"Strong Pern entry"
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
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 14, 2003
Young Kindan has no expectations other than joining his
father in the mines of Camp Natalon, a coal mining
settlement struggling to turn a profit far from the great
Holds where the presence of dragons and their riders means
safety and civilization. Mining is fraught with danger.
Fortunately, the camp has a watch-wher, a creature
distantly related to dragons and uniquely suited to
specialized work in the dark, cold mineshafts. Kindan's
father is the watch-wher's handler, and his son sometimes
helps him out. But even that important job promises no
opportunity outside the mine.
Then disaster strikes. In one terrible instant, Kindan
loses his family and the camp loses its watch-wher.
are replaced by sons in the mine--except for Kindan, who
taken in by the camp's new Harper. Grieving, Kindan finds
measure of solace in a burgeoning musical talent . . . and
in a new friendship with Nuella, a mysterious girl no one
seems to know exists. It is Nuella who assists Kindan when
he is selected to hatch and train a new watch-wher, a job
that forces him to give up his dream of becoming a Harper;
and it is Nuella who helps him give new meaning to his
Meanwhile, sparked by the tragedy, long-simmering tensions
are dividing the camp. Far below the surface, a group of
resentful miners hides a deadly secret. As warring
threaten to explode, Nuella and Kindan begin to discover
unknown talents in the misunderstood watch-wher--talents
that could very well save an entire Hold. During their
teaching the watch-wher, the two learn some things
themselves: that even a seemingly impossible dream is
completely out of reach . . . and that light can be found
even in darkness.