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A new age is dawning on Pern, for since the dragons have changed the orbit of the Red Star, the horrors of Threadfall will soon be a thing of the past. But even as the dragon riders are trying to decide what their future role will be, further dangers are beginning to emerge, as those calling themselves the Abominators plot together to destroy all the learning that has been discovered from the records of the Old Ones.
Their first vicious assault is on the Healer Halls - irrevocable damage is done and it is obvious that this is a worldwide movement with a dangerous mind leading those who would destroy all of the new knowledge.
And now comes a fresh and terrible catastrophe - a large cometary fragment is hurtling towards Pern and cannot be deflected. Everyone - dragons, riders, holders and craftsmen - must stand by to perform a giant rescue operation.
As F'lessan, son of Lessa and F'lar, plays his heroic part in the events that follow, he is helped by Tai, his new weyrmate. But it is the dragons, bronze Golanth and the brilliant green Zaranth, who will provide the solution to the dangers of the skies.
Bestseller McCaffrey's first Pern novel in three years returns to the world of her most popular series, Dragonriders of Pern, reprising almost all the best-loved Pernese characters. In earlier episodes, hero and heroine F'lar and Lessa summoned the captivating dragons and their riders from the remote past to save Pern from a devastating rain of Thread, while the later discovery of Aivas, the artificial intelligence that guided Pern's original human settlers, brought technological marvels like printing to Pern and helped shift the Thread-producing Red Star from its lethal orbit before it self-destructed. Now neo-Luddite Abominators are bent on destroying all of Aivas's gifts and returning watery Pern to its primitive state, while the Dragonriders struggle to find new purpose in a Threadless world. F'lar and Lessa uneasily contemplate second careers or horrors! retirement, while their genteel and amorous son F'lessan and perceptive green rider Tai arrive at both a dragon-assisted romance and a whole new role for the telepathic and telekinetic dragons. McCaffrey's various themes traditionalism vs. technology, the necessity of societal change, feminist commentary on draconian psychology are at times awkwardly integrated. And her slightly watered-down villains seem peripheral to the action, merely a means to showcase familiar personalities performing during crises. Nonetheless, as all her Pern novels amply demonstrate, McCaffrey's sexy and cunning dragons carry the day and the novel with impeccable, irresistible panache.