DRAGON'S CODE   Gigi McCaffrey
The Dragonriders of Pern
Del Rey of  Penguin Random House
ISBN:  978-1-101-96474-3 Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-101-964675-0 E-book
ASIN: B078VZ12C1
October 2018
Scifi/fantasy & Young Adult

The Planet Pern

Anyone who has read the Dragonriders of Pern volumes by Anne McCaffery will be glad to learn her daughter, Gigi McCaffrey, has written another story.

This volume concerns Piemur during the period after his initial book  Dragondrums  (first published in 1979 ) , with elements from the volume  The White Dragon  (first published in 1978). Piemur, a former exceptional soprano singer at Harperhall, lost his voice as he grew older. Now he is seventeen and in the Southern Continent of Pern, mapping areas for the Master Harper of Pern, Robinson. The Southern Continent is where the Oldtimers, the dragonriders from the past brought through time to fight the dangerous thread that periodically falls from the sky, relocated when their desire for their past style of living were rejected by the Dragon Weyrs of the present. Already discontented with changes in society, the Oldtimers were exiled to their present home in the Southern Continent, but they need a fertile female dragon. That lack fuels their discontent. Piemur does more than map, he secretly listens for any developing problems to report to Robinson.

In this story Piemur overhears an Oldtimer dragon rider making plans with two men Piemur suspects are from Nabol Holder in the Northern Continent who want to claim Southern land. His suspicions lead Piemur on a journey back to Harperhall and then to Nabol. He faces many trying, sometimes dangerous, situations. All the while he laments losing his glorious voice, and wonders what he will do with the rest of his life. He doesn't want to go back to Harperhall as he no longer fits in. Other characters previously associated with Piemur, including Sebell and Menoly and several dragonriders, help him on his journey of finding out who he really is and what he wants out of his life.

While you can read this novel without having read any of the previous volumes, it might be difficult. It is helpful to have read the history of this far-away planet and the tribulations the surviving population have faced. The backstories from previous volumes are intricately entwined and add nuance to the characters and the situations they find themselves in. Piemur's journey is interesting and has purpose beyond what the reader expects.

Robin Lee