~ A Novel by Andre Norton

scarface 1948

~~ Being the Story of One Justin Blade, Late of the Pirate Isle of Tortuga, and How Fate Did Justly Deal With Him, to His Great Profit ~~


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the rear flap of the "Sword in Sheath" dustjacket ~

All the color and action of a stirring time are caught in the well-characterized and swift-moving story of Scarface, cabin boy to the notorious Captain Cheap, who was one of the “Lords” of the pirate stronghold, Tortuga. He had no memory of any other kind of life and knew no name but Scarface. Occasionally Cheap hinted at a mystery in Scarface’s background and seemed to find an evil satisfaction in the absolute power over the lad.
Captain Cheap’s decision to make a daring attack on Bridgetown, which was governed by the fearless Sir Robert Scarlett, offered Scarface a desperate chance of winning clear from the Black Flag and all its scurvy crew. He took the long chance, and came perilously near to losing his life, but in the end discovered his real identity.
Lorence Bjorklund’s illustrations catch the full flavor of the sea and those who preyed upon it.


Write-up from the back cover of Comet edition ~

The boy Scarface watched the lights of Tortuga dim as the Naughty Lass stood out for the open sea. The Spanish Main promised rich prizes for Captain Cheap and his pirate crew. And this time Cheap had set his sights high – for no less a prey than Sir Robert Scarlett, his lifelong enemy, and Her Majesty’s fleet at Bridgetown. His plan was daring. Muskets roared and swords flashed as redcoats and pirates fought savagely. The fate of Bridgetown hung in the balance – and with it the secret of Scarface’s true identity.


Write-up from a fan ~

Scarface, seventeen-year-old serving under the callous, cruel, heartless, notorious Captain Jonathan Cheap had no idea of who were his parents were and where he came from. All he knew was the exciting, perilous lifestyle known as piracy. Vicious, and dastardly, Captain Cheap, one of the pirate lords of Tortuga, was also BOLD. Insane is what the other lords thought of Cheap's latest scurrilous scheme-- an attack upon his life-long enemy Sir Robert Scarlett and her Majesty's fleet at Bridgetown. Could this audacious surprise attack actually catch the British fleet unawares? And what part did Scarface have to play in Cheap's grand scheme of revenge? And what did the secrets of his past have to do with his chances for survival? Move over Jack Sparrow, there's a new kid in town! A fun read, well written, you can see the action as you read. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: June 15th, 1948
Well-sustained, action-packed pirate yarn which should provide good material to bridge that gap for the boys emerging from the comic book stage. Pirates, lost gentry, boarded ships, a captive cabin boy -- ingredients for a story of Capt. Cheap pirate lord of Tortuga, who conceived the plan to raid Barbados, stronghold of Sir Robert Scarlett, whose wife and infant son he had captured years before. A sea battle and a dramatic ending resolve identity, and Justin Blade, young Scarface, emerges as the long-lost young Scarlett. Straight adventure- well done. 


Booklist Review ~ September 15, 1948
A well written, stirring tale of piracy in the West Indies. Cabin boy of the Naughty Lass, out of Tortaga, Scarface has never known any other name or any other life than that under the notorious pirate, Captain Johnathan Cheap, who looks upon the boy as a weapon in some mysterious plan of vengeance. A daring attack on Barbados throws Scarface into perilous adventure out of which comes the discovery of his real identity and the beginning of a new life.


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1948 by Elizabeth Briggs in Cleveland News, August 25
2020 by Judith Tarr 


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Grace Allen Hogarth
because only her encouragement
brought Scarface sailing out of


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1948) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 48008179, $2.50, 263pg ~ cover and illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund {Black Cloth Boards, “I” on Copyright Page} ~ 2nd printing Identical w/ "I.2.66" on Copyright Page - 1966
  • (1949) Published by Comet, TP, # 28, 239pgs. ~ cover by HB ~ illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund
  • (1950) Published by Methuen, HC, # 5262/U, £ 8s6p (102p), 202pg ~ UK printing ~ cover and illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund {Black Cloth Boards}
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-938582-49-3, DM, $3.99, 224pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-66-6, DM, $3.99, 180pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge

View the Original contract

For information on editions currently available visit the Book Store

Interior Illustrations;



Open menu