From the Back Cover
All Kindan ever wanted to do was become a Harper, singing, playing, and teaching the ballads of Pern, and he is thrilled when he becomes an Apprentice at the Harper Hall. But then he is offered the chance to attend a hatching and succeeds in Impressing the magnificent bronze fire-lizard, Valla There he meets Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold. She also Impresses, in her case a gold fire-lizard, and there is an instant attraction between her and Kindan. Unfortunately an apprentice Harper is not considered a suitable consort for a Fort Holder's daughter and they are quickly separated, leaving Kindan to wonder about his future - would it be possible for him to have more than just the life of a Harper? But suddenly everything starts to go wrong for Kindan and he is accused of starting a fire which destroys ancient and extremely precious Records. Kindan is banished to Fort Hold in shame and dishonour. However, his own worries pale into insignificance when a terrible plague starts to spread across Pern, killing nearly everyone infected. As it reaches Fort Hold, Kindan and the rest of Pern's inhabitants know their very survival is in doubt.