Anne McCaffrey, |
(Del Rey, 1971)
Dragonquest is the second book in the Dragonriders of Pern series. Completely packed with action and intrigue, it continues the story of Lessa and F'lar in their efforts to keep Pern together during this dangerous time. We also get to know other characters more fully -- F'nor, F'lar's half brother and rider of brown Canth; Brekke, a golden queen rider; and Jaxom, now a boy and soon to be a young man. All of these people contribute to the tumultuous action of this book.
The story opens seven years after the ending of Dragonflight. The riders who came forward in time, known as Oldtimers, are finding it difficult to adjust to the idea of Pern not wholly subservient to the desires of dragonriders. This causes a great deal of stress for the Holders and Crafters, who are obligated to accept their demands and high-handed attitude. This leads to an inevitable conflict, where an Oldtimer dragonrider knifes F'nor after F'nor prevents him from taking a custom-crafted item from SmithCraft Hall.
While recuperating in the Southern Continent Weyr, F'nor meets Brekke, rider of gold Wirenth, and re-discovers the tiny fire-lizards, miniatures of regular dragons. At the same time F'lar is at Benden trying to deal with his fellow Weyrleaders, who are recalcitrant and stubborn about discussing the problems. Thread is also falling out of pattern, and this is disturbing to F'lar, especially since it seems that some of the other Oldtimers knew this and did not share this vital information.
All of this happens over a period of years, or "Turns" in Pern parlance. Jaxom grows from a boy who gets lost in the unused tunnels of Hold and Weyr, and who accidentally Impresses Ruth, an unusual small white dragon. Despite the fact that he must be Lord Holder of Ruatha, Jaxom brings Ruth home and the bonding is not broken.
I don't want to give away all of the action, but there is plenty of it, and will keep the reader enthralled. Once again, the magnificent dragons of Pern and the courageous people who love and respect them solve problems and learn more about their past and future.