Shan Lantee considers himself very lucky to be part of the Terran survey team on the planet Warlock. It’s too bad that nobody pays any attention to him. He’s the youngest and most inexperienced member of the team, so he has to do all the bad jobs that nobody else wants to do, like chasing and rounding up the wolverine scouts every time they escape.
That’s what he was doing when the alien spaceship swooped down and destroyed everyone else in the camp and that’s why Shan is the only human left on a hostile planet. He’s got no weapons and no supplies, just the two wolverines who he hopes to befriend. They’re not alone for long, though, because a man that Shan idolizes shows up to find out what happened on Warlock, and the insectoid alien Throgs arrive to claim the planet for their own. Thus begins a dangerous adventure that will require Shan to learn a lot about Warlock and a lot about himself, too.
Storm Over Warlock, first published by Ace in 1960, is an exciting science fiction story that will appeal to both teens and adults. It’s comparable to the “juveniles” that Robert A. Heinlein was writing back then. Andre Norton’s setting is exotic and Shan Lantee, a youth who’s anxious to prove himself, is easy to sympathize with, as are most of Andre Norton’s protagonists. The Throgs and Warlock’s native species, the Wyverns, though only shallowly developed in this novel, feel truly alien. The two wolverines are a unique and adorable addition — they’re my favorite part of this book.
Storm Over Warlock is in the public domain and can be purchased for free in Kindle format at Amazon. I listened to the 7-hour audio version originally produced by Jimcin Recordings in 2009 and recently distributed in CD format by Brilliance Audio (but it’s cheaper for members at Audible). Jim Roberts gives a slightly wooden performance, but I like his “old SF” voice. You can also find a free volunteer-read audio version at Librivox. I haven’t listened to it, but if you do, please let us know how you like it.
Storm Over Warlock is the first in Andre Norton’s FORERUNNER series and it holds up pretty well in 2013. I will be happy to try the next novel, Ordeal in Otherwhere.