cover image Echoes in Time

Echoes in Time

Andre Norton, Sherwood Smith. Tor Books, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85921-3

The prolific Norton (Wind in the Stone, Forecasts, Oct. 11, etc.) has again returned to her Time Traders series, this time in collaboration with Sherwood Smith. Begun in 1958, the long-dormant series was first revived in the 1994 with Firehand, which Norton co-wrote with P.M. Griffin. But as with their revival of Norton's Solar Queen series, Norton and Smith don't just send an old hero through familiar paces. Ross Murdock has now moved into the laptop era. The tough Time Agent also has gotten himself married to agent Eveleen Riordan, and the two must work together when they are called from their honeymoon back to Project Star, as the secret time patrol is known. Now not only must Murdock and his old partner Gordon Ashe modify their old-boy system to fit Murdock's newlywed status, but they also must join a team of Russians, long-time rivals of Project Star, to track down an earlier team gone missing on a distant planet. The story is slow to start, as background from earlier books is filled in and old cold-war conflicts are ironed out, but once the two teams land on the Yilayil planet and travel back to a time 100 years after the first team disappeared, the narrative picks up. How could the highly cultured Yilayil have become the feral Weaslies of today? Are the malevolent Baldies once again up to no good? The answers prove more complex and ambiguous than a reader of the old series might expect, as the nature of both time and the enemy are explored amid the deepening mystery of the missing comrades. This refashioned Time Traders tale should reward veteran fans of Norton and create some new ones. (Nov.)