The Dragonriders of Pern is an omnibus edition of the first three novels in the Pern series, including Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon.
In Dragonflight, Lessa had been the lawful heir of Ruatha Hold, but Fax has conquered this hold and four others and now Lessa is posing as a kitchen drudge. Benden Weyr has come to the High Reaches looking for candidates to impress a Queen in the next hatching. After visiting Lord Fax's Hold, Crom, and the various guild halls, they travel to the other five held by the high reaches, finally coming to Ruatha. There Lessa provides Fax with a vile experience and uses the Dragonriders to cause his downfall. Nonetheless, much to her surprise, they select Lessa to be Presented to the queen egg at the next hatching.
In Dragonquest, Lessa and F'lar are the Weyrleaders of Benden Weyr. However, the Red Star is passing, thread is falling again and the two young weyrleaders are having problems with the Oldtimers. F'nor, the brother of F'lar, has learned bits and pieces about the Red Star and is obsessed by the quest to find out more about it.
In The White Dragon, Jaxom, the son of Fax and Lady Gemma, has become Lord Holder of Ruatha after Lessa abdicated her claim. His guardian, Lytol, is a former dragonrider who has lost his dragon, so Jaxom has heard a lot about dragons and welcomes the opportunity to witness a hatching. When one of the hatchlings is undersized and cannot break out of the egg on its own, Jaxom helps a little and finds himself with a small white dragon. Seeing this, the Lord Holders have a hissy fit.
This series introduces the dragons of Pern, which have gone on to become a staple of the SF publishing industry. None of the sequels, however, quite matches these three novels and the subsequent Harper Hall trilogy.
Highly recommended to McCaffrey fans and anyone who enjoys exotic societies, intelligent animals, and political intrigue.