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The Time Traders    by Andre Norton order for
Time Traders
by Andre Norton
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 1980 (1958)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ross Murdock, a tough young offender in a hostile world, is offered the chance to volunteer for a special government project as an alternative to the 'rehabilitation treatment', rumored to make permanent personality changes. Ross accepts, while looking for chances to escape. He is quickly partnered with project veteran Ashe and sent back in time as part of Operation Retrograde. The 'Reds' are developing new 'super gadgets' from contact with an advanced civilization in the past and it's up to nonconformists like Ross and Ashe to track them down.

The project has rules for its time forays - no advanced weaponry and agents may not take any action that might change the course of history. Ross and Ashe end up as Beaker Traders in early Britain, but find their Outpost destroyed by the Wrath of Lurgha (with the bad guys pulling the strings of course). When Ross is captured by the enemy and later by ax people, his background enables him to resist and to fight back. He does not give up even when convinced that he has been marooned in time. Naturally, he wins through after a series of exciting adventures and discovers a comradeship and a purpose that he previously lacked.

In The Time Traders, Norton has blended an exciting mix of Iron Curtain spy adventure, time travel and flying saucers with the promise of space exploration - as only she can do. This story has been around for a while but it's still a great read.

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