cover image A Mind for a Trade

A Mind for a Trade

Andre Norton. Tor Books, $21.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85920-6

The authors' sequel to their Derelict for Trade (Forecasts, Jan. 27) continues their revival of Norton's classic Solar Queen series at the high level of its predecessor. The Queen now has a new crew--Dane Thorson, Rip Shannon, Jasper Weeks, Craig Tau, Ali Kamil--and the five have formed a telepathic bond among themselves without being sure whether it is a blessing or a curse. The crew takes the Queen down into the deadly weather of Hesprid-IV, the planet to which the five acquired a claim when they brought in the derelict Ariadne. The crew promptly discovers that Ariadne's surviving landing party is menaced not only by weather but also by apparently hostile aliens. Meanwhile, overhead, Captain Jellico (now married to Rael Cofort) maneuvers North Star (the renamed Ariadne) to keep a squadron of pirates off his old shipmates' backs. In this brisk tale, which has scarcely an unnecessary word, the good guys prevail. The authors merge their styles seamlessly, avoiding lapses of tone even where these might easily arise (as, for instance, when the adventures of the Rigellian hybrid and adopted orphan Tooe alternate deftly between the grim and the comic). This series was begun by Norton, under the pseudonym Andrew North, over 40 years ago, with 1955's Sargasso of Space; long may it ply the spaceways--and the bookstores. (Oct.)