As long as the people of Pern could remember, dragons had fought Thread and kept people alive. Everyone lived in strong stone fortresses or caves because Thread wouldn't eat through stone. However, it had been hundreds of years since Thread had fallen on Pern and there were many who did not like to live behind stone walls, beholden to the Lord of the area and forced into careers that they did not want. Some, like Jayge Lilcamp's clan were traders. They traversed the length and breadth of Pern, bartering and taking messages to other holds. They were always welcome at holds, especially ones that were out of the way. However, when they ignored the warning that Thread was once again falling on Pern, his trader caravan was decimated. Instead of being independent, they were now forced to accept whatever charity they could from the last hold the visited. Jayge couldn't bear it and set out on his own.
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Thella, sister of Telgar Hold's Lord, was bitter that she had not even been given the chance to become a Lady Holder. She knew that she could do a better job than her brother. Since she was passed by, she found her own hold and gathered together as many Holdless men as she could. Then she set about robbing and plotting her revenge. The only thing that was holding her back was the dragonriders because she could not risk being seen and tracked adragonback. She found the solution to her problem in Aramina (seen in The Girl Who Heard Dragons short story), who could hear all dragons. But Aramina escaped from her and was safely ensconced at Benden Hold. However, Thella was not about to give up so easily...
The Renegades of Pern is, like Nerilka's story, a retelling of familiar events from unfamiliar points of view. I highly recommend reading Dragonquest, The White Dragon, and The Girl Who Heard Dragons before reading this one because it will make a lot more sense than reading this one first. It was interesting because all of the other books in the Pern series have been about someone who has a definite place in life on Pern: holder, dragonrider, harper, etc., but Jayge did not. He could do a little bit of everything and was very resourceful. I enjoyed hearing how Aramina made out in the end, even though I was very surprised at what ended up happening. Although Jayge, Aramina, and Thella were what I would call the "main" characters, there was also quite a bit about Piemur and Toric, Holder of the Southern Continent, and the explorations and events taking place in at Southern, which was interesting. My main complaint with the book was the huge number of multiple viewpoints. It really made the book choppy and I know that I really wanted to find out what happened to a certain character and then was suddenly switched to someone else, which is kind of frustrating. Still, The Renegades of Pern is very informative and it was interesting to see things from a very different point of view. Recommended for readers of the Pern series - if you are new to the series, this is NOT the book to start with!