Anne McCaffrey,
The White Dragon
(Del Rey, 1978)

The White Dragon continues the Dragonriders of Pern series by focusing on Jaxom, the young Lord of Ruatha Hold. Ruth is a very special dragon, despite being white and small when only large dragons are considered necessary. However, Jaxom is the only one who realizes just how special Ruth is.

The story opens as Jaxom is finally allowed to ride upon Ruth. The delay was due to the Weyrleaders Lessa and F'lar, who wanted to be certain Ruth had reached full growth. Once able to fly with Ruth, Jaxom embarks upon adventures that any young man would relish.

The Oldtimers, banished to the Southern Continent, break their exile by sneaking into Benden Weyr and stealing the queen dragon egg. Their desperation causes a rift, which could destroy Pern -- dragon fighting dragon! However, the egg is returned safely, though no one is certain who brought it back to the hatching ground.

Jaxom and Ruth together learn the main lessons of being dragon and rider -- how to chew firestone for flame, and how to move between, a special ability of the dragons. Jaxom also learns how to take care of Ruatha Hold, and studies at Harper Hall with other young people of Pern. There, he learns that MasterHarper Robinton has been to the forbidden Southern Continent and pays a visit to the beautiful cove and volcanoes.

After fighting his first Threadfall on Ruth, Jaxom decides to visit the Southern cove to clean himself and Ruth after the flight. Unfortunately, Jaxom falls extremely ill with a disease peculiar to the Southern Continent. Only the bond with Ruth keeps him from dying. The interesting after-effects of his illness include intense dreams, dreams that lead Jaxom and Ruth to discover evidence of their mysterious ancestors!

This concluding volume of the original Pern series leaves opening for the later volumes and helps the reader to get to know many of the characters better. It is an exciting story in and of itself, as well as concluding the trilogy. Afterwards, you too will yearn to ride dragons!

- Rambles
written by Beth Derochea
published 26 April 2003

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