The Defiant Agents

Time Traders, Book 3

Andre Norton

An enjoyable space western with Apaches as the good guys, wrapped up in the cold war and tossing in the Golden Horde, a lost alien city and Russians with a mind-control ray.

Third in the Time Traders series, it stands alone pretty well even though it appears much more closely linked to the second book (which I haven’t read) than the first (which I have), largely because the setting has moved from Earth’s past to a distant world in the near future.

It’s kind of a mish-mash, but as an adventure it moves quickly. The characters’ memories are all scrambled, mixed with those of their ancestors (this is how the western and Mongol Horde tropes are brought into the future). But they’re still distinct characters, and when alliances shift they’re actually for character and cultural reasons, not just plot contrivances.

All that said, I’m a white guy reading a book written by a white woman in the 1960s. She treats the Apaches a lot better than most contemporary western stories, and one of the themes is the ongoing exploitation of indigenous people by powerful nations of white people. But I don’t know how cringe-worthy the depiction might be to people who are actually part of those cultures.

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