When I was a kid, Andre Norton books were everywhere. Every school library and every public library had what seemed like dozens of them. Plus the paperback editions of her books were plentiful and easy to find. During that era, her name was as synonymous with science fiction as those of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke.
I read a bunch of those books, too, although I was never as big a fan of Norton's work as I was of those other authors I just mentioned. And as time went by I stopped reading her books entirely. At least forty years went by without me picking up an Andre Norton book.
Recently I got the urge to give her work a try again and see how it holds up, so I read THE TIME TRADERS, the first in one of her many series and a book that I never read back in the old days, at least that I recall. It has an interesting set-up: young Ross Murdock, who's in trouble with the law, is given the choice of taking part in some top-secret government project or being subjected to an ominous-sounding "Rehabilitation". Naturally Ross goes with the top-secret project and soon finds himself part of an American time travel experiment in which agents are sent back into the past to vie with Soviet Russian agents for alien technology that shouldn't exist in Earth's past.
I've always liked time travel books, and this is a good one, packed with adventure as Ross and his fellow agents deal with the hardships of life in ancient
as well as carrying out an espionage struggle against the Russians. Then, to complicate things even more, the aliens show up . . . and they aren't happy. Britain
I thought the writing in this book was a little bland – I always thought Norton's work, though it was written for a primarily young adult audience, could have used a little more grit – but the ideas are intriguing, the pace rocks right along with a considerable amount of action, and Ross Murdock makes a likable hero. The whole thing is pretty dated but still enjoyable. I probably won't drop everything to read more Andre Norton books right away, but I don't think it'll be another forty years before I read one, either. (For one thing, I'd be nearly 100 years old!)