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The Dolphins of Pern
Cover of The Dolphins of Pern
The Dolphins of Pern
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"[Anne] McCaffrey here adds yet another dimension to her colorful and vivid saga by focusing on the attractive dolphins and their highly believable society."—Publishers Weekly
When the first humans came to settle the planet Pern, they did not come alone: intelligence-enhanced dolphins also crossed the stars to colonize Pern's oceans while their human partners settled the vast continents. But then disaster struck. The deadly silver spores called Thread fell like rain from the sky, and as the human colonists' dreams of a new, idyllic life shattered into a desperate struggle for survival, the dolphins were forgotten.

Now, centuries later, as the dragonriders of Pern prepare to complete the momentous task of ridding their world of Thread forever, T'lion, a young bronze rider, and his friend Readis, son of the Lord Holder of Paradise River Hold, make contact with the legendary "shipfish." And as the dragonriders grapple with the end of an era, T'lion, Readis, and the dolphins face the start of a new one: reviving the bond between land- and ocean-dwellers—and resurrecting the dreams of the first colonists of Pern.

"[Anne] McCaffrey here adds yet another dimension to her colorful and vivid saga by focusing on the attractive dolphins and their highly believable society."—Publishers Weekly
When the first humans came to settle the planet Pern, they did not come alone: intelligence-enhanced dolphins also crossed the stars to colonize Pern's oceans while their human partners settled the vast continents. But then disaster struck. The deadly silver spores called Thread fell like rain from the sky, and as the human colonists' dreams of a new, idyllic life shattered into a desperate struggle for survival, the dolphins were forgotten.

Now, centuries later, as the dragonriders of Pern prepare to complete the momentous task of ridding their world of Thread forever, T'lion, a young bronze rider, and his friend Readis, son of the Lord Holder of Paradise River Hold, make contact with the legendary "shipfish." And as the dragonriders grapple with the end of an era, T'lion, Readis, and the dolphins face the start of a new one: reviving the bond between land- and ocean-dwellers—and resurrecting the dreams of the first colonists of Pern.

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  • Lexile:
    980
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    5 - 7

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  • From the book CHAPTER I

    When Masterfisher Alemi came by Readis's hold that morning, he found his fishing crony ready and waiting.

    "I thought you'd never come, Uncle Alemi," Readis said in a tone that was a thin line away from accusatory.

    "He's been on the porch," Aramina told Alemi with a solemn, hiding-a-smile face, "for the last hour. He was up in dawn's dark!" And she rolled her eyes at such eager anticipation.

    "Uncle Alemi says the fish bite best at dawn," Readis informed his mother condescendingly as he jumped down the three steps to take a firm hold of the callused hand of his courtesy uncle.

    "I don't know which excited him more: fishing with you, or being allowed to attend Swacky's Gather this evening." Then she waggled a finger at her small son. "Remember, you have to take a nap this afternoon."

    "I'm all ready to go fishing now," Readis said, ignoring the threat. "I got my snack"—he brandished the net sack laden with his water bottle and wrapped sandwich—"and my vest." The last was added somewhat contemptuously.

    "You will note that I'm wearing mine, too," Alemi said, giving the trusting little paw a shake.

    Aramina chuckled. "That's the only reason he's wearing his."

    "I swim good!" Readis announced in a strong, loud voice. "I swim as good as any shipfish!"

    "That you do," his mother agreed equably.

    "Don't I know that as taught you?" Alemi replied cheerfully. "And I can swim that much better and still use a vest in a small boat."

    "An' in stormy weather," Readis added to prove that he knew the whole lesson on safety vests. "My mother made mine," he said proudly, puffing out his vested chest and grinning up at her. "With love in every stitch!"

    "C'mon, lad, time's a-wasting," Alemi said.

    With a farewell wave of his free hand to Aramina, he led his small charge down to the beach and the slab-sided dinghy that would convey them out to where Alemi felt they would likely find the big redfins that were promised for grilling at Swacky's evening's festivities.
    Swacky had been part of Readis's life since he could remember. The stocky ex-soldier had joined Jayge and Aramina when Aunt Temma and Uncle Nazer had come from the north. He lived in one of the smaller holds and turned his hand to any one of a number of chores necessary in Paradise River Hold. Swacky had guard stories of all the Holds he'd served in to tell a small and fascinated boy. Readis's father, Jayge, never talked of the renegade problem, which had drawn him and Swacky together. And Swacky, though he was fierce and unforgiving of the renegades for "slaughtering innocent folk and animals just to see their blood run," never mentioned exactly what Jayge had done in those days, except to let on that it had to do with the particular renegades who had attacked the Lilcamp wagon train, which was Jayge's family business.

    If Readis had been asked which man he loved best—apart from his father, of course—Swacky or Alemi, he would have been hard-pressed to make a choice.

    Both men figured largely in his young life, but for different reasons. Today Readis was going to have the best of both: fishing in the morning with Alemi, and feasting in the evening to honor Swacky's seventy-five Turns of living!

    Pushing together, they eased the skiff down the sandy shore and into the gently lapping water. When they had waded out until the water was mid-thigh on Readis, Alemi gestured for him to jump in and take up the paddle. That was the main difference between Readis's two idols: Swacky talked a lot; Alemi used gestures where the other man would have used...
About the Author-
  • Anne McCaffrey, one of the world's most popular authors, is best known for her Dragonriders of Pern® series. She was the first woman to win the two top prizes for science fiction writing, the Hugo and Nebula awards. She was also given the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement in Young Adult Fiction, was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and was named a Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1926, McCaffrey relocated to Ireland in the 1970s, where she lived in a house of her own design, named Dragonhold-Underhill. She died in 2011.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 29, 1994
    In this latest addition to McCaffrey's popular Pern series (Chronicles of Pern: First Fall, etc.), the humans of Pern are reunited, after eons of noncontact, with the intelligent dolphins who had originally settled the planet with them. When a boy, Readis, is rescued by ``shipfish'' and realizes that they can talk, he develops a lifelong obsession with the fascinating creatures. But, though his interest is shared by the young dragonrider T'Lion and his dragon, Gadareth, it is forbidden by his mother, who has feared the unusual ever since she was kidnapped by outlaws because of her ability to hear and talk with dragons. Readis pursues his briney friendships nonetheless, reporting his findings to the computer, Aivas, which is attempting to guide the humans to a new era by freeing Pern forever from the devastating, life-consuming Thread. Meanwhile, the leading dragonriders and holdlords must act to contain the lust for land and power of Toric, Lord Holder of the South. Expanding upon events related in All the Weyrs of Pern, McCaffrey here adds yet another dimension to her colorful and vivid saga by focusing on the attractive dolphins and their highly believable society.

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