“[McCaffrey is the] master of the well-told tale.”—Chicago Sun-Times
As long as the people of Pern could remember, the Holds had protected them from Thread, the deadly silver strands that fell from the sky. In exchange for sanctuary in the huge stone fortresses, the people tithed to their Lord Holders, who in turn supported the dragonriders, Pern’s greatest weapon against Thread. But not everyone on Pern was protected. Some, like Jayge’s trader clan, simply preferred the freedom of the roads to the security of a hold. Others, like Aramina’s family, had lost their homes. Regardless of their differences, however, they all feared the outlaws who preyed on holds and holdless alike.
The Lady Thella’s renegades are the most dangerous yet—all they need is Aramina, whose telepathic link with dragons can help them evade the dragonrider patrols. But Jayge is out to stop Thella . . .and he will never let her have Aramina.
While recent tales of Pern have dealt with early eras on that turbulent planet, this one begins during the time of Dragonquest and continues beyond the closing of The White Dragon , focusing on some of the commoners, and how they cope with the return of the life-consuming Thread. A number of lives intertwine, such as that of the trader boy Jayge Lilcamp, whose family is almost destroyed when his father refuses to believe the first Thread warning. Jayge runs afoul of Thella, sister of the Telgar Hold lord but a malcontent and leader of renegades, when she tries to kidnap the refugee girl Aramina, who can hear all dragons. Meanwhile, in the South, the young harper Piemur finds his destiny, and Toric, the first Holder there, schemes for supremacy. McCaffrey paints her colorful world on a still larger canvas, maintaining the complex plots and strong characterization that permeate her work. Timed to coincide with the publication of this book is an illustrated nonfiction companion book, The Drag on lover's Guide to Pern by Jody Lynn Nye with McCaffrey. The large-format volume gathers together much known and some new information about Pern and its history. Major ad/promo; author tour . ( Nov. )