The Monster's Legacy

~ A Novel by Andre Norton

monsters legacy 1996 80731 7


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of 1996 HC ~

Sarita expected to live her life in relative peace as an apprentice to the Embroidier Dame Argalas, making surcoats and banners for Earl Florian of Var.
But that peace is interrupted by an attack on Var-The-Outer by the Earl's enemies while the Earl himself is away, and Sarita is charged with the care of the Earl's only son, the infant Valoris. Though the castle is taken over, Sarita and Valoris manage to escape to the forest.
With the help of a young Ranger named Rhys - the only survivor of the massacre of the Earl's troops - Sarita must keep Valoris from harm until the Earl's return. They take refuge in the mountains where, legend has it, a vicious creature called the Loden dwells. But the possibility of the Loden is better the very real soldiers that are searching for them in the forest.
However, the deadly legend may prove to be their salvation. All that is left of the Loden is its skin - but Sarita and Rhys may be able to put the skin's magical properties to good use!

An exciting new story in the tradition of Norton's immensely popular Witch World books!


Write-ups from fans ~

Earl Florian made many enemies during his standing as regent for the young High King. Now the enemies are moving against him. First, they ambush his Lady Countess as she rides out from the Castle Vars where she had been recovering from the difficult birth of the young Lord Valoris, murdering most of her escort and capturing her to sue as their entry to the castle. One young Ranger survives the massacre! The nursemaid of the young lord manages to get away with him, encounters the Ranger. They make their way to the mountains and discover ancient ruins left by gods of the past and armor for the battle to come. ~ SL


Earl Florian of Var has gone to serve the King. While he is gone, the keep is attacked and everyone slaughtered except for Valoris, the earl's toddler son, Sarita, an apprentice embroiderer and Rhys, a young ranger who manage to escape. They feel that they are being pursued, so they take refuge in the mountains where the Loden, a legendary monster is rumored to dwell. The possible Loden or for sure soldiers? To the mountains they go. Along the way they find helpful items such as a couple of goats and a pair of donkeys. Of course, Rhys's ranger training helps them live off of the land. They also find a cast-off skin of the Loden which is supple as silk and tougher than the best armor. They find their way into an ancient temple where they have visions and learn about a Dark entity who is trying to make a come-back after being exiled by the forces of the Light. They learn that the Loden was a force for Light and Sarita is instructed to make protective Loden-skin suits for their party in time to defeat the dark wizard Rathban aka. The Gray One (who can twist people's minds) before the ambush and murders the unsuspecting earl on the way back from the Capitol. What magic can they use? Read it and find out. This is a short novel and one that sticks like glue until you finish. Very hard to put down. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ April 01, 1996

The intent of Dragonflight, a generally fine fantasy series that began with Robert Silverberg’s Letters from Atlantis (1990) and includes Tanith Lee’s Black Unicorn (1991) and Gold Unicorn (1994), Brad Strickland’s Dragon’s Plunder (1993), and Esther M. Friesner’s Wishing Season (1993), is to provide YAs with novels by leading genre authors, with illustrations by noted sf/fantasy artists. The latest in the series, by one of the masters in the field, will not disappoint fans. Gentle Sarita, apprentice embroiderer, flees into the wilds with Earl Florian’s very young son when the earl’s holding is invaded and all within are murdered. Luckily, she encounters Rhys, one of the earl’s huntsmen, who had been wounded but escaped by playing dead. The three manage to evade pursuers and make their way to the mountains said to be inhabited by the dreaded Loden, a monster who preys on humans. The quest here is for safety, both for the three who flee and for the kingdom; the talisman is a silver awl that had belonged to Sarita’s mother; and the talents involve the ability to foresee. Mix in fast-paced adventure, a sense of constant danger, and a mystery about long-gone dragons and their legacy--and you have a very satisfying tale. — Sally Estes


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

The author wishes to express her deep appreciation to Ms. Becky Peters, mistress of antique embroidery of the Middle Ages, without whose expert advice she might have gone woefully astray in several details.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1996) Published by Atheneum, HC, 0-689-80731-7, $17.00, 151pg ~ cover and illustrations by Jody A. Lee ~ Packaged and copyrighted (except for text and illustrations) by Byron Preiss Visual Publications. {Black Paper Boards and Spine, Purple End Papers}
  • (2017) Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, TP, 1-534-41247-6, $13.99, 170pg ~ illustrations by Jody A. Lee

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