|The Renegades of Pern|
Date: 13 August, 1990 — $7.99 — Book
Fiction, Science Fiction
My major annoyance with this book is that it started the dreaded "of" sequence. Renegades of Pern. All the Weyrs of Pern. Dolphins of Pern. The Masterharper of Pern. That's a bad titling convention if ever I heard one. While there have been a few books in the series since then that have broken that convention, once you let the publishers get away with it, they want to do it every time.
It does help with the marketing, after all.
McCaffrey's still a strong writer at this point, and is beginning to show the perspective of people who are not dragonriders or closely allied with them. With the beginning of the Pass, and the fall of deadly Thread, some Holders use the danger as an excuse to clear out the Holdless, the types we might call homeless, or indigent... or sometimes old, or crippled, or even just the types with wanderlust.
The Lilcamp trader clan is one such group, injured in an early Fall and treated shabbily by the Holders thereafter. The bad impression they get of dragonriders is in contrast to the favorable reports from the earlier books, and though Jayge Lilcamp, for example, later tempers his observations with respect to the "good" dragonriders, it's an important point to make.
This is the book where things get really interesting at the end. Some people may object to what they call a deus ex machina (though technically the NEXT book would be one) but you can't say she didn't set this up a long time ago.