~ 1st Novel in the Forerunner Series by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1981 dustjacket ~

To survive, Simsa must sell her jewelry - the trinkets that came from the Old One, her dead guardian. For now, Simsa is alone; with her black skin, silvery hair and clawed hands and feet, she is a breed apart from the Burrow folk who dwell beneath the city of Kuxortal.

Thom, a Starman, knows that the trinkets are connected to the strange disappearance of his brother, and he is determined to unravel the mystery.

But when both his and Simsa's lives are threatened, Simsa, Thom's unwilling companion, escapes with him on a journey that may determine the survival of the galaxy - and reveal the truth of Simsa's origins.

Superb adventure by the author of Horn Crown and Voorloper.


Write-up from the DAW paperback edition ~

Of all the justly famous writers of science fiction and fantasy, none has inspired greater enthusiasm and loyalty than Andre Norton. Of all Ms. Norton’s works, none had been more warmly received than her famed Forerunner series, a series whose heroes and heroines have already taken on the trappings of legend. The Time Traders, Galactic Derelict, Forerunner Foray, and many more have all instilled in their readers a passion for more.
Here then, in its first publication anywhere, is the definitive novel in the series. Forerunner


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

Andre Norton was one of the best-known writers of science fiction in the genre’s history, and the subject of especially fervent loyalty and enthusiasm. One of her greatest triumphs is the Forerunner series, which has earned a place of legend among fans of such books as The Time Traders, Galactic Derelict, Sargasso of Space and many more. Forerunner is the definitive novel in that series.
“Kuxortal had always been,” Frorunner begins. This ancient port was established in the time of antiquity and has built and rebuilt itself on the ruins of former civilizations. Kuxortal is inhabited by a lowly race of Burrowers, who tunnel and excavate beneath the city’s towers and sometimes discover artifacts from the past. Simsa is a Burrower who has spent her entire life in the service of an older, crippled mentor, Ferwar, who had reputedly rescued Simsa from a trash heap when she was an infant. Simsa, with her blue-black skin a platinum hair, clearly comes from different stock than the other Burrowers, but Ferwar never revealed her origin.
When scavengers attempt to loot the treasures that Ferwar had left behind, in becomes clear that Simsa must flee. Especially when they discover that the scavengers consider Simsa one of the treasures that they have come to steal…


Write-up from a fan ~

Kowar and other planets have their "Dipple"s where the dregs of society live out a hardscrabble existence. The unnamed planet in Forerunner has the Burrows the lowest level of Kuxortal, a sprawling city built on many layers of itself after being destroyed. Shadow was a scavenger working for Ferwar and old woman who sold whatever she or shadow could dig from the rubble of the undercity and trashbins if the upper layers. Shadow had coal-black skin and hair of the whitest white. To avoid notice while working, she used soot to blacken her lashes and covered her hair with a hat. She also bound her breasts tightly to hide her gender and avoid unwanted attention. When Ferwar dies, Shadow, whose name is Simsa takes all of Ferwar's trinkets to try to sell pieces to a spaceman who has come looking for his lost brother who was looking for Forerunner artifacts. He buys a couple of items, but they are attacked by the forces of a Guild Lord. They escape and head for the Hard Hills, a place of ill repute where his brother had disappeared. They find forerunner materials and the remains of his brother's camp. But they are not alone. There are some Jacks (pirates) looting the site. While the spaceman is setting up a beacon to call in the Patrol, Simsa discovers a statue of a woman who looks like her. She passes out and is "Channeling" knowledge and power from one who is probably a distant ancestress. She uses her newfound power to heal and to defend against the Jacks. Simsa and the spaceman make plans about what to do next. Great book! Action -packed and a real page turner. 282 pages (pb) with several fabulous illustrations by Barbi Johnson. ~ PG


Reviews ~

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

1982 by Kendra Usack in Science Fiction Review, Fall
2017 by Judith Tarr


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1981) Published by TOR, PB, 0-523-41481-1, 978-0-523-41481-2, however book is marked 0-523-48500-X, $2.50, 282pg ~ cover and illustrations by Barbi Johnson - 2nd printing also 1981, 3rd printing #48558 1982 $2.75, 4th? printing #54717 1987 $2.95 - 5th? printing #54717 1997 $5.99
  • (1981) Published by Pinnacle Books (TOR), HC, Book Club Edition # 6430, $5.50, 284pg ~ cover by Jim Yost, illustrations by Barbi Johnson {Black Paper Boards, Green Paper Spine}
  • (2012) Published by TOR, TP, 0-765-33191-8, 978-0-765-33191-5, $15.99, 272pg ~ cover by Tylor Jacobson, map by Barbi Johnson
  • (2012) Published by SFBC, HC, 978-1-617-93963-1, #13-474979, $12.99, 272pg ~ cover by Tylor Jacobson, map by Barbi Johnson


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1998) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3836-X, 239pg ~ translation by Maja Kmiecik ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Prekursorka [Forerunner]
  • (2003) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-01841-7, PB, 317pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by Igor Varavin ~ Russian title Предтечи [Forerunner]


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1992)-1 Published in Tashkent, by The Truth of the East, no ISBN, HC, 352pg ~ Russian title Да здравствует Лорд Кор! Кошачьим взглядом. Предтечи. [Long live Lord Cor! Cat's gaze. Forerunners.] ~ Also sold with pirated dust jacket


    • "Long Live Lord Kor!" as "Long live Lord Cor!" ~ pp. 3-67
    • "Catseye" as "The Cat's Eye" ~ pp. 67-194
    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ pp. 195-351


  • (1992)-2 Published in Novosibirsk, by Timur, 5-766-40905-2, HC, 432pg ~ cover of A. Zaplavny ~ Russian title Опасные сны [Dangerous Dreams]


    • "Perilous Dreams" as "Dangerous Dreams" ~ pp. 3-177
    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ pp. 178-329
    • "Yurth Burden" as "The Burden of the Yurts" ~ pp. 330-432


  • (1993) Published in Moscow, by Klyshnikov, Komarov and Co., 5-874-95005-2, HC, 384pg ~ cover by A. Vernigor ~ Russian title Королева ведьм Лохленна. [Witch Queen Lochlann]


    • "Babel-17" by Samuel Dylaney as "Babylon 17" ~ pp. 3-158
    • "Witch Queen of Lochlann" by George H. Smith as "The Witch Queen of Lochlenna" ~ pp. 159-296
    • "The Half Angels" by Andre Lovesey ~ pp. 297-398
    • Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ pp. 399-541


  • (1994) Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14033-X, HC, 384pg ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Предтеча [Forerunner]


    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 3-196
    • "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 197-382


  • (2001) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-04-008643-1, HC, 384pg ~ cover by Igor Varavin ~ Russian title Предтечи [Forerunners]


    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-196
    • "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 197-381


  • (2015) Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699766109, HC, 992pgs ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Звёздные изгнанники [Star Exiles] ~ Limited to 3000 copies


    • "Moon of Three Rings" as "The Moon of Three Rings" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov, pp. 5-220
    • "Exiles of the Stars" as "Star Exiles" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov, pp. 221-442
    • "Voorloper" as "Wandering along the Vour" ~ translation by D. Arsenyev & O. Kolesnikov, pp. 443-608
    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunner" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 609-802
    •   "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev,pp. 803-989


  • Pirated edition, marked as being published by "North-east", a non-existent publisher. ~ Russian title Да здравствует Лорд Кор! [Long live Lord Cor!] ~ see: 1992-1

View the Original contract

View the 2004 Russian contract

Interior Illustrations:



Open menu