Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)

4.5 266
by Anne McCaffrey

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To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she…  See more details below



To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Gale Research
A planet protected from deadly spores by fire-breathing dragons and their human partners, Pern is a former colony of Earth which has lost much of its knowledge of science and history. In such novels as Dragonflight, Dragonquest: Being the Further Adventures of the Dragonriders of Pern, and The White Dragon, McCaffrey presents Pern as a land in which "social structure, tensions, legends, and traditions are all based on the fundamental ecological battle [against the `Thread' spores] and on the empathetic kinship between dragon and rider," Debra Rae Cohen comments inCrawdaddy.
Library Journal
The planet Pern has been colonized for centuries by humans. When humans first settled on this world, they did not take notice of its sister planet, which had an indigenous life form that attempted to land on Pern when it came within reach. These silver ``threads'' fell in a destructive wave on the temperate lands of Pern once every 200 years, destroying all life they encountered. To combat this menace, the inhabitants of Pern developed a species of dragon that could burn these threads out of the sky before they touched down. Now, centuries have passed between threadfalls, and the danger of thread is considered a myth. However, a dragon rider named F'lar knows that the riders are once again needed. This fine production is recommended wherever McCaffrey ( Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern , Audio Reviews, LJ 9/15/93) is popular.-- Roxanna Herrick, Washington Univ. Lib., St. Louis

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Dragonriders of Pern Series , #1
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Random House
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File size:
4 MB

Read an Excerpt

Lessa woke, cold. Cold with more than the chill of the everlastingly clammy stone walls. Cold with the prescience of a danger stronger than the one ten full Turns ago that had then sent her, whimpering with terror, to hide in the watch-wher’s odorous lair.

Rigid with concentration, Lessa lay in the straw of the re- dolent cheeseroom she shared as sleeping quarters with the other kitchen drudges. There was an urgency in the omi- nous portent unlike any other forewarning. She touched the awareness of the watch-wher, slithering on its rounds in the courtyard. It circled at the choke limit of its chain. It was restless, but oblivious to anything unusual in the predawn darkness.

Lessa curled into a tight knot of bones, hugging herself to ease the strain across her tense shoulders. Then, forcing herself to relax, muscle by muscle, joint by joint, she tried to feel what subtle menace it might be that could rouse her, yet not distress the sensitive watch-wher.

The danger was definitely not within the walls of Ruath Hold. Nor approaching the paved perimeter without the Hold where relentless grass had forced new growth through the ancient mortar, green witness to the deterioration of the once stone-clean Hold. The danger was not advancing up the now little-used causeway from the valley, nor lurking in the craftsmen’s stony holdings at the foot of the Hold’s cliff. It did not scent the wind that blew from Tillek’s cold shores. But still it twanged sharply through her senses, vibrating every nerve in Lessa’s slender frame. Fully roused, she sought to identify it before the prescient mood dis- solved. She cast outward, toward the Pass, farther than she had ever pressed. Whatever threatened was not in Rua- tha . . . yet. Nor did it have a familiar flavor. It was not, then, Fax.

Lessa had been cautiously pleased that Fax had not shown himself at Ruath Hold in three full Turns. The apathy of the craftsmen, the decaying farmholds, even the green-etched stones of the Hold infuriated Fax, self-styled Lord of the High Reaches, to the point where he preferred to forget the reason he had subjugated the once proud and profit- able Hold.

Relentlessly compelled to identify this oppressing menace, Lessa groped in the straw for her sandals. She rose, mechanically brushing straw from matted hair, which she then twisted quickly into a rude knot at her neck.

She picked her way among the sleeping drudges, huddled together for warmth, and glided up the worn steps to the kitchen proper. The cook and his assistant lay on the long table be- fore the great hearth, wide backs to the warmth of the banked fire, discordantly snoring. Lessa slipped across the cavern- ous kitchen to the stable-yard door. She opened the door just enough to permit her slight body to pass. The cobbles of the yard were icy through the thin soles of her sandals, and she shivered as the predawn air penetrated her patched garment.

The watch-wher slithered across the yard to greet her, pleading, as it always did, for release. Comfortingly, she fondled the creases of the sharp-tipped ears as it matched her stride. Glancing fondly down at the awesome head, she promised it a good rub presently. It crouched, groaning, at the end of its chain as she continued to the grooved steps that led to the rampart over the Hold’s massive gate. Atop the tower, Lessa stared toward the east where the stony breasts of the Pass rose in black relief against the gathering day.

Indecisively she swung to her left, for the sense of danger issued from that direction as well. She glanced upward, her eyes drawn to the red star that had recently begun to domi- nate the dawn sky. As she stared, the star radiated a final ruby pulsation before its magnificence was lost in the brightness of Pern’s rising sun. Incoherent fragments of tales and ballads about the dawn appearance of the red star flashed through her mind, too quickly to make sense. Moreover, her instinct told her that, though danger might come from the northeast, too, there was a greater peril to contend with from due east. Straining her eyes as if vision would bridge the gap between peril and person, she stared intently eastward. The watch-wher’s thin, whistled question reached her just as the prescience waned.

Lessa sighed. She had found no answer in the dawn, only discrepant portents. She must wait. The warning had come and she had accepted it. She was used to waiting. Perversity, endurance, and guile were her other weapons, loaded with the inexhaustible patience of vengeful dedication.

Dawnlight illumined the tumbled landscape, the unplowed fields in the valley below. Dawnlight fell on twisted orchards, where the sparse herds of milchbeasts hunted stray blades of spring grass. Grass in Ruatha, Lessa mused, grew where it should not, died where it should flourish. Lessa could hardly remember now how Ruatha Valley had once looked, sweetly happy, amply productive. Before Fax came. An odd brooding smile curved lips unused to such exercise. Fax realized no profit from his conquest of Ruatha . . . nor would he while she, Lessa, lived. And he had not the slightest suspicion of the source of this undoing.

Or had he, Lessa wondered, her mind still reverberating from the savage prescience of danger. West lay Fax’s ancestral and only legitimate Hold. Northeast lay little but bare and stony mountains and the Weyr that protected Pern.

Lessa stretched, arching her back, inhaling the sweet, untainted wind of morning.

A cock crowed in the stable yard. Lessa whirled, her face alert, eyes darting around the outer Hold lest she be observed in such an uncharacteristic pose. She unbound her hair, let- ting the rank mass fall about her face concealingly. Her body drooped into the sloppy posture she affected. Quickly she thudded down the stairs, crossing to the watch-wher. It cried piteously, its great eyes blinking against the growing daylight. Oblivious to the stench of its rank breath, she hugged the scaly head to her, scratching its ears and eye ridges. The watch-wher was ecstatic with pleasure, its long body trembling, its clipped wings rustling. It alone knew who she was or cared. And it was the only creature in all Pern she had trusted since the dawn she had blindly sought refuge in its dark, stinking lair to es- cape the thirsty swords that had drunk so deeply of Ruathan blood.

Slowly she rose, cautioning it to remember to be as vicious to her as to all, should anyone be near. It promised to obey her, swaying back and forth to emphasize its reluctance.

The first rays of the sun glanced over the Hold’s outer wall, and, crying out, the watch-wher darted into its dark nest. Lessa crept swiftly back to the kitchen and into the cheeseroom.

From the Paperback edition.

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Dragonflight 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 256 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The description for this book says it has the fitst three books and it is only the first!!!!!! I just got suckered into buying this one book for 7.99 when you can get all three for 9.99. So angry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overview says "here are the first three books..." but this is just the first! I thought it was a bundle deal. Good series, misleading description.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon this book way back in the 1980's... I have been an avid reader of this series ever since then....This collection of books is astounding ...Ms. McCaffrey never fails to enthrall me and take me to the world of those wonderful dragons and their riders! Since a child I have always thought that if dragons ever truly existed~~~ then I wanted one for a friend....she made it possible! Thank you Ms. McCaffrey!
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
Almost everyone knows about Pern, even those who aren't generally interested in fantasy or science fiction novels. I'm surprised that no one has tried to take this series and make it into a movie. At the very least, a Sci-Fi channel original series or an anime treatment of it is due. I've included this as part of the classics because I believe that McCaffrey's ability to create a world and tell a story with lots of layers of conflict is far above and beyond that of most fantasy and science fiction writers. She doesn't just rely on the fantasy and tension of the storyline as a crutch, but creates realistic characters who are fighting real battles, whether that be against the threads, other people, or even time itself. She's also so intricately created the politics of Pern that it seems like a real place. A quick warning, though, there are elements of sexuality and murder throughout the text, so it may skew a little higher in age. I recommend this book to readers 14+. -Lindsey Miller, lindseyslibrary.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
Although McCaffrey's writing style is a bit difficult to pick up on, once you have the flow of the book it becomes a captivating read. She has some pretty unique ideas and settings that make this book interesting. I particularly liked the fact that dragon characters play quite a big role in this story. If you love fantasy, "Dragonflight" is a classic that I think you'll enjoy.
If you like "Dragonflight", I daresay you might enjoy "Joust" by Lackey and "Dragon Champion" by Knight even better!
Travis Wilks More than 1 year ago
you nneed to get the three book bundle i wasted like 20$ not getting the first three book bundle But overall great series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't belive that only one other person commented on the fact that this book is advertized as the first three books, Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and the White Dragon. It had parts of the first two books but nothing of The White Dragon. I paid $7.99 for what I could have gotten in its entirety for 9.99. Very dissapointed in Nook. Are they so hard up for money that they have to resort to falsehoods to get it?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book! Please read this. In the story, Lessa is a kitchen drudge, kicked about and punched by the betrayer of her dead father. But soon, F'lar, the dragonrider of Benden Weyr, comes to search for a suitible Werywoman. He finds Lessa, and rescues her. He flies off with her, and invites her to the Hatching in hopes of her immpressing a baby dragon. Well, you have to read the story! I thoguht that this was an exciting, thrilling novel that was Anne McCaffrey's best. It is creased because I read it so much! This book was fantastic, and I will read this book over and over and over again. Please give this book a try. You will not regret it!
Time_Stand_Still More than 1 year ago
I read as a suggested book of the month. It was slow to start with. I kept getting hung up on the dragonrider's names and how they would be said aloud. The version I have has great illistrations. I wish I could get the rest of the books with Tony's drawings. Once I got past almost halfway the story really drew me in. By the end I was thoroughly entertained. I will read the next one when I find the copy I want to own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this series because it stated it had the first 3 books. What a dissappointment when i went to read the final book "The White Dragon" and it wasn't there. I'm not even sure the second book is there, it didn't look like it. But then it has been a while since i read the paper versions. Totally disappointed!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this 20+ years when my dad got me a paperback box set as he thought I should have strong female role models. I have read this and the other books in the series many multiple times - Pern is a wonderful world to escape to. One part that i have found so far that is missing is an important quote from C'gan when he returns from aking the firestone. I was reading along & went wait he says something! This is why i prefer the paper version. I hope the rest of the book & the rest of the books don't have this problem. But it is nice to have them all in one place in my nook. I do see how people might complain about te description - nook & B&N need to fix that.
ssakuras More than 1 year ago
So this book costs more than the paperbook, but I still bought it because I don't have anymore shelving space. The book itself is wonderful! I love reading it! However... the formatting of this book is quite atrocious. It isn't the worst I've seen, but it is bad. There are hardly any periods, so I have to judge the beginning of new sentences based on the capital letters. There are randomly commas in spots that they obviously shouldn't be. I am getting highly agitated in buying ebooks and having the formatting being off. ALMOST EVERY TIME! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series iis amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you arent into it try re starting it i had to and i love books example i haave read harry potter 3 times so try it again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great easy reading, not to heavy or time comsuming. i posted on this series second book, dragon quest, as well some great authors ive really enjoyed in the fantasy genre. i always enjoy new book tips ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent series that has stood the test of time. I read it and loved it as a kid & still do now that I'm rereading it. The story & world-building is great. McCaffrey's writing is also unique & enjoyable once you get used to it (which doesn't take long :D)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though this story has been out for many years, I never picked it. So having nothing new to read, I selected Dragon Flight on a whim and am glad I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love dragons, this is the book/series/author to start with! Anne McCaffrey is like no other, but you can see her influence in many other fantasy writers-specifically those who focus on dragons. Loved this series, wished it would go on forever, but when I discovered many of her other trilogies and books tied in or were from the same time as the others, just from a different perspective, I loved them even more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Anne McCaffrey's books since the 1970's and love most of her worlds but Pern is the best. I've been dreaming of visiting the planet ever since! How I would love to be a dragon rider! I would recommend this series to anyone.