Andre Norton wrote Scarface.
No, no. Not the Al Pacino gangster classic directed by Brian De Palma. I mean the 1948 pirate novel, whose full title is Scarface, being the story of one Justin Blade, late of the pirate isle of Tortuga, and how fate did justly deal with him, to his great profit.
Scarface was published early in her career. Like, very early. It was her fifth novel, written four years before her first science fiction novel, Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D (1952), and decades before she became the first female SFWA Grand Master in 1984. But it was very well received, getting a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, among other accolades, and eventually being reprinted in a beautifully designed paperback edition from Comet in September 1949 (above). The Comet paperback was copiously illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund — see below for a sample of some of the eye-catching interiors.
[Click the images for pirate-sized versions.]
Scarface, as the cover announces, is the story of a boy pirate. Justin Blade. It was one of Norton’s popular juvenile historicals, which also included Rogue Reynard (1947) and Huon of the Horn (1951). Over at Goodreads it still holds up surprisingly well with a modern audience (4.11 out of 5). Here’s the back cover copy for the Comet edition.
The boy Scarface watched the lights of Tortuga dim as the Naughty Lass stood out for the open sea. The Spanish Main promised rich prizes for Captain Cheap and his pirate crew. And this time Cheap had set his sights high — for no less a prey than Sir Robert Scarlett, his lifelong enemy, and Her Majesty’s fleet at Bridgetown. His plan was daring. Muskets roared and swords flashed as redcoats and pirates fought savagely. The fate of Bridgetown hung in the balance — and with it the secret of Scarface’s true identity.
And here’s the dust jacket for the later Harcourt, Brace reprint edition.
Andre Norton has consistently been one of our most popular subjects at Black Gate. Our recent coverage includes over 25 articles:
The Sioux Spaceman
Secret of the Lost Race
Sargasso of Space
Grand Masters’ Choice, edited by Andre Norton
The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder
Everything’s Coming up Aces: All the Covers of Galactic Derelict
The Last Planet
Return to the Witch World: The Crystal Gryphon by Fletcher Vredenburgh
The End of the Story: Sorceress of the Witch World by Fletcher Vredenburgh
To The Dark Tower He Came: Warlock of the Witch World by Fletcher Vredenburgh
Year of the Unicorn by Fletcher Vredenburgh
Three Against the Witch World by Fletcher Vredenburgh
Witch World by Fletcher Vredenburgh
Kirkus Looks at Andre Norton’s Young Adult Novels
A Point of Transition: Andre Norton’s Witch World by Matthew David Surridge
Andre Norton, Michael Moorcock and Appendix N: Advanced Readings in D&D
Star Soldiers and Other Free Kindle Books at Amazon.com
To the King a Daughter by Andre Norton and Sasha Miller
The Omnibus Volumes of Andre Norton, Part One
The Women of Andre Norton’s Witch World by Violette Malan
Andre Norton: Are Her Men Really Women? by Violette Malan
Lore of the Witch World by by Fletcher Vredenburgh
Frontier Guard, Robot Ships, and Rascal Traders: Rich Horton on Space Service
Birthday Reviews: Andre Norton’s “The Gifts of Asti” by Steven H Silver
Scarface was published by Harcourt, Brace, in June 1948, and reprinted in paperback as Comet #28 in September 1949, with illustrations by Lorence Bjorklund. The Comet paperback is 239 pages, priced at 35 cents. I bought my copy at the Windy City Pulp and Paper show in 2018 for $3.
See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.