Knave of Dreams

~ A Novel by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old posting ~

Osythes, Chief Shaman of Ulad, representative of Powers Unseen, was troubled. He had been asked to search the planes for the one twin soul to Crown Prince Kaskar- then cause both souls to unite in one body and destroy themselves on an alternate world. He knew that this was an evil act. He knew that both he and those of the old nobility that came to him with this plan would have to answer for it at the end of their days when they faced the Final Gate. Yet Prince Kaskar was a weak and corrupt man who was under the control of dark forces. Kaskar's grandfather had forged Ulad into a bastion of Justice, Peace, and Order in a world of chaos and violence. His father had maintained the realm against this Darkness.
Kaskar, however, was of the third generation and lacking in courage, strength, and will. He was a weak soul that had easily become a puppet of hidden Evil- it was the soul of a weakling. Hence, Osythes sought to banish this week, corrupt soul to an alternate world before the old king died and this abomination could take the throne. He resigned himself to doing a smaller evil to prevent a far larger Age of Evil. However, when the Chief Shaman found the twin soul that he had been looking for (by searching the worlds in dream trance) it was not at all what he expected. This soul connected to Kaskar belonged to Ramsay Kimble- of the blood of the Iroquois nation.
This was not the soul of a coward, but of a hero. Not only that, but Ramsay's blood was familiar with the Big Dream and the Spirit Quest. Such a soul did not have to die locked with that of a weakling- it could cross over to reanimate Kaskar's empty body. Perhaps the judgment at the Final Gate wouldn't be too harsh after all, for the soul, and heart, of a hero far outweighs that of a coward.


Write-up from the front flap of the 1975 dustjacket ~

Ramsay Kimble was puzzled and confused by the dreams that haunted his sleep. Vivid,detailed, strangely coherent, they compelled him to leave his room in the middle of the night and drive through a furious rainstorm on the road near the lake. Then the car skidded, turned over, and tumbled down the ravine . . .
Then Ramsay found himself alive in the alien world of his dreams, in the body of a Prince, the focus of a complex and dangerous political struggle between unscrupulous and desperate leaders. Scarcely able to distinguish his friends from his enemies, Ramsay uses his unique ability to dream. With the help of a beautiful princess and a
loyal mercenary, he makes the ultimate decision: to triumph over his own death.


Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~

Knave of Dreams
Vivid, disturbing, strangely coherent dreams haunted Ramsay Kimball’s nights – dreams that hypnotically drove him to wreck his car… only to awaken in the alien world of his nightmares – a very real world, now, where was Prince Kaskar Ulad, the focus of a complex, unscrupulous, and deadly game of power.
A wondrous tale of science fiction adventure by Andre Norton.
“One of the most popular authors of our time” – Publishers Weekly


Write-ups from fans ~

A young man starts having strange dreams about another world. He wakes from one of them with an urge to go for a drive, though the night was dark and stormy. He has a deadly accident and wakes up in the world that he was he was dreaming of. But it's not his body or world. He uses his Princess to help him escape and foil the plotters. Destroying the machine that had reached across worlds. ~ SL

Another adventure in parallel worlds. In our world, Ramsay Kimball has been having odd dreams. In another world, renegade scientist uses a forbidden device from an ancient fallen civilization to draw Ramsay into that world to swap bodies with Prince Kaskar. To complicate matters they make Ramsey drive off a high cliff so that the prince will die and Remsey is stuck as Kaskar of Ulad. One group wants Kaskar dead and the other wants to use him as a puppet Emperor. A wise woman foreteller reads tarot-like cards that proclaim Ramsey/Kaskar to be the "Knave of Dreams", an outside x-factor able to thwart nefarious plans. Of course, he first has to survive and then he has to figure out which side he is on. Finally realizing that he can never go back to his old life helps clarify his choices. Action, adventure, treachery and intrigue combine to make Knave of Dreams a genuine page-turner. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: Sept. 1st, 1975
When Ramsey Kimball is time-zapped into the body of his other level twin Kaskar he gets his bearings in no time at all. In a few days he's learned the language and customs of Ulad (the natives wear leotards and cat's head decorations, hatch) and plunged into the intrigue over a successor to the crown. Maybe Ramsey is at home in Ulad because it's so familiar from reading other Norton books, though for better or worse, this world is less complicated than some. Anyway, it seems the Empress and the Enlightened One, the Reverend Osythes, have planned to put Prince Berthal on the throne in place of the old Kaskar, now technically dead, who was in the power of the villainous Ochall. But Ramsey has other ideas . . . and a gift of prophetic dreaming that enables him to claim power for himself, outwit everyone and win the lovely Thecla. Ramsey's motives are no more human than anyone else's and it's hard to figure out just what he's doing in this fancy dress game . . . and what you're doing playing with Norton's same old stacked deck one more time.


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

1975 by E. Haynes in School Library Journal, November
1976 by Charles N. Brown in Locus #185 (fnz), February 29
1976 in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March
1976 by Ruth Berman in Delap's F & SF Review (fnz), May
1976 by S. Nemeth in SF Booklog #60 (fnz), May/June
1976 by Peter Hunt in Times Literary Supplement, October
2020 by Judith Tarr


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1975) Published by Viking, HC, 0-670-41467-0, LCCN 75014444, $7.95, 252pg ~ cover by Kathy Westray {Maroon Paper Boards, White Cloth Spine, Red End Papers, code “1 2 3 4 5 79 78 77 76 75”}
  • (1976) Published by Kestrel Books, HC, 0-722-65234-8, £2.95, 252pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Michael Jackson
  • (1977) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-45000-8, $1.75, 276pg - # 45001-8 1980 $1.95 276pg 3rd print - #45002-4 1984 $2.50 276pg 4th print ~ covers by Charles Mikolaycak 

#4500-8 appears to have had two (2) printings using the same ACE Number series.  The primary method to separate the printings is that the first has the address of 1120 Avenue of the Americas on the title page. The second has the ACE address as 360 Park Avenue South (where they moved in March to April 1978).

#45001-8 the checksum digit for the ISBN -8, is not valid, should have been -6.

#45002-4 the cover art by Charles Mikolaycak is no longer a wraparound and the background color is changed. Secondly, although it is marked as 3rd edition, since the first edition had two printings, it is actually the 4th edition).

  • Deadly Dreams (2011) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-439-13444-8, $7.99, 528pg ~ cover by Darrell K. Sweet ~ Omnibus containing Knave of Dreams (1975) & Perilous Dreams (1976)


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1995) Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-85949-037-6, HC, 384pg ~ cover by T. Greer ~ Russian title Рыцарь снов [Dream knight]


    • "Knave of Dreams" as "The Knight of Dreams" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 3-236
    • "Fur Magic" as "Shaggy magic" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, 237-382


  • (2002) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-040-09134-6, HC, 416pg ~ cover by Igor Varavin & illustrations by A. Lurie ~ Russian title Рыцарь снов [Dream knight]


    • "Knave of Dreams" as "The Knight of Dreams" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, p. 5-214
    • "Quag Keep" as "Swamp fortress" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, p. 215-414


  • (2015) Published in Moscow, by Eskmo, 978-5-699-84463-0, HC, 800pg ~ cover of A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Гаран вечный [Eternal Garan] ~ Limited to 3000 copies


    • "Garan the Eternal" as "Eternal Garan" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov & V. Sergeyev, pp. 5-122
    • "Here Abide Monsters" as "Monsters are found here" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov & V. Sergeyev, pp. 123-340
    • "Huon of the Horn" as "The Horn of Yuon" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov & V. Sergeyev, pp. 341-456
    • "Knave of Dreams" as "The Knight of Dreams" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 457-638
    • "Merlin's Mirror" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov & D. Arseniev, pp. 639-797

View the Original contract

View the 1975 ACE contract

View the 2001 Russian contract



Open menu