Perfect for diehard fans as well as readers discovering McCaffrey for the first time, this dazzling new volume features three classic novels from the early years of Pern-Dragonsdawn, Dragonseye, and Moreta.The spectacular planet Pern seems a paradise to its new colonists-until unimaginable terror turns it into hell. Suddenly deadly spores are falling like silver threads from the sky, destroying everyone and everything they touch. Pern is in mortal danger. The only thing that can stop the Thread is the fire from Pern's flying dragons. Now, the colonists must join forces with the dragons to burn the Thread before the parasite devours any and all organic life-and turns lush Pern into a barren wasteland.On Dragonwings traces the story of the early generations on Pern. From the colonists who first created the fire-breathing dragons for protection, through the rise of the dragonriders, these three novels set readers on a daring quest to protect a beautiful and extraordinary planet.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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September 30, 2003
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Excerpt from On Dragonwings by Anne McCaffrey
CHAPTER I Probe reports coming through, sir,” Sallah Telgar announced without taking her eyes from the flickering lights on her terminal. “On the screen, please, Mister Telgar,” Admiral Paul Benden replied. Beside him, leaning against his command chair, Emily Boll kept her eyes steadily on the sunlit planet, scarcely aware of the activity around her. The Pern Colonial Expedition had reached the most exciting moment of its fifteen-year voyage: the three colony ships, the Yokohama, the Bahrain, and the Buenos Aires were finally approaching their destination. In offices below the bridge deck, specialists eagerly awaited updates on the reports of the long-dead Exploration and Evaluation team that, 200 years earlier, had recommended Rukbat’s third planet for colonization. The long journey to the Sagittarian Sector had gone without a hitch, the only excitement being the surprise when the Oort cloud encircling the Rukbat system had been sighted. That phenomenon had continued to engross some of the space and scientific personnel, but Paul Benden had lost interest when Ezra Keroon, captain of the Bahrain and the expedition’s astronomer, had assured him that the nebulous mass of deep-frozen meteorites was no more than an astronomical curiosity. They would keep an eye on it, Ezra had said, but although some comets might form and spin from its depths, he doubted that they would pose a serious threat to either the three colony ships or the planet the ships were fast approaching. After all, the Exploration and Evaluation team had not mentioned any unusual incidence of meteor strikes on the surface of Pern. “Screening probe reports, sir,” Sallah confirmed, “on two and five.” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Admiral Benden smile slightly. “This is sort of anticlimactic, isn’t it?” Paul murmured to Emily Boll as the latest reports flashed onto the screens. Arms folded across her chest, she hadn’t moved since the probes had been launched, except for an occasional twiddling of fingers along her upper arms. She lifted her right eyebrow in a cynical twitch and kept her eyes on the screen. “Oh, I don’t know. It’s one more procedure which gets us nearer to the surface. Of course,” she added dryly, “we’re sort of stuck with whatever’s reported, but I expect we can cope.” “We’ll have to, won’t we?” Paul Benden replied a trifle grimly. The trip was one-way—it had to be, considering the cost of getting over six thousand colonists and supplies to such an out-of-the-way sector of the galaxy. Once they reached Pern the fuel left in the great transport ships would be enough only to achieve and maintain a synchronous orbit above their destination while people and cargo were shuttled down to the surface. To be sure, they had homing capsules that would reach the headquarters of the Federated Sentient Planets in a mere five years, but to a retired naval tactician like Paul Benden, a fragile homing capsule did not offer much in the way of an effective backup. The Pern expedition was composed of com- mitted and resourceful people who had chosen to eschew the high-tech societies of the Federated Sentient Planets. They expected to manage on their own. And though their destination in the Rukbat system was rich enough in ores and minerals to support an agriculturally based society, it was poor enough and far enough from the center of the galaxy that it should escape the greed of the technocrats. “Only a little while longer, Paul,” Emily murmured, her voice reaching his ears alone, “and we’ll both be able to lay down the weary load.” He grinned up at her, knowing that it had b