Synopses & Reviews
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
, 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.
"The McCaffreys' second fire-breathing collaboration (after 2003's Dragon's Kin) again proves why these fabled dragons still cast a spell. Pellar, a mute Apprentice Harper; Halla, a homeless girl; and Cristov, a miner's son, learn invaluable life lessons as the planet Pern prepares for the return of the deadly Red Star and its annihilating 'Thread,' which can only be destroyed by firestone-fueled dragonfire. But mining firestone is dangerous work, often carried out by children of disenfranchised criminals called the Shunned. Accompanied by his new fire-lizard Chitter, Pellar joins Masterharper Zist in a search for Moran, a missing Journeyman Harper who's involved with the Shunned. Pellar finds his fate intertwined with Halla, but his tangle with Tenim, a ruthless thief, almost keeps them apart. Their friend Cristov learns about the Shunned firsthand after a terrible mine explosion. Fortunately, events lead to dragon-riding wish fulfillment and a remarkable discovery. While it allegorizes the risks of mining fossil fuels and the horrors of slave labor, this coming-of-age fantasy offers suitable dragon play for all ages. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]nother successful McCaffrey mother-and-son collaboration....A number of well-limned major characters move the plot forward with the long series' expected momentum...[a] richly detailed story on a par with the rest of the Pern canon." Booklist
About the Author
Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Awardwinning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern
novels, is one of science fiction's most popular authors. With Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, she recently co-authored Changelings, Book One of The Twins of Petaybee
. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland. Visit the author's website at www.annemccaffrey.net.
Todd McCaffrey is the bestselling author of the Pern novel Dragonsblood, as well as Dragon's Kin, which he co-wrote with his mother, Anne McCaffrey. A computer engineer, he currently lives in Los Angeles. Having grown up in Ireland with the epic of the Dragonriders of Pern, he is bursting with ideas for new stories of that world, its people, and its dragons.