The Dragonriders of Pern learn about the special talents of the Watch-whers in this new novel by the beloved creator of the series and her son.
Bringing fresh wonders and dangers to light in the skies of Pern, Anne McCaffrey and her son, Todd, who demonstrated his writing talents in the bestselling novels Dragon's Kin and Dragonsblood, return with their second collaboration: a thrilling adventure of discovery and fate.
Pellar is an orphan taken in by Masterharper Zist. Though born mute, Pellar is a gifted tracker, and when Zist sets off to take over as harper for Natalon's coal-mining camp, Pellar-along with his fire-lizard, Chitter-joins him on a secret mission of his own: to find out if reported thefts of coal are the work of the Shunned, criminals condemned to a life of wandering and hardship.
Halla is one of the children of the Shunned. Though innocent of their parents' crimes, these children have inherited their cruel punishment. Lack of food, shelter, and clothes is their lot; hope is unknown to them. And what future would they hope for? Without a hold to call their own, there will be no protection for them when the lethal Thread inevitably falls again. Life is even tougher for Halla. Her family gone, she must fend for herself. Yet despite the brutality of her surroundings, Halla is kind and gentle, devoted to those more helpless than she.
As depraved as Halla is good, Tenim is in league with Tarik, a crooked miner from Camp Natalon, who helps him steal coal in exchange for a cut of the profit. But Tenim soon realizes there is a lot more to be made from firestone, the volatile mineral that enables the dragons of Pern to burn Thread out of the sky. Tenim doesn't care what he has to do, or whom he has to kill, in order to corner the market.
Cristov is Tarik's son. Dishonored by his father's greed and treachery, the boy must make amends somehow, even if it means risking his life by mining the volatile firestone, which detonates on contact with the slightest drop of moisture.
When the last remaining firestone mine explodes in flames, a desperate race begins to find a new deposit of the deadly but essential mineral, for without it there can be no defense against Thread. But Tenim has a murderous plan to turn tragedy to his own advantage, and only Pellar, Halla, and Cristov can stop him-and ensure that there will be a future for all on the world of the Dragonriders.
For millions of readers the world over, the name Pern is magical, conjuring up grand vistas of a distant planet whose blue skies are patrolled by brave dragons and their noble riders, a paradise threatened by the periodic fall of deadly Thread. But not all dangers descend from the skies. Now, in their third collaboration, Anne McCaffrey and her son, Todd McCaffrey, spin a tale of a mysterious illness that may succeed in doing what centuries of Threadfall could not: kill every last human on Pern.
Life in the Harper Hall is busy for best friends Kindan, Nonala, and Kelsa. As the only female apprentices, Nonala and Kelsa are the butt of jokes and easy targets for the bully Vaxoram and his cronies. But when Kindan springs to Kelsa's defense, he winds up in a fight for his life against the older, bigger Vaxoram-a fight that will lead to a surprising friendship.
Meanwhile, in nearby Fort Hold, a clutch of fire-lizard eggs is about to hatch, and Lord Bemin's beautiful young daughter, Koriana, is determined to Impress one of the delightful creatures. At the hatching, Kindan Impresses a fire-lizard of his own . . . and wins the heart of Koriana. But Lord Bemin mistrusts harpers and will not hear of a match between his daughter and the low-born Kindan.
Then fate intervenes in the form of a virulent plague as fast-spreading as it is deadly. Arising suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the contagion decimates hold after hold, paying no heed to distinctions of birth. In this feverish crucible, friendship and love will be tested to the breaking point and beyond. For with Threadfall scant years away, the Dragonriders dare not expose themselves to infection, and it will fall to Kindan and his fellow apprentices to bravely search for a cure and save humanity.
The price of failure is unthinkable. But the price of success may be even harder to bear.
For the first time in more than three years, bestselling authors Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, mother and son, have teamed up again to do what they do best: add a fresh chapter to the most beloved science fiction series of all time, the Dragonriders of Pern.
Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.
Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them--until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.
It's a plan fraught with risk, however. For attempting time travel means tampering with the natural laws of the universe, which could drastically alter history--and destiny--forever. Or so it has always been thought. But Lorana discovers that if the laws of time can't be broken without consequences, it may still be possible to bend them. To ensure the future of Pern, she's willing to take the fateful chance--even if it demands another, even greater, sacrifice.
From the "New York Times" bestselling mother-and-son team of Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey comes the final installment in the riveting Pern saga that began with Todd's solo novel, "Dragonsblood." Now, with all of Pern imperiled by the aftereffects of a plague that killed scores of dragons and left the planet helpless against the fall of deadly Thread, the only hope for the future lies in the past.
There, on an unexplored island, a group of dragonriders led by Xhinna, a brave young woman who rides the blue dragon Tazith, must battle lethal Merows and voracious tunnel-snakes to build a safe home for themselves and the dragons, whose offspring will one day--if they survive--replenish Pern's decimated dragon population. But as the first female rider of a blue dragon, and the first female Weyrleader in the history of Pern, Xhinna faces an uphill battle in winning the respect and loyalty of her peers . . . especially after an unforeseen tragedy leaves the struggling colony reeling from a shattering loss.
Amid the grieving, one girl, Jirana, blessed--or cursed--with the ability to foresee potential futures, will help Xhinna find a way forward. The answer lies in time . . . or, rather, in "timing it: " the awesome ability of the dragons to travel through time itself. But that power comes with risks, and by venturing further into the past, Xhinna may be jeopardizing the very future she has sworn to save.