other than the best Stars and Comets dealer N'yok has ever seen. A orphan, yes, looking about half the age he really is, well trained in every kind of unarmed combat, but carrying the highly illegal "Force Blade". Why are the strange men in gray uniforms after him? With no idea of who his parents were, their planet of origin, or any other personal history before he arrived in N'Yok with his mother just before she died, Joktar had no clue why anyone should take such interest in him. The story starts out very slowly with 2&1/2 pages of communications between people we don't meet until much later in the story. Then he gets picked up in a street raid to get some forced laborers to slave away in mines on Fenris*, a cold inhospitable planet. Through a series of unbelievable luck, he escapes his "Company" masters and hooks up with rebels who are plotting an overthrow of the mining companies who hold a monopoly on trade. Right near the end, his past catches up with him and the big question of who he is, is answered. ~ PG


1959’s Secret of the Lost Race is a fascinating little oddity; it has what must be the most bleak passage I’ve encountered in a Norton novel, the first (possible but not confirmed) matriarchy I remember encountering in her fiction (despite not having any on-stage women to speak of, which is an odd combination), and, because the copy I happened to find was the 1969 Ace reprint, a very interesting essay by Lin Carter.
But first, a word from the fan site Andre Norton Books:
March 17, 2015
Marks ten years since the world has been without Andre Norton…. ~ JN
Read More ...


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

1959 by S. E. Cotts in Amazing Science Fiction Stories, November
1960 by Frederik Pohl in Worlds of If, January
1960 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding/Analog Science Fact & Fiction, May
2015 by James Nicoll, March, 06 Θ
2019 by Judith Tarr at, October 07


Bibliography of  English Editions ~

  • (1959) ACE Double Book containing Secret of the Lost Race and One Against Herculum by Jerry Sohl, Published by ACE, PB, # D-381, $0.35, 134pg+132pg – cover of Secret of the Lost Race by Edward Valigursky ~ cover of One Against Herculum by Ed Emshwiller

    Synopsis for One Against Herculum ~
    Corruption was the rule of order on the domed planetary colony of Herculum. Earthman Alan Demuth, for instance, couldn't get the job he had rightfully qualified for without paying a kickback to the man he hated, Jack Bohannen. Alan thought he could simply report Jack's graft, until he learned none would listen. There was one desperate recourse. Under provision of the law, Alan could apply for a crime license. His crime would be homicide, and the Victim Jack Bohannen. The law gave him 24 hours to make good his murder. Failure would mean Alan's death. Success would mean the clean-up of graft and dishonesty. But Alan never realized tht in a graft-ridden society, even a license to kill is liable to prove a backfiring fraud!


  • (1969) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-75830- , $0.60, 144pg – #75831 1972 $0.75 144pg - cover by Edward Valigursky ~ #75832 1974 $1.25 - cover by unknown ~ #75833 1978 $1.75 - cover Eileen Astrahan ~ #75834 1982 $1.95, #75836-3 1985 $2.50 179pg ~ cover by Wayne Barlowe ~ With a profile of Andre Norton by Lin Carter
  • (1978) Published by Gregg Press, HC, 0-839-82419-X, LCCN 77025542, $7.95, 132pg ~ Space Adventure Novels of Andre Norton 5 ~ Dust Jacket by Jack Gaughan, Frontmatter by Elizabeth R. Cooke {Binding: 5.625 x 8.25 - Brown Cloth Boards with Gold Lettering (Publisher states the color is Burnt Orange), Orange End Papers}
  • Secret of the Stars (2014) Published by BAEN, TP, 978-1-476-73674-7, $14.00, 400pg ~ cover by unknown ~ omnibus containing Secret of the Lost Race (1959) & Star Hunter (1961)

Non-English Editions ~

  • (1960) Published in Rastatt, Germany; by Pabel, OCLC: 73753183, Utopia Großband 126, 95pg ~ German title Das Geheimnis der Verlorenen
  • (1966) Published in Munich, Germany; by Moewig, OCLC: 73892393, Terra Extra 122, 64pg ~ German title Das Geheimnis der Verlorenen
  • (1991) Combined with "Night of Light" by Phillip José Farmer translation by Nikolayev and "Catseye" translation by P. Dimov ~ Published in Moscow, by Fiction, 5-280-02474-3, HC, 334pg ~ "Secret of the Lost Race" translation by P. Dimov ~ cover by N. Zubkov ~ Russian title Убить бога [To Kill a God]
  • (1991) Published in Moscow, by Fiction, 5-280-02431-7, HC, 128pg ~ translation by P. Dimov ~ cover by Nikolay Zubkov and Dmitry Starks ~ Russian title Сокровище таинственной расы
  • (1992) Combined with "Daybreak 2250 AD", "Star Guard", "The Last Planet" 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 "Judgement on Janus" and "Victory on Janus" translation by L. Morgun ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14009-7, HC, 416pg ~ "Secret of the Lost Race" translation by KV Prilipko ~ Russian title Янус [Janus]
  • (1994) Combined with "Judgement on Janus" and "Victory on Janus" ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14036-4, HC, 416pg ~ Russian title Победа на Янусе [Victory on Janus]
  • (2005) Combined with "The Zero Stone" and "Uncharted Stars" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-12410-1, HC, 448pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev and Oleg Kolesnikov ~ Russian title Камень предтеч [The Zero Stone]
  • (2015) Combined with “The Last Planet”, “The Sioux Spaceman”, “Yurth Burden” & “Star Guard”, 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]


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