Bringing fresh wonders and dangers to light in the skies of Pern, Anne McCaffrey and her son, Todd, who demonstrated his writing talents in the bestselling novels Dragon’s Kin and Dragonsblood, return with their second collaboration: a thrilling adventure of discovery and fate.
Pellar is an orphan taken in by Masterharper Zist. Though born mute, Pellar is a gifted tracker, and when Zist sets off to take over as harper for Natalon’s coal-mining camp, Pellar–along with his fire-lizard, Chitter–joins him on a secret mission of his own: to find out if reported thefts of coal are the work of the Shunned, criminals condemned to a life of wandering and hardship.
Halla is one of the children of the Shunned. Though innocent of their parents’ crimes, these children have inherited their cruel punishment. Lack of food, shelter, and clothes is their lot; hope is unknown to them. And what future would they hope for? Without a hold to call their own, there will be no protection for them when the lethal Thread inevitably falls again. Life is even tougher for Halla. Her family gone, she must fend for herself. Yet despite the brutality of her surroundings, Halla is kind and gentle, devoted to those more helpless than she.
As depraved as Halla is good, Tenim is in league with Tarik, a crooked miner from Camp Natalon, who helps him steal coal in exchange for a cut of the profit. But Tenim soon realizes there is a lot more to be made from firestone, the volatile mineral that enables the dragons of Pern to burn Thread out of the sky. Tenim doesn’t care what he has to do, or whom he has to kill, in order to corner the market.
Cristov is Tarik’s son. Dishonored by his father’s greed and treachery, the boy must make amends somehow, even if it means risking his life by mining the volatile firestone, which detonates on contact with the slightest drop of moisture.
When the last remaining firestone mine explodes in flames, a desperate race begins to find a new deposit of the deadly but essential mineral, for without it there can be no defense against Thread. But Tenim has a murderous plan to turn tragedy to his own advantage, and only Pellar, Halla, and Cristov can stop him–and ensure that there will be a future for all on the world of the Dragonriders.
From the Hardcover edition.
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July 10, 2006
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Excerpt from Dragon's Fire by Anne McCaffrey
Sent from hold, sent from craft,
Whether old, whether daft.
Shunned for good into the wild '
Father, mother, baby child.
Harper Hall, Second Interval, After Landing (AL) 490.3
He ' s still waving, isn't he' Master Zist called back for the third time. He sat at the front of the wagon as it slowly drew away from the Harper Hall. The last of the winter snow covered the fields on either side of the track. Every now and then the wagon skidded as the workbeast lost his footing on the hard-packed icy snow and struggled to regain it.
'Yes, he is, 'Cayla agreed, looking back out of the brightly painted wagon at the small figure slowly diminishing in the distance.
' We couldn't bring him, ' Zist said regretfully. 'He'd be too obvious.'
At least, Zist thought to himself, the lad was taking it better than he had when they ' d first told him their plans.
Pellar had thrown a silent tantrum, had sprawled on the ground in the Harper Hall ' s courtyard, feet and fists hitting the ground in his outrage. He stopped only when Carissa had started howling in sympathy with him.
' She ' s crying for me, isn ' t she ' he scrawled quickly on the slate that was never far from his hands.
' Yes, I suppose she is, ' Cayla answered.
Pellar swiftly rubbed his slate clean and scrawled a new comment on it, thrusting it under Zist ' s eyes. ' Are you taking her '
'We have to, she's still nursing.'
'We want to know that you're safe, here, 'Cayla added.
'Aren't I part of your family' Pellar scrawled in response, tears streaming down his face.
'Of course you are!' Zist declared vociferously. 'And we need you, as a member of our family, to stay here out of trouble.'
'You are always part of our family, Pellar,' Cayla said firmly.
'You've been part of our family since we first found you, ten Turns ago,' Zist told him.