Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Zero Stone” as Want to Read:
The Zero Stone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Zero Stone

(The Zero Stone #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,242 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From the back cover: A mysterious stone, born of worlds long extinct, is the key to powers unimaginable to man -- powers that could enable its owners to control the universe. Murdoc Jern, gem trader, finds that possession of the stone has led him to the center of a web of intrigue and murder.

With his companion Eet, an inscrutable feline mutant with phenomenal ESP powers,
Mass Market Paperback, 221 pages
Published 1968 by Ace Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Zero Stone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Zero Stone

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,242 ratings  ·  82 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Zero Stone
Raymond St.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a kid years past (don't ask).
The swing-sets are gone, the old tree house is much smaller than I recall.
But all the Andre Norton books remain windows into strange, exciting adventure.
My only complaint: re-reading The Zero Stone I realized why I am disappointed with modern astronomy and NASA:
They haven't given us the Thieve's Guild and the Space-port taverns, ancient temples and strange alien cats and the wonderful, glittery forerunner magic jewels.

An unfair complaint, I admit.
Dee Arr
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I am a huge fan of the older style of sci-fi, and The Zero Stone, published in 1968 by Andre Norton, certainly fits in that category. However, I was not happy with the book.

The first half of the book has very little dialogue, about 2-5% of the pages. That means over 95% of the book up to that point is mostly description, and reading became more of a chore than a joy. There was more dialogue in the second half of the book, but by then it didn’t matter. The author had lost my interest.

The upside
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First long "chapter" book I can still remember reading and the first time I started keeping track of what I read, although I'm sure there were a few others before. This started me on science fiction which was my favorite genre for a number of years. Several years ago I found a first edition at a fine used book store in great shape with an intact dust jacket in a plastic book cover. Since I first read this in a library edition I bought this one. It had the same cover I remember. Had to have it at ...more
Great fun to go back and read this one -- I first encountered it some time around sixth grade / 11-years-old, and remember it among my favorites. Although, it was a little behind the Beastmaster series and definitely behind Time Traders and the Solar Queen adventures.

I think, once I post the cover I read (both now and then), that you'll agree it is an "Ugly Cover". (Unless you were the illustrator! Keep up the good work!)

Nandakishore Varma
I don't remember much of the story - I read it in prehistoric times, when I was a kid - but I do remember Eet and the fascinating SF landscapes Andre Norton created. It was one of my first experiences with SF, so admittedly it was uphill most of the way. I read it during summer vacation, and can remember falling asleep with it on my chest in the hot, humid, lazy afternoons.
MrsJoseph *grouchy*

3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 stars!

The Zero Stone is a magical book for me in some ways.

I first ran into The Zero Stone (and Andre Norton) in elementary school. I was a voracious reader even then and apparently, my elementary school had a fabulous catalog. At the time I read The Zero Stone, I was crazy about mysteries. I read them by the barrel: The Hardy Boys, tons of Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, etc. When I ran out of mysteries...I found myself staring
Allison Hurd
Zero stone was a really uneven read for me. It started off amazing, with the feel of being well ahead of its time. And then it petered out and ramped up only to then stay on a flat path for the rest of the story.

Things to love:
-The scenery description
-A know it all mutant cat/dragon thing!
-The imagination in creating these worlds and people.

Boring things:
-Eet was the real hero. I don't know why we gave a shit about Murdoc. He didn't do anything interesting outside the initial chapter.
-Lack of
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read Andre Norton back in elementary school and have come back to her works time and again. She's not really science fiction, not really fantasy, more like somewhere in between with a focus on storytelling and characters you can attach to. So when this book moved into my field of vision I picked it up. I would have liked to say this is a 4-star read, but to me it just wasn't.

Murdoc Jern is an apprentice gemologist who buys and sells gems throughout the galaxy. But a mysterious stone,
Edward McKeown
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zero Stone by Andre Norton (1958)

Zero Stone opens with a man fleeing for his life down the darkened alleys of a primitive alien city. He’s a Terran, younger half of a team of jewel dealers. His partner has been murdered when the priests of an alien religion, in an unheard of act, select an off-worlder for a sacrifice and are answered with lasers. His partner dead, Murdoc Jern flees to an alien sanctuary and uses his store of jewels to bribe his way to a Free Trader space freighter and escape
Justin Howe
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine being a player in a sci-fi RPG where you DM is just free associating and mashing together every SF trope they can think of on the fly. This book's like that.
Guy Worthey
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Zero Stone is one of Andre Norton's best in terms of hooking a reader into a swashbuckling rocket-powered adventure. It's set in her usual Galactic civilization, with free traders, thieves guild, and patrol factions and a tasty menu of aliens. Andre Norton endings are often more than a bit whimpery, but this one is solid, as Murdoc Jern forges a deal for freedom and his own spaceship after harrowing adventures through (1) an alien city where the priesthood wants to kill him, (2) a free ...more
Ross Argabrite
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Norton at her classic writing

I have been a fan of Andre Norton's for more than fifty years.
This is not a the same author I became infatuated with all those many years ago. Witch World would not be the same story I remember finding in my school library.
This new adventure is just as exciting and scary as the old.
There are new people and worlds but we still explore the human spirit and try to delve into possible ways to deal with other species we come into contact with.
Eet and Murdoch Jern take
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
In my lexicon, three stars is a *good* book.

Andre Norton is overall required reading for any serious sci-fi fan. The Zero Stone is a decent book, if a little dated here and there in projected technology and social conventions.

The Zero Stone, after the first 25% or so of the book, does pick up the pace and become something of a swashbuckler.

This is a good read for anyone who wants to dip their toe into Andre Norton's works, but doesn't want anything too challenging. Good classic sci-fi.
***Dave Hill
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text, favorites
One of my favorite books as a youth diving headlong into science fiction. Norton's ability to create whole cultures, to blend awe and mystery with pulp SF adventure, and to use language that both engages and reads like a mythic saga continues to impress. If a modern book would have a bit more dialog, a bit less introspective monologue, I'm still able to appreciate what she gave us and to enjoy going to back to it time and again.
Susan Otto
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic sci-fi

Andre Norton is it noted writer of sci-fi. This book, as well as Syfy, is it typical book of her imagination that is vividly portrayed in this space Tale about a gem assistant who travels with his master, encountered an alien esper, have a fantastic Adventure.

Highly recommended as an introduction to Syfy.

Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
During the late 60's I read Norton's, The Zero Stone, and found it to be an interesting and enjoyable read. The novel involves a telepathic mutant "cat" and gem appraiser Merdoc Jern in search of a source of mysterious stones of tremendous power. Merdoc has one already. Others are also interested in obtaining these stones and persue them.
Jason Westbrook
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved this book ever since I first read it in my teens.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old time SciFi. First published 1968
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books of all time, thiis was one of my introductions to science fiction when I was in junior high.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A favorite book since I was a teenager. I re-read it every few years. I wish all of Norton's books were this good.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this in my formative years, and I think it influenced my later writing quite a bit.
Ed Graves
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

First read this story in my teens. Liked it then and rereading it now I still like it. Timeless story. Thank You!
Eric Huggins
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
One of the first Science Fiction books I read when in Junior High School. Helped me fall in love with Science Fiction and Andre Norton.
Don Andrews
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an old school sci-Fi from a master writer

Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Who may seize upon time and hold it fast?”

A space opera but much more, and it works. Some whine about the past dearth of recognition for female science fiction/fantasy writers. Andre Norton is proof against those claims, and this book backs to her reputation.

“We were late comers to the space lanes.”

“Planet time is measured in years, space time less easily.” In 1968, Norton got how time varied for those traveling at relativist speeds, why can’t modern writers?

“Never underestimate your
Jules Bertaut
This book was actually a DNF for me.

It was sort of okay until the bit where I was like, nope and quit. It was sort of one thing happens to this kid after another: he has to escape from cultists on this planet, and then from space pirates, and then there’s a derelict ship, etc. He's got this mysterious ring and maybe all the things that happen to him are because he’s got it, but neither was it a very interesting mystery nor did it get resolved before I quit reading. If the rest of the book was
Edward Laufer
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this book, after many years, reminded me why Andre Norton was my second favorite author during my elementary and secondary school years (and actually remains so today). Her writing actually deals more with thoughts (and ways of thinking) than with adventures and plots, but she is masterful at using both adventures and plots to make her points. I highly recommend The Zero Stone to anyone who enjoys reading to be engaged in new ways of thinking, as well as being entertained. How would ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't my favorite Norton book, but it was still one I didn't want to put down. The characters weren't particularly likeable, unlike most of her characters. I plan to read the second book, though, so maybe they'll grow on me.
Mark Zodda
Probably fits more into the horror/fantasy genre than I am used to and expect from Andre Norton. Overall set a creepy kind of vibe that put me off and is probably why I don't intend to read any more of this series.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I read this book so long ago I barely remember it. I remember that I liked it however.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Relic
  • Nightwings
  • And Shall Machines Surrender
  • Tea & Croakies (Enchanting Inquiries #1)
  • More Than Human
  • The Boat of a Million Years
  • The Starborn Saga (The Starborn Saga #1-3)
  • Finding Christmas
  • Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners,  Quitters, and Procrastinators)
  • Edges (Inverted Frontier #1)
  • Dragon to the Rescue (Forgotten Dragons, #3)
  • Rhett's Make-Believe Marriage: Christmas Brides for Billionaire Brothers (Seven Sons Ranch in Three Rivers Romance Book 1)
  • The People That Time Forgot (Caspak, #2)
  • Dragon Meets Girl (Forgotten Dragons, #2)
  • Out of Time's Abyss (Caspak, #3)
  • The Land That Time Forgot (Caspak, #1)
  • Monster Whisperer (The Monster Whisperer #1)
  • First Encounter
See similar books…
Alice Mary Norton always had an affinity to the humanities. She started writing in her teens, inspired by a charismatic high school teacher. First contacts with the publishing world led her, as many other contemporary female writers targeting a male-dominated market, to choose a literary pseudonym. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice. She also used the names Andrew North and Allen ...more

Other books in the series

The Zero Stone (2 books)
  • Uncharted Stars