mercredi 13 août 2014

Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey


When a fatal illness begins affecting dragons just before the latest cycle of Thread begins to fall, the young dragonrider Lorana must try to find a way to stop the disease before it decimates their ranks. When her efforts fail to bring about the necessary healing, she and her friends turn to the lyrics of an ancient song that may point to an answer five hundred years in their past, in the early years after the arrival of mankind on Pern. In those long-ago days, Wind Blossom, daughter of the woman who bred the fire-lizards ino dragons, struggles to live up to her mother’s shadow while the technology so central to their lives fails around them. These two women, separated by hundred of years, must find a way of communicating across the gulf separating them, in a race to save the entire dragon race…

In the first Pern book written exclusively by Anne McCaffrey’s son Todd, we are treated to an adventure across the ages that takes place partly in the era of the Third Fall first introduced in the McCaffreys first jointly written novel, Dragon’s Kin, and partly back in the earliest days of the Pern timeline, fifty years after the arrival of mankind on the planet. Todd McCaffrey does a great job of juggling these twin timelines, telling contained stories in both that interweave and combine in clever ways as the storylines progress. It was really nice to return back to the early days of Pern, seeing some of the characters introduced in Dragonsdawn again, and continuing the fall of the old world of technology and its influence on how society develops in its absence. At the same time, McCaffrey creates an intriguing cast of new characters (some of whom return from Dragon’s Kin in secondary roles) and a tense situation – as Fall approaches, the dragons have begun to die off. Dealing with a disease forces the new characters to struggle to find a way to heal them, using what little skills they have. The only hope seems to be a message from the past, one that is revealed slowly through the course of the book and which has a very clever resolution at the end. Todd McCaffrey does a nice job of playing with the time travelling elements and rules introduced in the earlier books, the consequences of which are central to a lot of the characters (one extremely unpleasant character in particular has a redemption thanks to these effects). The characters are classic McCaffrey – if you’re looking for complex grimdark characterisation, this is probably not the series for you. But as part of a long-running, much loved series, Dragonsblood is a fine addition and an exciting novel in its own right. I would definitely say that the Pern series is in good hands with McCaffrey’s second son at the helm.

I gave Dragonsblood 4 stars.

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