On Pern, a planet far from Earth, a colony was formed by a group of Earth's inhabitants intent on creating a less technological society; one that was less violent and where all would be considered equal. But just as the colony was beginning to thrive, an apparently natural phenomenon created upheaval. In order to battle this natural phenomenon, the early inhabitants modified a species native to the planet, and created dragons. Another species was created -- the watch-wher. These watch-whers were of no use in fighting the phenomenon that fell from the skies, but were found, as the generations passed, to be quite useful in mining. At least some of the miners believed they were.
Kindan, a miner's son, lives at the mines with his family and their watch-wher. He attends lessons with the other children of the mining camp, enjoying life at the camp until a mining disaster strikes. The watch-wher helps locate and save many of the miners involved before it succumbs to a deadly injury. Among the dead are all of Kindan's family. Not only is he alone, but the camp has lost it's only remaining watch-wher.
Moved into the teacher's home, Kindan begins to learn new habits and a few secrets. And, when an opportunity to receive another watch-wher arises, Kindan steps into a role he did not anticipate: the owner of a watch-wher egg.
This report prepared by Kim Paluch
Del Rey, Dec 2003, 24.95, 304 pp.
It is sixteen years until the next Pass of the Red Star and then Thread will rain down, destroying everything organic on Pern. A problem has arisen on Pern that could have serious repercussions for the next Turn if not solved now. Coal that the people depend on for a variety of tasks has played out on the surface and the people have to dig underground to find any.
Natalon has set up a promising camp that if it contains as much coal as he thinks will turn him into Lord Natalon and the camp into a designated Mine. The camp's watch-wher Dask saves many lives when the mine collapses but he and his bondmate die leaving Kindan an orphan. He is taken in by a Master Harper and he decides he wants to train in the Harper hold. However, the mines desperately need a watch-wher and Natalon asks Kindan to try an impress an egg. He succeeds with Kisk who he cares for while she is still in her egg and the two reach adulthood together, working together with a very special young woman to prepare Pern for when thread falls again.
Another piece of the puzzle that makes up Pern is solved as readers learn how humans, watch-whers and dragons become part of the fighting unit to take out thread. Kindan is a very special hero willing to give up his dreams to help the miners who need him and his special abilities. It is interesting to see how watch- whers help save miners lives because of their own unique abilities different than the dragons and their cousins the fire lizards.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner