A deadly plague has begun to wipe out the dragons and fire-lizards, leaving mankind no defence against the deadly Thread which has just begun to fall in the Third Pass. Tantalized by a song that seems to suggest that Lorana can find out how to heal the dragons, the Harper Kindan and Lorana race against time to solve the clues that Wind Blossom left behind.
Can they find the cure in time to save Lorana's queen, Arith, and the rest of the dragons? If they don't, there will be no dragons left, and all life on the planet will be devoured.
And how could Wind Blossom, Pern's last geneticist, know of a peril 400 Turns after her death?
I was so excited when this book originally came out, I have been a Pern devotee for far more years that I care to admit (how much would I love to be a gold dragon rider!!!???!!) *ahem*.
Unfortunately I found myself very disappointed. This came across very much a re-hashing of the event from Moreta but set at an earlier time, for us hard core fan there were also discrepancies that would have put other books out of sync. I would have much preferred to see Todd McCaffrey take up where his mother left off and keep the story going forward in her tradition. Whether he has or hasn't since this book I don't know as I was put off his work following this.
People not so familiar with the Pern series will probably still very much enjoy it, however for those who know the characters and history almost as well as our own lives will most likely be rather disappointed.
I never used to be a fan of the Pern books... Fantasy never used to be one of my preferred genres, and so I missed out on something totally stunning on the planet Pern. As the first book written by Todd, but the second book he has worked on in the Pern universe, and the only Pern book I have read, I can't really say how well his stories integrate into the worldline his mother, Anne, created and maintained solely for almost 40 years. However, regardless of how well he fits in or not, I can say that I LOVE his style of writing.
Lorana, the key character, is an amazing girl. Lost and wandering, she finds a home in Benden Weyr, which also happens to hide a very special secret, which could mean the slavation of Pern. The thing is, it all comes about because of the dragons' (and fire-lizards') ability to travel between... between places, and between times... so a temporal paradox happens that lets the last person on Pern who can help know all about what's happening to the dragons in the future.
But, the question soon becomes apparent... WAS it a paradox, or simply all part of the huge multi-dimensional fabric of 'reality' as we perceive it? Either way, it just makes things really fun to see how it all falls into place as the story progresses. With abandoned Weyrs being put to a strange but practical use, the fall of Thread threatening the very existence of all life, while the only defence, dragons, are falling ill and dying at a horrendous rate, and the interpersonal disputes of the leading lights of the story... it can get a bit much to hold on your head unless you sit down and dive in. Short reading bursts are NOT advised.
Overall, I am stunned and amazed at the level of detail in the story, and feel cheated by my own short-sightedness at not getting stuck into this series far earlier, despite the fact that I had not yet been born when the first book came out. I will be scouring the preloved book shops for the rest of the pern books, though I have always been a great fan of Anne's other storylines, such as her assorted Talent series', her Ship series, and of course her Crystal Line series. If you haven't yet experienced the joy of Anne, you should, and progress on to Todd's titles in time. He really is a worthy successor for his mother's literary legacy.
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W. Heath Robinson (1872 - 1944)