by Todd McCaffrey
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
436 pages; ISBN: 0345441249
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Del Rey, Jan 2005, $24.95, 436 pp.
When the colonists landed on Pern, they didn’t know that the red star would align with the planet every two hundred and fifty years. When that event happens, spores from the red star fall onto Pern destroying anything organic in its path. To combat this problem, geneticists changed fire lizards into telepathic dragons that bond with a human; together they unite to fight spores or thread as it is now called in 507 years after the initial landing of the spaceship.
In AL 507, Lorana sends her fire lizards away when she thinks she is dying, but she is saved and brought to Bendon Weyr where she bonds with a hatchling dragonet Arith. A plague infects the dragons killing many including Arith just when thread is coming. Arith and Lorana’s two fire lizards go back to 42 AL where geneticist Wind Blossom concludes that the three visitors come from Bendan Weyr in the future. She devises a plan to help her descendents battle the deadly dragon killer plague if the future people can interpret the clues she left behind to save them.
This is the first solo Pern story not written by the immortal Anne McCaffrey, but her son who obviously inherited the writing gene as readers will not be able to tell who wrote the novel without reading the cover. Two women living centuries apart work to find a cure to save the dragons and ultimately their world. There is plenty of action scenes especially when dragons and their human rider battle thread, but it is the strong characterizations especially the grieving Lorana who can communicate with any dragon while reminded of the loss of her Arith to the plague that make this a worthy entry in the long running series.
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