Nearly 500 years have passed since humans landed on Pern, and, according to their records, another fall of deadly Thread, a lethal rain of spores from space, is only a few years away. As young Kindan struggles with his studies at Harper Hall and sets his sights on becoming harper to the dragonriders of Benden Weyr, he and his friends become aware of a mysterious and usually fatal plague infecting the holds of Pern. Despite their own vulnerability, the apprentice harpers and healers battle against time to find a cure before the sickness spreads to the dragonriders. In their third collaborative effort (after Dragon's Kinand Dragon's Fire), McCaffrey and her son Todd delve into Pern's early years as they continue the story of Kindan, whose talent with the dragon kin of Pern has brought him to the attention of holders, harpers, and dragonriders. Strong storytelling and compelling drama, along with memorable characters, make this essential for any library patronized by fans of Pern and its dragons.
This sequel to Dragon's Kinand Dragon's Fireis the third collaboration between the McCaffreys. The story finds young Kindan, an apprentice in the Harper's Guild (craftsmen in musicianship, education, and healing), coming of age and falling in puppy love. Though interested in him, Koriana is a royal-daughter to the Lord holder; as a commoner, Kindan doesn't stand a chance. In any event, the nascent romance is interrupted by an epidemic-level plague in which Kindan and his fellow apprentices frantically search through past records for clues to help with a cure, and in doing so Kindan learns that the dragonriders must not expose themselves to sickness so that they may live to fight the coming Threadfall (deadly, ticker tape-like space spores). While narrator Susan Ericksen uses her soothing voice evenly, the overall effect is as flat as it is lulling. This series has a loyal fan base, but the quality of the past few titles has reached a consistent low; this can only be recommended for large libraries where prior Pern titles returned high circulation figures.
Douglas C. Lord Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Praise for Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey
“The McCaffreys’ second fire-breathing collaboration . . . proves why these fabled dragons still cast a spell.”
“Grittier than the early parts of the series; Todd’s apparently brought a wider, more current worldview to Pern.”
–The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Superb storytelling . . . essential for Pern fans of all ages.”
–Library Journal (starred review)
“A guaranteed pleaser [in] one of SF’s most splendid and longest-lived sagas.”