The Opal-Eyed Fan

~ A Novel by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of 1977 dustjacket ~

Lost Lady Key, off the Florida coast, had a long history of violence, as Persis Rooke soon discovered when she and her uncle were shipwrecked there en route to claiming an inheritance in the Bahamas. Not only the ghost of a Spanish lady victimized by pirates, but the much more ancient and terrifying customs of a vanished Indian race seemed to haunt the remote little island.
And Persis found herself threatened by very current skulduggery as well as shadows from the past.
Andre Norton tells an enticingly readable nineteenth-century story in which the occult gives a chilling twist to a suspenseful plot.


Write-up from the back of the paperback edition ~

Furies Unleashed
Was it a random storm or destiny’s mischief that shipwrecked lovely Persis Rooke on Lost Lady Key? Persis couldn’t be sure. Rescued by the handsome Captain Crewe Leverett and marooned on the darkly mysterious island with his strange sister and her beau, she was aware only of the oppressive superstitions of the natives who feared a strange curse – the curse of the opal-eyed fan.
Somehow, she knew she had to learn the unspoken secret of the island and the truth about the fabulous Spanish lady who, years before, had left the infamous Satin-shirt Jack dead and then disappeared forever. But Perssis was not aware of the evil that awaited her, nor of the romance that would endanger her until it was too late…. 


Write-ups from fans ~

On their way to the Bahamas to claim an inheritance, Persis Rooke and her Uncle Augustin are shipwrecked on Lost Lady Key, a "haunted island" near Key West.  Rescued by the island's owner, Captain Leveritt, a wrecker, they are plunged into several different intrigues, including one against the captain by his own sister and her lover.  Rather to Persis's dismay, she discovers an antique fan tucked in among her belongings, only it isn't just a fan--there are two versions, and one is merely a sheath for a knife.  Captain Leveritt's housekeeper tells her that the fan (she knows nothing about the knife version) belonged to the Spanish Lady for whom the Key is named.  The Spanish lady had been captured by a pirate and used the knife to kill him, saving herself, after which she disappeared.  When the fan/knife keeps coming back into Persis's possession, she finally keeps it and uses it to rescue herself and Captain Leveritt from his sister's lover's intrigues. ~ SL


Persis Rooke and her Uncle Augustin set forth in the early 1800's to the Florida Keys to claim an inheritance. They are shipwrecked in a storm and wind up on Lost Lady Key, a place with a sinister reputation and a history of voodoo and black magic including a ghost lady carrying a mysterious fan decorated with Cats with Opals for the eyes. After Persis' Uncle dies and her inheritance is stolen, she has to turn to the captain who had saved them. But he has more problems with an arch enemy who attacks and Persis, now has to come to the aid of the good captain. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: September 15, 1977
Scenic ""Lost Lady Key,"" first the haunt of a vanished Indian tribe, the Old Ones (all have vanished but one, Askra, an old witch), and then of the Spanish (who left a ghost behind to remember them by) is fuller of spirits than cypresses. Persis Rooke, who is shipwrecked there circa 1800, can hardly take a walk without running into a ghost, particularly after she finds the buried opal-eyed fan that conceals a dagger--or does it find her? Fortunately, the ghosts and the dagger inspire her with enough gumption to save her man and her fortune from the unskillful plots of pirate Ralph Grillon and his Lydia. Good thing, too, because Persis is a complete wimp without a supernatural assist. Norton, so good. at tales of aliens, smart animals, and the brotherhood of all species, is a washout at romantic leads. One cannot believe that any Gothic passions beat under these starched frocks; and no trace of characterization enlivens these waxen features. 


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

1977 in Booklist, October
1977 in Publishers Weekly, October 03
1977 by A. Shuey in Library Journal, December 15
1978 by J. Pergam in Best Sellers, February
1979 by J. Jackson in Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, April
2020 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Iris, Mildred, Kay, and Jane, who helped bring Persis and her times to life for me, and to the staff of the Winter Park Library who hunted references with such diligence and good will


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1977) Published by Dutton, HC, 0-525-36440-4, 978-0-525-36440-5, LCCN 77003679, $7.95, 212pg ~ cover by Jack Crane {Dark Gray Boards, Red Cloth Spine, ISBN on Rear Flap}
  • (1979) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-23814-8, 978-0-449-23814-1, $1.95, 252pg ~ cover by unknown
  • (2017) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no isbn, $3.99, 181pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • (2018) Published by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, TP, 978-1-680-68020-1, $8.99, 204pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1995) Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-859-49035-6, HC, 416pg ~ cover by Peter Andrew Jones ~ Russian title Принц приказывает [Prince Orders]


    • "The Opal-Eyed Fan" as "A fan with eyes from opal" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 3-220
    • "The Prince Commands" as "The Prince orders" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 220-414


  • (2016) Published in Moscow, by Eskmo, 978-5-699-92952-8, HC, 832pg ~ cover of A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Духи времени [Spirits of Time] ~ Limited to 4000 copies


    • "The Opal-Eyed Fan" as "A fan with eyes from opal" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-198
    • "The White Jade Fox" as "White Jade Fox" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 199-406
    • "Wheel of Stars" as "The Star Wheel" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 407-604
    • "Wraiths of Time" as "The Spirits of Time" ~ translation by D. Arsenyev & O. Kolesnikov, pp. 605-829

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