The Prince Commands – Andre Norton (Repost)

“Did you know Andre Norton wrote historical and alternate history, too?”
“Yeah, she wrote a couple of Civil War novels, and this one I got at the giant booksale last year. It’s really nice. It’s like a boy’s adventure story. It’s awesome!”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about a secret heir to the throne, and bandits, and cavalry charges, and secret passwords–and horses–y’know, more books ought to have horses. That’s the reason fantasy literature has declined, it’s ’cause they don’t have enough cool horses in them. Or dogs. There should be more dog books. And, oh, there’s winning your spurs, and, oh, oh, oh, fighting Communists! And it’s really nice. It’s a good book.”
“It has Communists?”
“Yeah, they came in from Russia and set up shop and tried to overthrow the old King, but everybody is actually really lotal to the monarchy and just laughed at them until they assassinated him, but that actually backfired on them and they had to go underground then.”
“They came from Russia? This isn’t science fiction?”
“No, it’s set in Prisoner of Zenda-land. You know, somewhere in eastern Europe, still got a King and an Archbishop and a cathedral, people still ride horses, there’s only one airplane in the whole country–”
“Andre Norton wrote this?”
“Yep! And it’s a really good book! The hero is like, just a boy and then he shows his worth and wins his spurs and becomes Prince–”
“That’s a ripoff. He should become King. That’s the Zelazny way. Cheating your hero out of their comeuppance so you can use them in more books. Andre Norton was trying to set up a sequel.”
“No! He wasn’t the first heir! They had him concealed in America and he was kept ignorant of his heritage, but then the Council tried to assassinate the real heir, and then they needed a puppet in a hurry so they called him in and bandits attack the train and he escapes. And then he has adventures. And they’re fun and exciting and…see, the foreward to the book is her talking about how she wrote it for a kid she knew. And it shows, because she wrote this book to be a good book for that kid to read. So it’s completely exciting and completely interesting and completely wholesome and worthwhile. It’s a really good book! I like it a lot.
“A sequel would have been nice, though.”


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