Set in space, where people have tattoos on the backs of their hands to show you belong to a clan/family. Protagonist has hemophilia


New Member
Feb 17, 2021
I read this book back in 2000-2001 and I checked it out of the local library. I cannot remember the name of it and it is driving me nuts.

The book is set in space; spaceships/flight are a given and normal way people travel and people live on their ships.

When children come of age they receive the family crest as a tattoo on the backs of both hands. It can be scarred if later the person is disowned, or a criminal, etc. The protagonist is a hemophiliac and cannot get the family tattoos. He smooth-back hands are a deep sense of shame and he hides them.

He lives on his ship and has no crew. His only company is his pet bird. Like a smart long-loved jungle/tropical bird.

He has to transport a woman who is a member of a elite clan - can’t remember if it is a bounty, or a kidnapping, but he is holding her to deliver her to someone; I think her brother because he is nefarious in some way. They fall in love.

Any help would be greatly appreci
Hi Winkim, hope you see this!

I haven't got a definitive answer for you, but the setup definitely sounds like an Andre Norton novel to me (Im very fond of AN, but a lot of her stories follow the same template). The protagonist is normally an outsider or outcast, and a loner; he (it's normally a he) is manipulated into taking on a task (kidnap often features!) for someone who turns out to be a villain; the task often involves a journey (often across a wilderness); and there is usually an animal, pet or wild, involved.

In the Solar Queen series, there is a creature - a Hoobat called Queex -on board ship which is described as being part toad, part parrot. Not quite the pet bird you recall, but similar.
There's no tattoos, or hemophilia, that I recall from the AN books that I've read, but there are a good thirty or forty I haven't got to, so that doesn't rule it out.

Things that might point to AN which might jog your memory (or not):
Is the spaceship, and spaceflight in general, described in a fairly oldfashioned way? AN spaceships and technology often run on tapes.
Is there some sort of wilderness journey involved?
Is there any discovery of ancient forgotten technology? And/or a psychic or actual timeslip into the far past?

Sorry not to be able to be more specific, but i hope it at least helps you narrow things down a bit, even just by eliminating AN as a possibility.
While is doesn’t sound quite what I am looking for, I will have to give Andre Norton’s novels a read! They sound wonderful and maybe I’ll find this book somewhere in there. Thank you for the suggestion!