Sword in Sheath

(aka) Island of the Lost

~ 2nd Novel in the Sword Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Lorens Van Norreys



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the dustjacket ~

Here is a new story by the author of Scarface – a rousing tale of modern adventure in the East Indies that will appeal to every boy who has dreamed of coral reefs, fabulous treasures in pearls, and lost islands crowned with crumbling temples of ancient demon-gods.
Lawrence Kane and Sam Marusaki, former OSS agents headed for the Celebes to search for a missing aviator and to do a bit of unofficial sleuthing for military intelligence, were not too surprised to find their room ransacked before they left Manila. The remote ports of the Indies, sheltering renegades from every corner of the world, had never been too healthy for the curious; and now the war’s end had left the islands seething with new violence, treachery, and native unrest. But as they sailed southward with a Dutch friend, who hoped to purchase rare gems, there were more ominous warnings that strangers were not welcome – the veiled hints of the Moro sultan, Abdul Hakroun; the machine-gunned corpse of a native diver with three perfect pearls clenched in his fist; the incoherent babbling of a fear crazed trader. And in the end, not even these grim threats prepared them for the startling secrets they discovered on the desolate, uncharted island where they finally came to grips with an old enemy.


Write-up from the back of the Unicorn Star tradepaper edition ~

V--E Day and V-J Day are in the past, but the war is not over. Not for Lorens van Norreys, the new master of the House of Norreys, not as long Nazi criminals are still at large. And not for Lawrence Kane and Sam Marusaki, two former OSS men, not as long as there are Americans still missing in action. The Three of them quickly become entangled in a mystery - Norreys as he searches for a lost treasure and Lawrence and Marusaki as they search for a lost American flyer. Together they face cutthroat pirates in the thousand islands of Indonesia, then they battle an unknown foe on an island known as the Forbidden Place, an uncharted landfill mentioned only in legends and from which, it it said, not one has ever returned alive.


Write-ups from fans ~

Lawrence Kane and one of his brothers-in-arms are recruited by Naval Intelligence to do some spying in the East Indies, using the pretext of searching for a rich man's son who had disappeared in that area during the War.  They are joined by Lorens van Norreys, who is seeking out jewels to restock the House of Norreys after the depredations of the Nazis.  Together they come across a Japanese/Nazi holdout group and, with the help of the chief of the local bandits, defeat them. ~ 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


A year and a half after WWII Lorens van Norreys heads back to the East Indies to build back the jewel trade of the House of Norreys using his grandfather's contacts in the area. He meets up with an old American pen pal, Laurence Kane and his partner Sam Marusaki who are searching for a missing airman. They team up and wind up fighting bloodthirsty pirates and Japanese and German holdouts from the war. These renegades have set up base on a mysterious uncharted island known as "The Forbidden Place" where most of the islanders are afraid to go. An ancient, but still powerful, old friend of Lorens' late Grandfather joins forces with our heroes to try to put an end to the pirates and look for survivors. Very exciting! ~ PG


The four novellas are 4 events in the life of Lorens van Norreys, an 18 year old. These are like four war nightmares. [Years back, a Vietnam Vet described these as screaming dreams.]
In the first, he comes home from University to find his grandfather dying, and bombs being dropped on his home. He escapes to England.
In the second, he arrives in Indonesia to join his last van Norreys relative, Piet, who has an air service. Piet refuses to let Lorens learn to be a pilot, and instead send him to a secret landing strip in the middle of the jungle. Unfortunately, the secret seems lost as Japanese soldiers are air dripped in, and the air strip people grab what they can and start the walk out. This is a war. Not a story, not an adventure, a war. In the jungle, the bugs bite, rain falls, swords are used to hack a path through and there is always the fear of Japanese patrols. Eventually Lorens does get through and takes a plane for Australia. But even small airplanes can be shot down, and Lorens is badly hurt in the crash.
The third novella is the story of what Lorens does to partly recover from his injuries. He is evacuated from Australia to America and he finds a need to go back to the Netherlands. He fears that his permanent injuries makes him unfit for a future as a pilot, so he must do as he can.
The final novella is a spy story. This is the way that Lorens makes his way back to the house of Norreys, past German officers, collaborators, and nationalists. ~ IH


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: Oct. 1st, 1949
A new slant on the old adventure pattern, with a Pacific area setting- in a story of two O.S.S. youths who find civilian life difficult and undertake a mission that offers excitement. They get what they are after, - a lost submarine, ransacked rooms, a host of shady characters. Intrigue runs high and suspense cloaks all, with two Americans in an adventure of wits and daring. Straight adventure, well done, a good "bridging book" to use as bait for the comic addicts.


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

2020 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

The author wishes to acknowledge a debt to Mr. E. M. T. Veelbehr, late of the Dutch East Indies and now of Hiluersum, Holland, who furnished a wealth of material about the islands and their customs — and to Joop and Hanny Wemelsfelder of Dordrecht, Holland, for their many letters about the youth of postwar Netherlands.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1949) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 49010979, $2.50, 246pg ~ cover and illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund {Blue Cloth Boards, Library Edition – Red Cloth with Pictorial Front Cover}
  • 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, 0-910-93727-3, 978-0-910-93727-6, LCCN 490010979, 223pg ~ cover by Keith Ward
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-938582-31-8, DM, $3.99, 224pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-81-9, DM, $3.99, 224pg ~ 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

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