Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey
The residents of the planet Pern are getting ready for the third pass of threadfall since their landing on Pern about 500 years earlier. Lorana’s family had died in the plague a few years earlier and she has been living with another family. Now she is old enough to move on with her fire lizards. She meets dragonrider J’trel through the family. He takes her around the countryside, amazed at her healing and drawing abilities. She also has the unusual knack of being able to talk to any dragon.
When an illness hits the fire lizards, then the dragons, Lorana is drawn into an unforeseen situation. Because of her abilities, she may be the only person who can save the dragons. Yet the genetic knowledge needed to cure them was lost almost 450 years earlier as the first residents of Pern die out and the technology that accompanied them wore out. Lorana needs that old knowledge. How can the past speak to and teach the present?
Anne McCaffrey has handed over the safety of her Pern storyline to her son. I believe Todd McCaffrey has taken over very nicely. He writes this novel with the full knowledge of Pern and is able to carry on his mother’s vision. He stays away from Pern of the most recent present and delves into a period of its history. He captures the flavor of the planet and its residents.
I found the characters believable and in context with the past books. The friendliness, controversies, loves, and jealousies between them are realistic. One character is unaccountably almost over the top until the full explanation is given at the end.
The timeline jumps between the beginning of third threadfall to the past after the first threadfall. For the first half of the book this was disconcerting and confusing. But again, McCaffrey brought it together until the necessity for both is seen. He has been able to keep his mother’s creation alive and turn it into his own without jarring the reader’s senses. This book is well done and worthy to be the beginning of the continuation of the Pern novels.