Dragonflight: Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffreyis the first in the classic series It takes place on a planet called Pern, a human inhabited planet with minimal technology.
The population domesticates the local flying, fire breathing lizards, performs some genetic modifications and nicknames them dragons, based on the mythology of Earth. Together with the dragons, they fight the Thread that threatens to destroy everything.
After a lapse in attacks from the Thread, the dragon riders stop receiving support from the population and are dangerously close to extinction. This book tells the story of Lessa. She survives a ruthless attack on her family, leaving her alive only because she pretended to be a servant.
Despite being the only remaining member of her family, she chooses to step down from her position and to accept the opportunity to bond with the Queen dragon. In doing this,she become the Weyrwoman, or co-leader, of the only remaining active Weyr.
The bond between Rider and dragon goes beyond mere affection. The two are linked telepathically and empathically. When the male dragons race each other to reach the Queen dragon and mate with her, their human partners experience the euphoria of the race as well.
Eventually, when the dragons consummate their relationship,so do their human counterparts. Lessa and her partner attempt to warn Pern of the reappearance of Thread, but are met with disbelief, as centuries have passed since the last attack.
Knowing that one Weyr alone isn’t enough to protect the whole planet, the riders travel back to the past to retrieve the missing five Weyrs and to permit a second Queen dragon to have time to come to maturity and raise babies of her own.
I first read this book back in the 80′s when my friends and I read science fiction and thought very highly of ourselves for it. Since then, I’ve come back to read this series many times. It’s what my husband and I call “fluffy”, not something that requires too much concentration to read, but is always entertaining.
Dick Hill does a very good job narrating but seems to struggle with applying accurate accents to some of the characters.