The men who rode the dragons were a breed apart. Chosen when the dragons first hatched, they became soulmates for life with the huge, magnificent beasts they controlled – the greens, blue, brown and bronzes; beautiful, terrible, the only creatures who could defend the planet Pern from the blood-red star. But without the Queen, the dragons would become extinct – only the gigantic golden Queen could breed new flights. And the Queen was fading, dying – leaving behind one last, huge golden egg.