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I love mustelid haberdashery, vinho verde wine, and wensleydale with fruit.

The Beast Master - Andre Norton

Andre Norton's The Beast Master was a bit of an inspiration to the movie of the same name, but please, do not think these are the same thing.   The idea of communicating with animals is where the similarities start and end.   Or rather, the idea of a man running around communicating with animals is where it ends.  The book is hard sci-fi, there is not a scrap of the fantasy-ish world of the movie.


This book is a hard, pulpy sci-fi novel with other planets, futuristic weapons, aliens and all of the good stuff you expect from older works, and it feels very, very dated.


I'm not saying I hated it, I just really didn't like it.


Hosteen Storm is our savage noble (no, seriously, he's Navajo - she uses "Amerindian" as well, which adds to the dated feel), who is a veteran commando with several animal team members.  He's got a couple of meerkats, a puma, and an eagle, and he has settled on another planet not so different from his native Terra, where he can put his talents to use.   Oh, and hunt down and kill another man, for vengeance.   You don't find out the story until the end (the why of the hunting down and/or what really happened).

In the meantime, he wanders as a colonist, working as a cowboy (no, really!), and runs amok of aliens, including the Xik, who are super bad aliens.


There's a whole lot of stereotype (beyond the whole Noble Savage) with regards to how people act, and how colonizing (and the old west?) should be.  It was just really, really tedious to get through for me.

In the end, we're all good (minus one meerkat, which I knocked half a star off for), so the series can continue, but it just felt very forced.  And dated (did I mention the dated?).   I just didn't enjoy it.   I've read a few other of Norton's works and she's always been hit and miss for me, so I'm not terribly disappointed.