Series: Pern #21
Published by Random House Publishing Group on November 11th 2008
Number of Pages: 538
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Time Travel
Purchase: At Amazon
The grim specter of sickness looms over the Weyrs of Pern, felling fire-lizards and posing a potentially devastating threat to their dragon cousins, Pern’s sole defense against the deadly phenomenon that is Thread. Fiona, the youngest and only surviving daughter of Lord Bemin, is just coming of age, and about to assume the duties of a Weyrwoman, when word spreads that dragons have indeed begun succumbing to the new contagion. With the next season of Threadfall quickly approaching, and the already diminished ranks of the dragons once more under siege, every Weyr across Pern is in crisis mode. It is hardly the time for disturbing distractions–such as the strange voice Fiona suddenly hears in her mind at the darkest and most urgent moments.
Circumstances and the mood of the weyrfolk worsen when advance patrols relay the dreaded news that black dust–the unmistakable herald of falling Thread–has been sighted. As more dragons sicken and die, leaving only a new generation of weyrlings too young to succeed them, Weyrleader B’Nik and queen rider Lorana arrive from Benden Weyr to comb Fort Weyr’s archives in a desperate search for clues from the past that may hold the solution to the plague.
But could the actual past itself prove the pathway to salvation for Pern’s stricken dragons and the entire imperiled planet? Guided by a mysterious ally from a wholly unexpected place, and trusting in the unique dragon gift for transcending time, Fiona will join a risky expedition with far-reaching consequences for both Pern’s future and her personal destiny.
I’ve been a longtime fan of Pern. I own every book prior to this one, and have read them many times over. This is most likely the reason I knew immediately why certain riders were tired or muddle-headed. If you are new to the series, then it will be an unexpected twist. For us oldies, we just had to wait to see when it would happen.
One thing I noticed, and is most likely just me. But a chicken dish was referenced in the book. I don’t remember chicken in earlier Pern books. Except the ones dealing with when the colonists first settled. I had thought all the chickens had perished. But I could easily be wrong about that.
I loved the personalities and interactions through the book. I quite liked Fiona, Terin and T’mar, and hope to read more of them in the future. Nuella I liked in previous books, and was glad to see again in this one. Fiona grew a lot as a character from the first pages to the last.
I liked how she dealt with the traders, how she made things come about even though she wasn’t sure that was how it happened. She made mistakes, but owned up to them and apologized. A lot happened in the book, and while most of it flowed well, there were a few spots where it wasn’t quite right. But overall, I enjoyed it.
And while most things weren’t fixed or wrapped up in this book, I hope the biggest ones will be in the next book. Usually with a book this long, I don’t get the “it’s over already??” feeling, but I totally did this time. If you like Pern, you should read this book. I’ll be getting the next one soon.