Anne McCaffrey, |
(Del Rey, 1968)
Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series is a classic of fantasy, bringing together dragons (favorites of fantasy readers), danger to an entire world, and characters that are both stimulating and enchanting. Pern is a well-realized world with a specialized social system of Holders (landowners), Crafters and Weyrfolk (dragonriders).
In Dragonflight, the first book in the series, it has been more than 400 years since the deadly organism known as Thread fell upon Pern. Dragonriders are reviled and seen as parasites on society -- and no one believes that Thread will return, except for F'lar, one of the few remaining dragonriders.
After 10 years of scheming and plotting, Lessa finds herself at loose ends when her hated enemy, Fax, is finally killed. She bequeaths her ancestral Hold of Ruatha to the infant Jaxom, and is whisked off to Benden Weyr by F'lar, rider of bronze dragon Mnementh, to stand as candidate for rider to the last golden queen egg. Lessa Impresses (bonds with) Ramoth when the golden dragon hatches from her egg. Ramoth is the last female dragon capable of breeding -- the last hope of the entire species.
Despite the skepticism of many Holders and even some of their fellow dragonriders, Lessa and F'lar, mobilize the entire world of Pern to stand against the mindless, destructive Thread. However, it is not until experiencing their first Threadfall that they realize how woefully unprepared the Weyr is. Despite the best efforts of everyone on Pern, and the lucky mistake that teaches dragonriders how to travel through time, there are still not enough men or dragons to protect all of Pern.
Courageously, Lessa solves an ages-old riddle and, guided by an ancient tapestry, risks herself and Ramoth in a journey to save Pern from utter destruction.
Dragonflight introduces readers to a beloved fantasy world. I re-read this series regularly -- it has become "comfort" reading for me. New readers will find themselves eager to learn more about Pern and its magnificent dragons.