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The Beast Master by Andre Norton

The Beast Master (1959)

by Andre Norton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Beast Master - Hosteen Storm (1)

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513929,429 (3.83)34



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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)

Long long ago, I think even when I was in primary school (so, more than forty years ago), I read The Beast Master, and it stuck with me. Not quite so long ago, I got it and its sequel, Lord of Thunder, in a single volume, Beast Master’s Planet. Both concern a future galaxy where Earth has been destroyed in the final act of a war with the alien Xik, and our protagonist, Hosteen Storm, is (as far as he knows) the only survivor of the Navajo. He is an ex-soldier, trained to have a psychic link with his animal conpanions - two meerkats, an eagle and a big tiger-like cat, and he is sent to the planet of Arzor to earn his living as a civilian.

Arzor turns out to be a sparsely settled planet whose main industry appears to be the ranching of the cattle-like frawns, carried out by human settlers in negotiation with the indigenous Norbies, who have a complex tribal structure and totem-based religion. Hosteen Storm becomes a horse wrangler. It’s basically the Old West in space, although nobody ever says that, with Storm set up as uniquely placed to bridge the communication gap between humans and natives. Basically he is a Magical Indian.

It’s also worth noting that there isn’t a single female speaking character in either book. Storm’s mother is mentioned in passing, but she is dead. The Norbies seem to be all male. Storm’s animals are female, which is interesting.

The Beast Master

Still, the first book reminded me of the magic it exerted on my mind in a Belfast classroom long ago. (I think I may have even written a book report on it.) I appreciated then the tragic burden carried by Storm as the last of his tribe, charged by his grandfather with maintaining a family vendetta (which drives a lot of the narrative) but then also caught up in both a Xik plot against the humans and the discovery of lost ancient alien tech under the mountains. The tone of the book is detached, measured and firm. The flaws are still there, but the fact is that this was an sf book featuring a Navajo protagonist at a time (1959) when the future was mainly seen as white.

Still, bearing in mind that both are books of their time, they are good reads. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Nov 25, 2018 |
Hosteen Storm is a Navaho tribesman, a Beast Master, and a Commando, released from his service after the war with the alien Xiks has been won. He is unable to return home, though, as his birth world has been reduced to a radioactive rock. However, a new home is not what he seeks on Arzor, but revenge.

This was a very good tale, with action, and enough twists to keep me guessing what would happen next. The author never bogs down the reader with too much description or definitions, but allows us to figure things out on our own. I plan to reread this in the future, I liked it that much. ( )
  fuzzi | Nov 2, 2015 |
One of my favourites from teenage years. I still reread it every few years, it reads like an old friend. I loved the Indian (Native American) take on the space age and the seething conflict of emotion. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
An interesting story. Not my edition, I don't see it here. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is a nice book, in traditional Norton style where a low technical solution to an invasion comes to the fore ( )
  JohnFair | Apr 8, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andre Nortonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Breese, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brewer, Richard J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heller, JulekCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwinger, LaurenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Otis Louis Ernst
Collector of Indian Lore
First words
"Sir, there is a transport leaving for that sector tomorrow..."
To the spectator the ex-Commando might be standing impassively, the meerkats clinging to him, his hand resting lightly on Surra's round skull, the eagle quiet on his shoulder. But an awareness, which was unuttered, unheard speech, linked him with animals and bird. The breadth of that communication could not be assessed outside a "team", but it forged them into a harmonious whole, which was a weapon if need be, a companionship always.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
DO NOT, under any circumstances, combine Andre Norton's Beast Master Series with those C-Grade movie rip-offs of the same name.

Those shows have nothing in common with Norton's well-crafted tales, aside from someone having ripped off the title and the premise of a warrior in telepathic contact with an animal team.
The rest of the story was made up by someone who apparently didn't like the book.
Publisher's editors
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
    Hidden Conflict

Left homeless by the war that reduced Terra to a radioactive cinder, Hosteen Storm - Navaho commando and master of Beasts - is drawn to the planet Arzor, to kill a man he has never met.

On that dangerous frontier world, aliens and human colonists share the land in an uneasy truce. But something is upsetting the balance, and Storm is caught in the middle. He had thought the war was over - but was it?

Storm was staked out on the ground. A sharp tug on the rope about his ankles sent a quiver of pure agony through his head. then followed a similar jerk at the wrists extended above his head. Scuff of boots on the ground - a grunt.

Storm dared to peek.

A suspicion, wild and unfounded, crossed his muzzy mind. An aper! If the settler was an aper - a Xik reconstructed by surgery and psychotraining to pass as a Confed man - that would explain a lot. He would in fact be the most dangerous"man" Storm had ever faced.
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"Mia Montrose, archaeological linguist, has discovered that the Black Madonna is a code used by secret societies throughout time for the lost key to an ancient power source: the Sphere of Amenti. Kali, inter-dimensional Queen of the Anunnaki -now fully merged with the youngest Dragon Queen, Tamar Devere - has less than a year to rehabilitate her Fallen kindred who desire inter-galactic domination. Ashlee Granville-Devere, and the Dragon Queens must pool their talents to open the twelve Stations of the Signet Grid and unlock the Halls of Amenti lest the Fallen succeed in using time-travel technologies to destroy humanity. From the ancient past to the distant future, from Montsg ur to the way-stations of the universe, from the Underworld of the Kali Rift to the Otherworld of the Ranna Time Flow - the inter-time war must be won for the sake of the future."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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