The Sword is Drawn

~ 1st Novel in the Sword Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Lorens Van Norreys

sword is drawn 1944 dj


Synopsis ~

From the back of the Unicorn Star tradepaper edition ~

The House of Norreys - those merchants of gems for over 300 years - faces its greatest crisis ever - the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The old Jonkheer lay dying in his bed when he called his grandson to be with him in the last hours of his life, and at this time young Loren van Norreys is entrusted with the future of Norreys. That future lies in the legendary Flower of Orange, a priceless baroque necklace that the Nazi scavengers burn to possess. It is up to Lorens to save the necklace and the House of Norreys. With the first encounter with the Nazi invaders, Lorens faces his challenge as THE SWORD IS DRAWN.


Write-up from the front flap of the dustjacket ~

IN THE Holland of June, I940, with the enemy at hand and the battle lost, Lorens van Norreys, eighteen-year-old heir to the famous House of Norreys, an age-old firm of jewel merchants, is summoned by his dying grandfather. Lorens is ordered by his grandfather to hide away in a specially constructed safe the ‘Flowers of Orange,’ a priceless family necklace. He seals the safe, knowing it can be opened only after two years and only by one word. He chooses the word that he and a ‘foreign pen friend’ in America have in common, thus sharing the secret with his friend.
Adventure follows Lorens. After his grandfather’s death and a skirmish with the Nazis, he escapes Holland. After fighting the Japs in Java, he flees to Australia, where he is injured in a crash landing. Eventually he reaches the United States and, with the two years passed, determines to return to Holland via the underground in an attempt to reclaim the necklace and so aid the Netherlands Royal Air Force in England. How Lorens makes his dangerous underground trip and thwarts the Nazis’ efforts to seize him and the necklace, is both a climax and a reaffirmation of faith, courage, and the hope of freedom.
Through the hardships of all his adventures, Lorens manages to keep in touch with his pen friend in America. In writing this story of the friendship of boys of two nations, Andre Norton has drawn on the knowledge of 60,000 such real friendships that existed all over the world before the war. Beneath the adventure of THE SWORD IS DRAWN is the certain knowledge that these young friends of American boys and girls are holding the torch — and sword — of freedom in Nazi-held lands, and that the hope of the future lies in friendships like that of Lawrence and Lorens.
Duncan Coburn’s well-designed wash and charcoal illustrations have caught the strength of Lorens's character and have vividly portrayed his adventures.


Write-ups from fans ~

As the Nazis overrun the Netherlands, the old man of the House of Norreys, a jewel "empire", sends his grandson to first hide a valuable necklace called the Flowers of Orange, and then to escape across the Channel to England, so the Nazis can't claim custody of a minor and use him as the excuse to plunder the rest of the House of Norreys' assets.  Lorens does manage to cross the Channel, thanks to a group of smugglers who have added their talents to the Dutch Resistance.  Lorens later travels to the Far East to join his cousin's efforts at establishing an air force in the Pacific.  But the Japanese overrun Java and Lorens has to flee to Australia by plane where he is unlucky enough to be shot down just before reaching safety.  Later, his travels take him to the U.S. where he manages to convince someone in the war department that it would be to the Allie's benefit to return him to Holland to recover the Flowers of Orange. ~ SL

NOTE: The three SWORDS books were inspired by a pen-pal club originated by the Cleveland Press World's Friends' Club to promote international understanding and friendship between young folks of different nationalities.  More than 62,000 young folks in 74 countries became proud to claim membership.  Lawrence Kane and Lorens van Norreys were (fictionally) two of these pen pals, and THE SWORD IS DRAWN shows many of their communications.  Andre Norton had previously written historical fiction until the 1940's when she turned to adventure and spy stories.  THE SWORD IS DRAWN won her an award by the Netherlands government in 1946 for its portrayal of that nation at war. ~ SL


Book 1 of the Lorens van Norreys series which starts with letter to his American pen friend Lawrence Kane There are several letters throughout the book.
Intrigue, Espionage, Action and Adventure mark this series. It starts in 1940 in the Netherlands as the Nazis are invading and taking over. Lorens van Norreys, the last member of the House of Norreys (one of the finest jewelers and jewel merchants in the world) attends his grandfather on his deathbed. He is given the famous necklace “The Flowers of Orange” to hide from the Nazis. He hides them and hears the Germans invading the house and barely escapes as the house explodes and burns. He travels to the East Indies to assist his cousin among the Dutch resistance against the Japanese. He arrives in Sumatra on Dec. 8, 1941 (in Hawaii that is Dec 7, Pearl Harbor Day) several months later, after much fighting and other adventures, he decides to go back to Holland to retrieve the necklace. This is easier said than done as he has to deal with suspicious Dutch underground freedom fighters, Nazis and a traitor in the mix. Well researched and thrilling, it is a page-turner ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: March 1st, 1944
In outline this sounds like a thriller. Lorens has been smuggled out of Holland in 1940; his grandfather has provided for his secret return in 1942 to recover a hidden necklace and use the proceeds for the Dutch Underground. In the meantime, his adventures take him to the Dutch Indies -- to England -- and back, via Underground, to Holland, -- and after terrific risks -- success. Unfortunately, the subplot confuses the issues; the pace should be faster, the style more incisive, the moral tone less obvious.


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

1944 by M.G.D. in Saturday Review of Literature, April 15
1944 by Anne T. Eaton in New York Times, April 23
2020 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

The authors deepest appreciation is here expressed for the help and encouragement so freely given by Mrs. Margaret Johnson of the Cleveland Press World Friends’ Club, and to Miss Barbara White, Miss Mary Louise Johnson, andMiss Mary Jo Bendler, who so graciously allowed their correspondence with friends in the Netherlands to be used for source material.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1944) Published by Houghton, HC, # 1317, LCCN 44040054, $2.00, 178pg ~ cover and illustrated by Duncan Coburn {Orange Cloth Boards, Pictorial End papers}
  • (1944) Published by Thomas Allen, HC, $2.50, 178pg ~ Canadian printing ~ cover and illustrated by Duncan Coburn
  • (1944) Published by Junior Lit. Guild, HC, ~ cover and illustrated by Duncan Coburn
  • (1946) Published by Oxford Univ. Press, HC, £ 8s6p (102p), 166pg ~ UK printing ~ Introduction and illustrations by H. Gooderham {Yellow Cloth Boards, Red Lettering}
  • Sword Series Set (1984) (Three Tradepaper editions shrink-wrapped with a Single Front Card) Published by Unicorn Star Press, TP, 0-910-93725-7 ~ contains At Swords' Points (1954), Sword in Sheath (1949) & The Sword is Drawn (1944)
  • (1985) Published by Unicorn Star Press, TP, 0-910-93726-5, 216pg ~ cover by Keith Ward
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-937957-56-8, DM, $3.99, 169pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-84-0, DM, $3.99, 169pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1996) Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-859-49072-0, HC, 384pg ~ front cover by Luis Royo, rear cover by A. Craddock ~ Russian title Меч обнажен [The Sword is Drawn]


    • "The Sword is Drawn" as "The sword is naked" ~ translation by V. Arzhanov & Olga Filippova, pp. 3-190
    • "Sword in Sheath" as "The scabbard sword" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 191-382


  • (2002) Published as Fanzine (self-published), HC, 840pgs. ~ cover by M. Whelan ~ Russian title Лоренц ван Норрис [Lorenz van Norris] ~ Limited to 20 copies and not released untill March 2018 


    • "Lorenz van Norris" (cycle)
      • "The Sword is Drawn" as "Naked sword" ~ translation by V. Arzhanov & Olga Filippova, pp. 5-134
      • "Sword in Sheath" as "Sword in the sheath" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 135-268
      • "At Swords Point" as "On the edge of the sword" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 269-414
    • "Cat sign, Year of the Rat" (cycle)
      • "The Mark of the Cat" as "The Sign of the Cat" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 415-612
      • "Year of the Rat" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 613-837

View the Original contract

View the original Copyright app.

View the 1971 Copyright renewal

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