Time Traders : Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton
Hardcover - 384 pages (October 31, 2000)  Baen Books; ISBN: 0671319523
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Time Traders II : The Defiant Agents & Key Out of Time by Andre Norton 
Hardcover - 384 pages (February 2001)  Baen Books; ISBN: 067131968X
Check out this book at: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Reviews by Sharon Archer

There is a special comfort to be gotten from revisiting old favorites from the past. When starting to re-read a novel enjoyed many years ago the anticipated pleasure is sometimes tempered with a touch of anxiety that time will not have been kind.  This is perhaps more true of Science Fiction than of other genres. The intervening years bring new knowledge and insights and a measure of sophistication that can interfere with the unalloyed enjoyment experienced in our youth.   What permits a work to continue to entertain year after year, despite changes in circumstance and tastes is the skill of the storyteller.  Andre Norton is a superb storyteller.

At the end of October, 2000 Baen Books paired together the first two novels of Nortonís classic time travel series Ė The Time Traders and Galactic Derelict, originally published by Ace in the late 1950s.  This February the remaining two of the original series The Defiant Agents and Key Out of Time were published together as Time Traders II. The novels detail the adventures of a select group of specially trained agents who travel through time and space in search of long lost secrets of an alien civilization.  The quests pits a top-secret US government project against the Russians in a race to recover advanced technologies from the wrecks of a spacefaring alien race existing thousands of years ago.

 In The Time Traders Ross Murdock, at first a reluctant participant in Operation Retrograde finds himself transported back in time trained to pass as a Beaker trader in Bronze Age Britain. He and his partner, the veteran agent archaeologist Dr. Gordon Ashe must overcome numerous obstacles including hostile aliens to win their way back home. As in several other excellent Norton novels an initially disenfranchised young man in the course of the story discovers those unique characteristics, which in his former life branded him a misfit, now enable him to succeed among his new peers.  Norton deftly combines interesting characterizations, rich historical detail and exciting action in a story sure to please young and mature readers alike.

Galactic Derelict continues the adventures of Murdock and Ashe and introduces Travis Fox, a young Apache into the select group.  An attempt to return from the far past an abandoned intact alien spaceship goes awry and the Time Agents are inadvertently sent on an intergalactic journey.  Not only must they brave the unknowns of space but somehow must find a way to return. Nortonís ability to create fascinating alien cultures rich in detail is evident in this tale.

In The Defiant Agents and Key Out of Time the agents become castaways in time and space.  Travis Fox and a band of fellow Apaches conditioned to revert to their ancestorsí ways are marooned on the planet Topaz in The Defiant Agents. Here they must face other colonists regressed to a barbaric Mongol tribe under the mental control of Russian agents. Add to this the existence of an alien warehouse, which if discovered by the enemy could endanger Earth itself.

A Terran settlement team sent to the planet Hawaika finds a world unexpected from the one they anticipated in Key Out of Time.  Endeavoring to solve the mystery Murdock and Ashe attempt to probe the planetís past and are hurtled, along with Karara and her team of dolphins, back in time - marooned in the midst of a power struggle which may hold the answer to why all traces of civilization had disappeared.

Andre Norton has long been a premier YA Science Fiction and Fantasy author.  Young readers today will find these stories as intriguing and spell binding as previous generations have.  Additionally, those of us who first encountered the Time Agents years ago can once again joyfully journey back in time and out into space rediscovering the wondrous worlds Andre Norton has created.