Dragon s Kin is Anne McCaffrey s latest offering in her long-running and best-selling Dragonriders of Pern series. It is also the first time she has permitted a co-author into the Pern universe: her son, Todd. This time McCaffrey tells the story of an earlier time in Pern s history. The time is more than halfway through the second Interval, 16 years before the next Threadfall and the next pass of the Red Star. We are several hundred years before the events in Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern and perhaps a hundred years from the events of Dragonseye . So, this is the time period we are looking at.
The story is set in the Natalon mining camp, and this is one of the first times we ve had a look at the miners. This is the story of Kindan, a twelve year old boy who seemed older when I read the book. Kindan does not expect anything more out of his life than to follow his father into the mines when he is old enough. All of this changes when there is an accident at the mine and Kindan s father and brothers are all killed. He is left an orphan and he is taken in by the Masterharper, Zist.
What the title of this book refers to is the watch whers (they appear in several of the Pern novels). The watch whers are dragon like, though smaller and nocturnal, and are used typically as a nighttime guard or as the first warning if anything is going wrong. They are kin to dragons (hence the title) from when humans first settled on Pern. Watch whers play a prominent role in this book (though, the watch wher egg does not appear until close to half way through the book).
At times, Dragon s Kin did not feel like a Pern novel. Dragons play such a limited role, and this story is such a sub-set off of what became the primary storyline throughout Pern. This was a quick reading story, but none of the characters were as engaging as previous characters. There is no Menolly, or Lessa, or F lar, or Jaxom, or even any of the characters from Dragonsdawn . Kindan is too young, and while he may grow into a better character (assuming McCaffrey follows up with these characters), he isn t interesting enough to build a novel around. The minor character, Nuella, she has potential. Dragon s Kin is a decent enough Pern novel, but it is nothing to get excited about.