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From Publishers Weekly
Beloved bestseller McCaffrey has joined forces with her son, Todd, to produce another delightful entry in the Pern series, which began with Dragonflight in 1968. The action here centers on Camp Natalon, the site of a coal mine. Now that the surface seams of coal have begun to run dry on Pern, it's imperative to start extracting coal from deep underground, despite the increased danger. Some of the miners rely on the expertise of the watch-whers, smaller versions of dragons, to help keep them safe in the mines. As Kindan, blind Nuella and master harper Zist puzzle out the lore, habits and abilities of these nocturnal creatures, they find out more about the watch-whers (and themselves) than they thought possible. Fans who have become comfortable with McCaffrey's smooth trademark style over the years will notice no seams-which bodes well for any solo novels her coauthor, the heir apparent, may contribute to the Dragonriders saga.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
The latest Pern novel is something of a family affair, with the creator of one of sf's most splendid and longest-lived sagas collaborating with her son on the latest installment. The story takes place during an unexplored period in the history of Pern, before the coming of the Thread. The watch-whers are already playing a prominent role, however, keeping watch at night at the holds and weyrs and helping in the mines. The protagonists are Kindin and Nuella, young people living in a mining camp. A cave-in wipes out Kindin's father and brothers as well as the old watch-wher, and Kindin moves in with camp Harper. There he learns the skills of being a Harper, including discretion and mediation. Eventually, he and Nuella learn the secret of how watch-whers see in the dark, and about their communication with dragons, which opens a wholly new range of capabilities for the dragon-riders. What with sound narrative technique, above-average characterization, and several of the Pern fans favorite ongoing saga themes, the new book is a guaranteed pleaser as well as a harbinger that Pern, an enduring monument for two generations of sf readers so far, will continue after its originator's departure. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The basic plot is as follows. Kindan wants to be a Harper, and has vocal and musical talent. He's about eleven or twelve when the book opens, and is kind of at loose ends; his favorite sister is marrying, his brothers are distant, and as the youngest of nine children, his father seems rather remote. Kindan does have a close friend, Zenor, who's a few months older, but that's about it.
And things are even more odd in this family than in most, because Kindan's father is bonded to a watchwher (distant cousins of both the fire lizards and the dragons), and lives different hours than most people as watchwhers are nocturnal. At any rate, Kindan doesn't realize how different his life is than most, although his friend Zenor does (and is envious of it).
And because of where he lives, Kindan gets to know more about watchwhers than most people. This might be considered an advantage by many, but not by Kindan. His heart is elsewhere.
Then disaster strikes, and most of Kindan's family gets wiped out in a mining accident. The watchwher dies helping to get the few miners who survived the accident out of the mine, and Kindan is left totally alone for the first time in his life. He has mixed feelings about this, but for the most part, those feelings are never brought to the fore.
Because of this, Kindan doesn't feel totally fleshed out as a character; he's never allowed to fully grieve. And even amidst a bunch of folks who are also grieving, I doubt Kindan -- or any child, no matter how mature -- would be as matter of fact about losing all his family.Read more ›
In this novel, Kindan is the youngest child of Master Miner Danil. His sister Silstra is betrothed to Journeyman Smith Terregar. So he is very excited when his friend Zenor shouts that the caravan carrying the Smith is within sight of the watch station on the heights. Running and even bouncing up the hill, Kindan arrives breathlessly to see the large drays and brightly painted wagons of the traders. He convinces Zenor to run the news back to Natalon.
When Zenor interrupts a discussion to tell the chief miner the news, Natalon's Uncle Tarik carps about his style of reporting; Uncle Tarik complains about a lot of things and obviously feels that he should have been selected as chief miner. Zenor is then sent to inform the rest of the Camp. On the way, he is called aside by his friend Nuella, Natalon's daughter whose presence is being kept secret from the rest of the camp; Natalon is afraid that her blindness is genetic and knowledge of it could damage the marital chances of his other children. Zenor is the only one outside her immediate family who knows Nuella is there.
Terregar is not the only person to arrive with the trader caravan; Master Harper Zist has come to replace Journeyman Harper Jofri. Master Zist has formerly been the Vocals Master at Harper Hall, but a tragedy in his family has led to him leaving the Hall.Read more ›
Todd has 'grown up in PERN'; so readers can be confident that there is no variation in this newest PERN tale. The tone and complexity of the story is sure to delight McCaffrey fans and encourage thoughts of more adventures on the planet PERN.
Blurb and other editorials give a summary; so what more can I say? Teenaged Kindan, blind Nuella and Master-Harper Zist work together and learn the forgotten secrets of how the nocturnal watch-wher see in the dark and their ability to communicate with dragons. This reveals many new possibilities for the dragon-riders and watch-wher. Another cave-in at Natalon's mine leads to a future that both Kindan and Nuella never expected.
Mama McCaffrey shared her writing talent & inspiration with her son and they chose to continue to give us reader's a fantasy world to remember. Such a legacy is impressive; such skill is appreciated. Thank you Anne and Todd for continuing to 'share the dream' of PERN.
The story is set in the Natalon mining camp, and this is one of the first times weï¿½ve had a look at the miners. This is the story of Kindan, a twelve year old boy who seemed older when I read the book. Kindan does not expect anything more out of his life than to follow his father into the mines when he is old enough. All of this changes when there is an accident at the mine and Kindanï¿½s father and brothers are all killed. He is left an orphan and he is taken in by the Masterharper, Zist.
What the title of this book refers to is the watch whers (they appear in several of the Pern novels). The watch whers are dragon like, though smaller and nocturnal, and are used typically as a nighttime guard or as the first warning if anything is going wrong. They are kin to dragons (hence the title) from when humans first settled on Pern. Watch whers play a prominent role in this book (though, the watch wher egg does not appear until close to half way through the book).
At times, ï¿½Dragonï¿½s Kinï¿½ did not feel like a Pern novel.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I hope Todd continues with the Pern story. As much as I loved the original stories, I was sad when they ended. It was like losing friends. ThanksPublished on Aug. 21 2013 by Terry-Anne Cohen
Wonderful writing. I couldn't put it down and can hardly wait toread the next book.Published on May 25 2010 by B. Wallis
I have loved all of Anne's books, all the different series. I hope she keeps writing. I am not sure how much of this book is Anne's and how much is Todd's but I enjoyed it and... Read morePublished on May 12 2004 by Larie D. Manning
This felt like a short story that they tried to stretch to a full novel (less than 300 pages). Really fluffy, nothing story and seem like a very rushed ending. Read morePublished on April 23 2004 by Craig Bonvechio
This was an exceptionally lame offering, not up to the usual standards of a McCaffrey story. The plot has great gaping holes, and the writing in general makes it much harder to... Read morePublished on April 22 2004
I was really disappointed in this book. Unlike the other books in the Pern series, this book was written through perspective of children and seemingly for children. Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Helen Woods
I love Pern so the newest novel was an instant purchase. The problem with this novel is that nothing happening until the last chapters when a egg is obtained, hatched, grown,... Read morePublished on March 10 2004