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    Review of DRAGONSBLOOD by Todd McCaffrey


    Del Rey, January 2005

    Talented artist and healer Lorana thinks it strange when a dragon begins to cough--dragons simply don't get sick. When her fire-lizards come down with the same symptoms, it goes beyond strange. The dragons are the first line of the planet's defense against the life-destroying threads from the red star. As disease spreads among the dragons just as the thread begins to fall, things look grim for the future of the planet.

    Fortunately for Lorana and the people of Pern, the biologists and ecologists who first colonized Pern and created the dragons had contemplated the possibility of disease. When one of Lorana's fire-dragons goes back across time to these ancestors, they realize they must find some way to send a message across time to their future--to save the planet.

    Author Todd McCaffrey follows in his mother's footsteps in writing of the Dragonriders of Pern. In fact, many elements of DRAGONSBLOOD are painfully familiar--the bitchy senior Queen-rider, the use of sudden 'discovery' of timing to increase effective dragon-power at key moments, the notion of a solution encrypted in an ancient Harper song. What are missing from DRAGONSBLOOD are the truly fascinating characters that Anne McCaffrey developed--and that made the original Dragonrider series so powerful.

    Todd McCaffrey does attempt to address some of the mysteries and open ends of the earlier novels in the series--the origin of the dragonrider who ended up lost in stones after being caught 'between' and possibly the absence of fire-lizards from the early books in the series when they had been known earlier, for example. I do, however, have to question how the use of 'timing' could possibly have been lost if it was so widely known during the time of this story. Surely it was too important an element of the dragonrider arsenal to be simply forgotten. Also, the connection between Lorana and the ancestral scientists seemed to rely too much on coincidence.

    DRAGONSBLOOD has plenty of action, conflict, and cute fire-lizards. This is far from the strongest book in the series (start with the first six which are all excellent). But fans of the Dragonriders, like myself, will be happy to see that McCaffrey's tradition is being continued across the generations.

    See also books by Anne McCaffrey.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 3/18/05

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