Shadow Hawk

~ A Novel by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the Gollancz hardcover edition ~

Rahatep was the son of a noble Egyptian family, but an older half-brother had unjustly deprived him of his place at court and had secured his transfer to a distant desert outpost. There he led skirmishes against the Hyksos invaders who, in about 2000 B.C., had overrun Egypt and destroyed much of her ancient might.
It was a time of intrigue and danger, a time when a young man might do great things. And Rahotep dared! With his band of splendid Nubian archers, skilled in the arts of desert warfare, he joined the sons of the Pharaoh in the first organized attack on their oppressors and proved himself, against great odds, a valiant citizen and courageous warrior.
Andre Norton, better known as a leading science-fiction writer for young people, combines authentic detail and careful research in a narrative filled with swift action, violence and high courage. Shadow Hawk vividly recreates the ancient world of Egypt and its people in an important moment in history.


Write-up from the back of the Ace paperback editions ~

“No more exciting time could have been chosen by the skilled storyteller Andre Norton as a setting for a thrilling novel than the beginning of Egypt’s fight for freedom aganst hated Hykos invaders about 1590 B.C. Two young princes were the mighty heroes of the day, aided by the Shadow Hawk of this story, a leader from the south who spurred them and fought magnificently himself at the head of his tiny group of skilled Nubian archers.
“The tale will be enjoyed not only for the vivid background but for the organization of the army, the raids and forays, the taming of the war lion, and the dramatic siege of Neferusi…
“This is an intensely masculine Egyptian historical novel…” – New York Herald-Tribune


Write-up from the back of the Fawcatt paperback edition ~

“Whirlwind action, complete with secret tunnels, mysterious temple rites, desert ambushes, slave revolts, and a battle on rooftops, all done with relish.” – Washington Post
He was the lord of the Striking Hawk Nome, but for generations that holding had been in the firm grip of the invaders. And so he was merely Rahotep, officer of the renowned Nubian archers, unjustly deprived of his birthright by his scheming half-brother and exiled in the dessert for a sacrilege he didn’t commit.
But his bow was strong, his arrows swift – and his thirst for justice in the Pharaoh’s land knew no bounds… and offered no mercy!
“A thrilling tale of intrigue and war in ancient Egypt, skillfully and vividly narrated.” - Booklist


Write-up from the back of the Ballantine paperback edition ~

Rahotep was more than a simple captain of the Nubian Desert Scouts – he was heir to the Nome of the Striking Hawk, which for two generations had been ruled by the invader that had conquered Egypt. When his scheming half-brother deprived him of his birthright and exiled him for a crime he didn’t comment, Rahotep fled Nubia and took refuge in the court of Pharaoh Sekenenre III, who was determined to free Egypt.
But Rahotep was unprepared for the intrigues of the power-hungry priest of Anubis, God of the Dead. Suddenly he found himself falsely accused of the attempted assassination of Pharaoh, the very man he was pledged to protect. Imprisoned in the dark cells beneath the temple of Anubis, he heard whisperings of the priest’s treachery. Somehow, he had to warn Pharaoh. But his life was forfeit to the God of the Dead – and how could anyone fight a god?


Write-up from the back of the Bethlehem tradepaper edition ~

Rahotep threw himself on a tangle of fighting men, his hands slipped on flesh that had been thickly oiled. Then they met hairy skin, an animal’s pointed ear! Pharaoh was fighting for his life against some monstrosity that mounted a beast’s head on a human body!
The captain struck out with his fist, blindly, with all the strength he could muster. Something grunted as a light flared in the doorway. The monster wriggled toward the corner. Rahotep took a step forward in pursuit and came down on one knee as his foot caught under a second body. He groped and his fingers closed about metal.
As the smoking radiance of a torch was swung under the bed canopy, all the crowding guard could see clearly. Rahotep knelt by Sekenenre. The Pharaoh was moaning faintly, and in his upper breast a dagger had been trust, a dagger whose hilt was now in Rahotep’s hold. Save for those who had just entered, the room was empty. To these witnesses he was an assassin caught in the act!
“No more exciting time could have been chosen by the skilled storyteller Andre Norton as a setting for a thrilling novel, than the beginning of Egypt’s fight for freedom against the hated Hyksos invaders about 1590 BC. Two young princes were the mighty heroes of the day, aided by the Shadow Hawk of this story … who spurred them [on] and fought magnificently himself at the head of his tiny group of skilled Nubian archers.
“The tale will be enjoyed not only for the vivid background but for the organization of the army, the raids and the forays, the taming of the war lion, and the dramatic siege of Neferusi … this is an intensely masculine Egyptain historical novel …“ -- New York Herald-Tribune


Write-ups from fans ~

This story is based on a little-known period in Egyptian history when the Egyptian lay under the rule of the Hyksos, a nation from Asia Minor who traveled westward and conquered a large area using a new innovation--The horse-drawn chariot. These ruthless invaders were so loathed by the Egyptians, that when they finally revolted and drove them out, the Pharaoh ordered all traces of the occupation obliterated. Therefore, there is a hole in the historical records. The modern Egyptian government was so impressed with this book that they had it translated into Arabic to use a a reference textbook in their school system.
Captain Rahotep, son of the Viceroy of Nubia, betrayed by his half-brother, goes north to join the Pharaoh in Thebes where he is planning to revolt against the Hyksos and take back the Nile valley. Court intrigue, unscrupulous priests, and attempted assassinations, frame-ups are obstacles Rahotep has to deal with on order to help fight the Hyksos. As in Star Man's Son and The Beastmaster, the hero acquires a battle-cat, a black leopard. This is a very exciting book and hard to put down. For a nice Victorian lady, Andre could write rip-roaring battle scenes. I will have to put this on my yearly reread list. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: Oct. 1st, 1960
A new Phar attempts to reunite the Two Lands of Ancient Egypt and to drive out the usurping Hyksos. Entering his service as The Leader of Ten; a young Nubian noble puts his experience as a border scout to good account on behalf of the Son of Re and the two royal princes. Using guerrilla techniques already familiar to Norton space-story fans, the Nubian archers successfully pave the way of the Egyptians to conquer the key city of the Hyksos. As usual, Andre Norton packs so much uncompromising exposition into the first half-chapter that it proves a stumbling block to many readers. But once the initial dose is swallowed, the story moves quickly to a high interest peak. Whether the author's locale is in the storied past or the imagined future, there is always the feeling of cardful research and plausible detail. No sissy stuff, this, but rich fare for the avid reader. 


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1961 by Alfred Bester in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January
1961 by Floyd C. Gale in Galaxy Magazine, August, reprinted in: (UK) Galaxy Science Fiction #87, August
2015 by James Nicoll
2019 by Judith Tarr


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1960) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 60010247, $3.50, 237pg ~ cover by Edwin Schmidt, map by Jack Gaughan? {Yellow Cloth Boards}
  • (1960) Published by ACE, PB, #G-538, $0.40 - cover and map by Jack Gaughan~ #75991 1972 $0.75 - #75992 $1.75 - covers by Darrell Sweet - interior illustrations and map by Jack Gaughan
  • (1971) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-00600-5, 978-0-575-00600-3, £1.20, 256pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Graham Humphreys, map by Jack Gaughan? {Purple Paper Boards, # 4DE on Front Flap}
  • (1979) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-24186-6, 978-0-449-24186-8, $1.95, 253pgs. ~ cover by Ken Barr, map by Jack Gaughan?
  • (1987) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-34366-2, 978-0-345-34366-6, $2.95, 253pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger, map by Jack Gaughan?
  • (2001) Published by Bethehem, TP, 1-883-93767-1, 978-1-883-93767-6, LCCN 2001092576, $12.95, 246pg ~ cover by Edwin Schmidt, map by Jack Gaughan?
  • (2017) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no ISBN, $3.99, ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • (2018) Published by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, PB, 978-1-680-68023-2, $9.99, 228pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1963) Published in Cairo, Egypt; by The Arab Record, (in Arabic), 347pg ~ translation by Kamal al-Mallakh ~ Limited to 5,000 copies ~ Arabic title Saqr al-Hurriyah, Awwal Thawrah fi-al-Tarikh didd al-isticmar [Falcon of Freedom, history's first anti-imperialist revolution]

Note: As far as your webmaster can tell, this edition is "the Rarest" of all Andre Norton books or writings ever.

  • (1996) Published in Poland; by Zysk i S-ka, 83-715-0112-9, 208pg ~ translated by Bożena Jóżwiak ~ Polish title Cień Sokoła [Falcon Shadow]

View the Original contract

View the 1978 ACE contract

View the 2001 Bethehem contract

For information on editions currently available visit the Book Store




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