Top positive review
One of Pern's Greatest Heroines!
on June 17, 2003
Moreta is Weyrwoman at Fort Weyr with Sh'gall as Weyrleader. Moreta loves Orlith, her dragon queen, and would do anything for her, but she does wish that someone else had flown her during her mating flight. Sh'gall is a very able weyrleader in the air when fighting thread, but he does not do as well with people. Moreta is sure that they will go together to the Ruatha Gather, after all it is Lord Alessan's first gather as a Lord Holder and everyone will be there. However, Sh'gall decides to go to the Telgar Gather and to see the strange cat that was captured in the ocean and put on display there. Desdra, Moreta's anxious housekeeper insists that Moreta cannot go without Sh'gall and that it is a terrible slight to her mistress, but Moreta wouldn't miss a good gather for the world!
Moreta has a wonderful time at the gather with Lord Alessan. They are both avid racers and enjoy watching the runnerbeasts compete. When one of the runnerbeasts suddenly collapses, no one is sure what is wrong with the beast, but the fun of the gather continues. Moreta lingers at Ruatha Hold, but is finally forced to leave. She is awoken in the early morning hours by a frantic Sh'gall claiming that Masterhealer Capiam has diagnosed a plague that the wild cat brought over with it from the Southern Continent. All of Pern is in a panic as news of the unknown illness spreads.
All too soon there is no hold or weyr that is untouched by the unknown ailment. But Moreta is a healer and she is determined to help in whatever way she can. She continues to urge the dragonriders to take care and helps unite multiple weyrs to fly thread together, as well as help care for the sick and wounded. When Masterhealer Capiam finds a cure, Moreta is thrilled and ready to do whatever is necessary to give the vaccination to everyone on Pern before a second wave of the mutated virus spreads more death. She cannot understand why some weyrleaders simply refuse to see the truth and will not help take the medicine to the far-reaching holds. Moreta cannot bear to see people die unnecessarily so she secretly arranges for dragonriders from all the Weyrs to help. When part of her plan falls through, Moreta has no choice but to go and help deliver the vaccination herself. But she cannot rider her beloved Orlith because she is guarding her clutch. When she borrows her mentor's queen Holth, the tragedy begins...
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I first heard of Moreta's Ride in Dragonsinger when Menolly leads the ballad with her fire lizards. I knew that this book was going to have a bittersweet ending, but I love the Pern series so I thought that I would give it a try. I thought that Moreta was a great character - strong, but not overpowering. She tried to make the best of her situation and found joy and love in unlikely places. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Moreta and Alessan, but I felt so sorry for Alessan for having to deal with so much tragedy and so many bitter disappointments when he was so young. I also enjoyed seeing the inner workings of a Weyr and becoming familiar with a Weyr other than Benden (much as I love it, of course). I thought that all of the secondary characters were wonderful, too. It was interesting to see how quickly knowledge was lost from when the first settlers arrived on Pern to the time of Moreta. I believe that the sickness was something like pneumonia or some other viral disease that few people die of on Earth, but they simply did not know how to combat any unfamiliar disease on Pern. The plot was very interesting and had a nice, smooth flow as always. Another wonderful addition to the Pern series!