A Free Trader rocket ship heads for the remote planet, Sargol, which is blessed with immense natural wealth and precious gemstones. The ship is manned by the heroic Dane Thorson and his crew of intrepid space traders. On Sargol, they enter into complicated negotiations with the inhabitants of this strange planet. These feline people, the Salariki, are reluctant to enter into a business partnership with the free traders till they discover that the ship carries a small amount of catnip on board which they'd obtained from another trading post. Completely overwhelmed, the Salariki agree to exchange the catnip for a valuable load of precious stones. Relieved and delighted, Dane Thorson and his crew begin their return journey. Suddenly, the crew begins to succumb to mysterious headaches and soon become semi-comatose. Just four young crew members and Dane himself seem to be immune. When the ship enters the vicinity of their own planet, Dane discovers to his horror that their spacecraft has been declared a “plague ship.” Can Dane and his young crew save the mission and their fellow crew members? _Plague Ship_ by Andre Norton was first published in 1956. It is a sequel to the previous Dane Thorson story, _Sargasso of Space_ and the second in the Solar Queen series, consisting of seven novels. Written in what is considered the Golden Age of Sci-Fi, the series presents the various adventures of Dane Thorson, a free trader and businessman who operates in the far reaches of outer space. Andre Norton is the pseudonym of Alice Mary Norton, who also wrote under the names Andrew Norton and Alice Weston. She was one of the first science fiction writers to be honored by being inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. After trying many careers, she began working as a reader at The Gnome Press, a tiny New York publishing house that specialized in sci-fi. This was where she discovered her interest and talent in both writing and sci-fi. She wrote hundreds of short stories and many sequential novels featuring certain main characters. Her books were extremely popular, well plotted and filled with great nuggets of scientific information. Her hero Dane Thorson is a likable, intelligent, fast thinking and well rounded character. Andre Norton's fame waned with the reduced interest in lesser known sci-fi authors. However, her talent is undeniable and aimed mainly at the young adult reader. Though Plague Ship is a sequel, it's still a fantastic stand alone read that could spur readers on to read the complete Solar Queen collection.
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