Dragon’s Kin by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey
Welcome to Pern. Pern is a planet that is agricultural without much technology. Every two hundred years its orbit takes it near another planet in its solar system. While the two of them are in proximity, Thread is attracted from the other planet and falls on Pern. Thread eats anything organic it touches. The people on Pern have flying dragons that mind meld with their riders. These dragon/rider teams destroy Thread with fire before it hits the ground.
The majestic dragons have relatives on Pern. One of the creatures that are related are the watch-whers. Kindon lives with his father and brothers at the new coal mine Master Natalon is establishing. His father has the only watch-wher at the mine. Dask, like all watch-whers, is nocturnal. He can see better in the dark than daylight. He is a perfect assistant in the mine.
After a mine collapse, Kindon’s life is completely changed. He gets involved with the politics and secrets of the camp. He discovers the girl who has been hiding in the camp since Natalon started it six months earlier. He learns he has to choose between his dream and his duty. Plus, his own newwatch-wher could save the mining camp.
Anne McCaffrey has co-authored many science fiction novels. This, though, is the first Pern novel that also has another author. Her son, Todd, shares the credits for this delightful addition to the world of Pern. Dragon’s Kin is a single layer story, easy, fun reading. It takes place earlier in the history of Pern, centuries before the Dragonflight. The story is fairly predictable, with a good twist at the end. Dragon’s Kin is not on the writing level of Dragonflight or Masterharper of Pern, but is still an enjoyable tale. If Todd is taking over for his mother as Ms. McCaffrey gets older, I hope to see the deeper stories return. In the meantime, this is a good start for him.