Left homeless by the war that reduced Terra to a radioactive cinder, Hosteen Storm - Navaho commando and master of beasts - is drawn to the planet Arzor, to kill a man he has never met.
On that dangerous frontier world, aliens and human colonists share the land in an uneasy truce. But something is upsetting the balance, and Storm is caught in the middle. He had thought the war was over - but was it?
"Miss Norton endows this story of a homeless, revenge-driven man with her own inimitable touch. The result is a compelling and compassionate tale." (The New York Times Book Review)
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So much better than the movie
Beastmaster had all the familiar Norton strengths, a young man trying to make his place in the adult world, an empathic animal team, a quest through an exotic (this time wild western-ish) alien world, and, of course, caves. What I liked the best? I suppose it was the caves.
Did I mention the caves?.
Brewer gave a straight forward, well inflected performance, with a voice that worked well for a young protagonist.
Norton doesn't make you laugh or cry, usually; she just takes you for an absorbing, even spellbinding -- if you let yourself be in the mood -- journey.
This is one I missed from my youth (when they were being written!) though I remember the fuscia and yellow cover of the original well. It's much better than and much different from the movie of the same name. I'll reread it again, and if I like it as much a second time, it may move up onto my very favorite Norton list with Catseye, Galactic Derelict, and The Stars are Ours. Not high art, but great reading.