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Firehand [Paperback]

ANDRE NORTON , Norton P Et
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 3 1995
Preparing to travel through time in order to face a band of predatory aliens, Ross Murdoch plans to leap into the feudal period of Dominion, where he can help win a war that will bring defeat to the aliens. Reprint. AB.

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From Publishers Weekly

In a satisfying return to Norton's Time Trader world, a young man finds himself as he teaches guerrilla warfare to a feudal, nonterrestrial offshoot of humanity in order to prepare them properly for a future in which space- and time-traveling humans are battling for survival against murderous aliens. Ross Murdock, a young criminal recruited as a Time Agent for his survival skills, is sent to the Dominion of Virgin, which had abruptly turned from a populous planet to a burned cinder as a result of time-travel by the Baldies, as the aliens are known. The key development that would have saved the planet was the evolution of mental powers that were delayed because of the turmoil following a warlord's conquests 700 years previously. Murdoch, scientist Gordon Ashe and arms expert Eveleen Riordan are sent back in time to Dominion to develop a resistance movement without revealing the existence of Earth or drawing the attention of the Baldies. The authors, who collaborated on Redline the Stars and several Witch World books, have developed an attractive world and likable characters. This coming-of-age novel may be better suited for the young-adult market, however.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Time Agent Ross Murdock and his companions travel to the past of a distant planet to defeat an alien invasion and prevent a future disaster. Veteran collaborators Norton and Griffin cloak a medieval fantasy in sf trappings in this latest adventure in the "Time Traders" series. Smooth narration and appealing protagonists rescue an otherwise ordinary story. Large sf and YA collections may want to consider purchase.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY Impressed! Dec 17 2010
By JG
Format:Paperback
This book arrived in even better condition than I expected it to! What a wonderful Christmas present, have been looking for this book for years :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly disappointing Feb. 16 2009
By Brent Butler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
**** Spoilers follow, but that's OK because you want to avoid the book like the plague anyway ****

Having recently read the first four books in the Time Traders series (which are OK but not the best of Norton), I expected this book to be more of the same.

I was disappointed to find out that the book was not in fact written by Norton, and this is clear from the cloying parsing and utter lack of dramatic plotting which the book suffers from throughout. Griffin, the co-author, is obviously the author of this book, with little to no input from Andre Norton herself.

Worse, it was obvious to me that Griffin's original effort was not a Time Trader's story at all, but a book written by her otherwise, and then hastily and ineptly adapted to wedge it into the Time Traders series. Yep, add a chapter to the beginning and to the end, globally replace a few character names, insert a few references to the project, and there you have it ... a Time Traders series book! Well, not really.

Griffin is so in love with her characters that they NEVER suffer a setback to their plans, completely relieving any possibility of dramatic tension. The very evil plans of the bad guys are briefly discussed by the bad guys ... and never again bear on the course of the book.

The two sets of 'bad guy' leaders are found and dispatched in the most contrived and simplistic way (un)imaginable.

Ashe's contributions to the story are effectively completely dumped for Griffin's newly introduced character Eveleen Riordan, with whom she is completely in love.

Let me just tell you that Ross Murdock falls in love and marries Riordan during the course of this book. Knowing that, you can safely bypass this and you are caught up for the next installment.

You may notice that Griffin was dumped as the new author of the series very quickly after the appearance of this stinker.

I'm not a big fan of authors turning over their work to a 'guest author', and having their name appear on the cover only to spur sales. This book is a perfect example of why that can go VERY VERY wrong. The book has nothing of Norton but a few character names. The plot is completely broken, and even action sequences near the end that resolve the conflict are contrived and unworkable.

Book 6, written by the replacement 'guest author', Sherwood Smith, is a big improvement, and I recommend that you skip this pitiful sell out and go directly to Echoes in Time!!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars return of Ross Murdock and the Time Traders Dec 15 2006
By A. G. Boggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was written many years after the first four of the Time Traders books (Time Traders, Galactic Derelect, Defiant Agents and Key Out of Time.) This tells about the "return" of Murdock and Ash to modern day Earth after they had thought that they were trapped on the world of Hawaiiki by the destruction of their time gate. It was fairly good, but frankly, I didn't like the "love interest" thrown in. Sorry, but I LIKED my loner Murdock and wasn't happy to see him letting down his walls the way he did. On the other hand, Evie (called several different names in the book, depending on if she was undercover in time or not) was a fairly good match for him, being almost as big a loner as he was.

Again, they are battling to save a world from the Baldies (the resident alien bad guys) and this tells the story of that attempt.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surprise March 30 2000
By shaelyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book at a resellers shop with no cover on it or any idea what it was about.(It is hardback,not stolen).Norton is great and she doesn't let you down here.Smooth writing and great characters who you feel you know by the end of the book.My only complaint is that the book is fairly short and therefore not a terribly engrossing novel.Try it,you might be surprised as pleasantly as I was.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rescue in Time Jan. 1 2009
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Firehand (1994) is the fifth SF novel in the Time Traders series, following Key Out of Time. In the previous volume, Ross Murdock, Gordon Ashe and Karara Trehern drove the Baldies off Hawaika. In the process, Karara gained some Foanna talents. Still, they and the dolphins were stranded in the past after the battle.

In this novel, Eveleen Riordan is sent into the past to fetch Ross and Gordon back to their own time. The Project already knows that Karara and the dolphins will be staying in the past. In fact, Karara has written a masterpiece about the battle and the eviction of the Baldies.

Ross and Gordon return with Eveleen and are taken to the Dominion of the Sun-Star Virgin. At least to the system where it had existed. The Dominion population had disappeared at the same time that the people of Hawaika had appeared. For some reasons, the actions of the Time Agents on Hawaika had also disrupted the Dominion.

The Dominionites appeared to be humans, maybe transported to the Dominion by some other aliens. They were less bellicose than Terrans and had developed starflight on their own. They had also developed a means of navigating their ships without voyage tapes. Furthermore, they had defeated a Baldie invasion of their system by a form of mind power. Now their home planet is burnt to a cinder.

In this story, the Baldies contact Zanthor I Yoroc, Ton of Condor Hall. They offer gold to support his efforts to conquer the island. Zanthor had already been thinking of taking a neighboring domain from a weak lord. Despite the Baldies destruction of the minds of his guards, he agrees and returns to his hold with only his son Talroc I Zanthor.

Ross, Gordon and Eveleen travel back to the crucial period in the Dominion past. Gordon poses as a native physician while Ross and Eveleen are disguised as mercenary guards. They pass on the news of the coming invasion by Ton Zanthor. In Saphirehold, they also convince the Ton to try a new tactic: guerrilla warfare.

Zanthor conquers or intimidates all northern domains and prepares to take the Corridor, the only pass through the mountains suitable for large forces. He hires mercenaries to invade the south. Then he takes them toward Saphirehold.

But the Saphirehold contingent uses unconventional tactics to hold back the forces of Condor Hall until the winter weather precludes further warfare. The southern domains now have time to prepare for his coming. They hold the Condor Hall forces slightly south of the Corridor.

Meanwhile, the Saphirehold forces -- under the command of Ross -- are raiding the supply lines. Their raids force Zanthor to retain some of his forces to guard the convoys and patrol the pass. The guerrillas send part of their booty to the southern alliance to remind them of Saphirehold's contribution to the war.

This tale reduces the invasion into a static conflict and finally into a losing proposition for Zanthor. No matter what he tries, the Saphireholders ambush sufficient convoys to reduce the comfort level of his mercenaries. The hired troops have become thoroughly disgruntled. Zanthor needs to do something to regain the initiative.

Firehand is the name used by the Dominion populace for Ross Murdock. He had gotten the scars fighting the mind control of Baldies back in Terra's past. Ross is rapidly becoming a legend on Dominion.

One wonders about the salvation of Ross and Gordon by the Project. One would think that their modification of the past on Hawaika would divert them to an entirely different timeline. Yet the same thing happens on Dominion. Evidently the author had a conception of timelines that differs from the common viewpoint.

The story has a traditional ending. Ross and Eveleen are married on Dominion. Who would have thought that he would get married? Enjoy!

Highly recommended for Norton & Griffen fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of time travel, alien meddling, cold steel, and a touch of romance.

-Arthur W. Jordin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, amazing writer May 29 2014
By Debra VanSandt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Read Andre Norton in the same spirit as you'd read Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov, and you'll love her books. Andre Norton was crowned as a Grand Master writer in her time, and with good reason. I've been going back and reading her books again and I've found, much to my delight, that they're just as much fun as when I read them decades ago. That is the sign of an amazing writer!
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