Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)

by Anne McCaffrey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345453952
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/26/2002
Series: Dragonriders of Pern Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 15,579
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Anne McCaffrey received the 1999 Margaret A. Edwards Award, given by the American Library Association to honor authors for their lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.


From the Paperback edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Dragonflight 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 287 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!
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 $7.99 for what I could have gotten in its entirety for 9.99. Very dissapointed in Nook. Are they so hard up for money that they have to resort to falsehoods to get it?
Travis Wilks More than 1 year ago
you nneed to get the three book bundle i wasted like 20$ not getting the first three book bundle But overall great series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I 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!!
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.
ragwaine on LibraryThing 17 days ago
OK but has aged badly.
darkandlight on LibraryThing 18 days ago
Graphic novel of the book. Beautiful and Rare.
fastfinge on LibraryThing 20 days ago
This book was my introduction to pern. Honestly, it didn't do that good of a job; I doubt I will ever be back. The story wasn't captivating, the characterswere poorly developed, the dragons were developed even less, and the whole thing couldn't decide what sort of atmosphere it wanted to settle on. I'm guessingthe author intended the dragons to be wonderful and loyal companions, but for me they held a near constant air of vaguely creepy mind-controlling symbiosis.Needless to say, this broke the story for me. If what you're looking for is strong and well done companion characters, I recommend Mercedes Lacky highlyto you; she may not have been first, but she knows what to do with characters and how to develop feeling in the reader.
rosannq on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Introducing Lessa, Ruatha Hold and dragons. Pern is an escape place for me and for the'greenie' people escaping Earth, and several centuries along the people are still unmodernised. Here we find out that not all is perfect, but good does overcome in the end. Love it.
apatt on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I read a few Pern books in my teen, I thought they were readable but at the time I was not all that taken with them. At that age I was not too discerning, I cared nothing for characterization, dialogue or prose. I read only for fun and escapism, not for the artistry of the works. Well, I am way out of my teen now, and I have cultivated an appreciation finesse to compensate for my own deficiency in that department.Since her recent passing tributes have been pouring in for Anne McCaffrey from numerous quarters, including major sf/f writers including Neil Gaiman, David Brin, Lev Grossman, and Vonda McIntyre. These tributes reminded that I never really gave Anne McCaffrey's books a fair chance. Now is as good a time as any to start exploring them in earnest.When I first heard about this series decades ago the idea of fighting threads did not fill me with enthusiasm, I mean fighting threads? May as well fight balls of yarn! I thought. Ah, but then there are threads and there are Threads, these things are more menacing than I ever gave them any credit for. They are basically mindless, true, but so are zombies and the threads are even more deadly. They burn and they burrow and they are of course relentlessThis is not a YA book, it is not action packed, those looking for heart pounding scenes of dragon conflagration are not likely to be satisfied. The major strength and enduring popularity of this book - and I imagine the entire series - is the immersiveness of Pern. The slower chapters depicting day to life on Pern is what makes the world realistic, after all life is not full of nonstop action on a daily basis. The author wants you to live with her characters not go on missions with them. That said she really makes you wait for the threads to make an appearance though!This is also not a fantasy book, not in the sense that Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time are. Anne herself has always been adamant that she is a science fiction author, no disrespect to the wonderful fantasy genre of course, but she deliberately backed the Pern fantasy tropes of dragons and medieval life with science. Pern is a planet, the dragons are genetically engineered and the lack of technology is due to some event that caused a fall of technological civilization. So no magic, no elves, no unicorns and no Dark Lord with a funny name (thank gawd!). The author's meticulous attention to details is awe inspiring.Anne's prose style is - as her legions of fans would attest - is beautiful, clean, clear, concise and literary. The main characters are skillfully fleshed out, unfortunately my one complaint is that the protagonist Lessa is unrelentingly ill-tempered and willful to the point of being a pain in the posterior. I am looking forward to many more visits to Pern."That was well flown, I say. Well flown".RIP Anne.
melydia on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Lessa is a young girl who bonds with a queen dragon and joins the dragonriders to fight the Threads, a vague enemy which sounds more like a natural disaster than anything. I¿ve read a lot of fantasy in my day, but this was my first visit to Pern, and I spent much of the time wondering how in the world so many books managed to be written in this series. The characters are shallow and not especially likable, the names are all spelled with apostrophes (ugh!), the writing was awkward and flowery, and the paradoxes brought on by time travel were frankly tiresome. I guess if I had some kind of existing affinity for dragons I would have been more drawn in, but I don¿t. I sincerely doubt I¿ll be reading anything else set in Pern.
Meggle on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The first novel in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. A very enjoyable sci fi/fantasy. The world of Pern is wonderfully imagined and the story had a lot of unique elements. I have to say I've never read a book with time traveling dragons before.
Daniel.Estes on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is the first book in a hugely popular fantasy series by Anne McCaffrey, and I couldn't get into the story. The language is a little more formal than I'm used to though that may have made more sense when it was first released back in 1968. The literary appeal of dragon riding might seem overdone in today's culture of Eragon, How To Train Your Dragon and Avatar, but I suspect the concept was more original almost 50 years ago. The world building and plot are quite clever, but I'm unsure at this point whether or not to continue with the series.
DragonFreak on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The first book in the very long series couldn't be better. The author did a really good job with her opening book. The only thing I didn't like is the pace of the book was too fast. Never had that happened to me. It's just kind of wierd when in talks about a certain thing and time and the next place they are talking about something else that who knows how much time has passed. I guess that's just a writing style.
Asata on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Her early Pern books were so good--I have read them many times!
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Loved it as a teen. Found it sexist and cliche-ridden as an adult.
draigwen on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book has been a bit of a battle for me. On the one hand it's nicely written, kept my attention, and had characters that I've adored. On the other hand, it's had every feminist bone in my body (and I'm not much of a feminist, so there aren't that many) on edge. While the key character in the novel is female, and a strong character, she annoys the hell out of me. She does stupid things (that fortunately turn out for the best). And while she is quite a hero and hugely important she is, to some extent, just a sex object. It's hard to explain without giving away spoilers, which I don't want to do. It's not like she's some Xena wearing skimpy armour - she's not a sex object in that sense - but her character is necessary because females are needed to procreate, and procreation is crucial in this book.Despite this, I really did like the book. I loved some of the characters (although I could have done with more characterisation and less jumping between times and missing out character growth). The plot is simple, and the enemy unusual, and in so many ways this shouldn't work as a book. But somehow it does. I wonder how the other novels (of which there are a lot) can take this further, as this book seems to sum up the lifecycle of the whole of Pern. I'm interested to read more, however, so will probably be ordering the next book on my kindle.
earthlistener on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Dragonflight is the first book in a highly acclaimed series. It deserves its acclaimed status. Anne McCaffrey begins her series by easing the reader into the world of Pern and describing how the world of Pern works around its characters and settings. While on the surface this book may look like a fantasy novel, this series is not necessarily a fantasy or even a science fiction work. It creates its own world and does not relay on the clichés and stereotypes of novels based around dragons and other similar subjects used in these works. It is unique and original, and all around interesting story. A wonderful read.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This was the first of her Dragon books, I believe. I first read it in the early 1970's & was a favorite for years. It's a great heroic adventure in an interesting & complex world. Well written, as is typical of her work. While I've read a few other of the spin-offs, the original trilogy is my favorite & is plenty for me.
readingrat on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is the type of book that would have really appealed to me as a kid. I don't know how I could have missed it.