Set once again on the planet Pern, this is a new novel from the author of "The Renegades of Pern". Anne McCaffrey has also written "The Rowan" and "Pegasus in Flight".
Favorite characters from previous novels are here, Jaxom and his white dragon Ruth, Master Harper Robinthon, dragonriders Lessa, F'Lar and their son F'lessan and numerous others. We see how the people and dragons of Pern adapt to the changes in their world and rise to met the challenges these changes have brought about.
For long time fans of the series there is a fear that this is the end of the saga but it appears that there are other entries writen more recently. In any case this is a must read for any fan of the series. It is not, however, a good place to start.
I've read all the Pern books over and over since I first discovered them in eighth grade -- _Dragonquest_ was the first book I bought with my own money. In the main, I really enjoy them. Anne McCaffrey writes well and her ideas are very original, particularly in the earlier books in the series. Some of the later volumes have not thrilled me, however. _Renegades_ I found particularly unmoving, so I picked up ATW with some trepidation the first time. But this is the Dragonriders series at its best, with all the characters the reader has come to know and love facing challenges with fortitude and even humour.
I don't argue that McCaffrey is a great storyteller. She is at her best in situationally-driven stories (rather than character-driven), particularly those where her charcters are put in a new, alien and/or hostile environment where they must develop the skills to succeed in various tasks. This is part of what makes her Dragonrider series appealing to fans of straight science fiction as well as fans of fantasy. And as the basic theme of ATW, it makes for an absorbing read.
McCaffrey needs a continuity editor, however. As her world becomes more and more complex it seems she has trouble keeping track of the details. Unfortunately, I am the kind of person who is bothered by this.
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