Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern

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Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
Whelan cover of Del Rey editions[a]
Author Anne McCaffrey
Cover artist
Country United States
Language English
Series Dragonriders of Pern
Genre Science Fiction
Publisher Del Rey/Ballantine
Publication date
November 1983 (US)
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 286 (first US hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-345-29874-4
OCLC 9441838
813/.54 19
LC Class PS3563.A255 M6 1983
Preceded by Dragondrums
Followed by Nerilka's Story

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern is a science fantasy novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It was the seventh book published in the Dragonriders of Pern series, more than twenty books by Anne and eventually her son Todd McCaffrey.[1]

With this book, McCaffrey jumped 1000 years back in Pern history from the setting of the first book, Dragonflight, to a time memorialized in song and rendered legendary from the standpoint of the previous books.

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins with Moreta, the senior Weyrworman of Fort Weyr, traveling with her queen dragon Orlith (who is also near the end of her pregnancy) to the Gather at Ruatha Hold. At the Gather there is talk about a strange animal that was at display at Ista that was found at sea. However Moreta is more interested in the runner races that are being held at the Gather. As she was hold bred she loves to watch runners race. While Moreta was watching the races with Alessan, the new Lord Holder, a runner suddenly collapses from having liquid in its lungs. No one knows why the runner comes down with such an illness. It is quickly taken off the field. After a few more races Moreta goes to the Dancing Square with Alessan's younger sister, Oklina.

When Moreta wakes up the next morning she is greeted with news from Weyrleader Sh’gall who tells her that the disease is now an epidemic. It is spreading very quickly across Pern. Masterhealer Capian has ordered a quarantine to try to stop the spreading of the disease. Moreta quickly gives out orders to isolate the Weyr, but it is too late as Berchar, the Weyr Healer, has already been infected with the disease.

Back at Fort Weyr, Moreta, even though there is quarantine upon them, has to get everyone ready for the next fall to protect Pern from Thread. When the Thread begins to fall the dragon riders take to the sky, protecting everyone from the Crom to Nabol. The sickness had spread so far so fast that the Weyrleaders met two days later to talk about what they should do next along with making a list of bronzeriders that could take control if they would die of the sickness and decide against exploring the Southern Continent anymore since the animal that was found at sea was responsible for the sickness had came from there.

Capian continues to try to find a cure when he remembers a lecture he was given long ago by Masterharpter Tirone. Capiam has an epiphany when he realizes that the blood of those who have recovered from the sickness like himself could be turned into a serum to cure others. They quickly start to make and deliver the serum to the sick. K’lon begins to deliver the serum and Leri realizes he been traveling through time, also known as “timing it”, a secret only known by bronze and gold dragon riders, to be able to deliver all the serum quickly.

Upon realizing there would be a second wave of disease, Desdra pointed out a problem where they did not have enough needlethorn to vaccinate people with. Along with the problem that it does not bloom until Autumn. Moreta then comes up with a plan to travel in time to the future so they could collect the needlethorn in Ista. Moreta along with B’lerion, Alessan, Oklina, Capiam and Desdra then travel secretly to the future to harvest the needlethorn.

The mass vaccination happens the next day with help from the dragon riders. Moreta's Queen dragon, Orlith, is heavy with new dragon eggs and so cannot fly Moreta between. Leri offers her own Queen dragon, Holth. When Moreta is done with visiting different holds she is exhausted and heads back with Holth, timing it to get there faster.

Back at the hatching grounds at Fort Weyr, K’lon, Rogeth and Leri waits for Moreta’s along with Holth’s return. Orlith suddenly bursts out shrieking. Rogeth tells him that Moreta and Holth failed to envision their destination properly due to exhaustion and have died between as a result.

A month later everyone, including people from other Weyrs and their dragons gathered at Fort Weyr for the Hatching. Oklina was among the candidates and was chosen by the newly hatched queen dragon, Hannath. Shortly after all the dragonets are paired Orlith goes between with Leri to be with their missing rider/dragon.





Lord Ratoshigan


Lord Tolocamp
































The book addresses such issues as quarantine, public response to emergency restrictions on travel and assembly, and also describes how "modern" forms of transportation, especially air travel, can spread a disease worldwide during its incubation period, allowing the disease to spread far more widely before pathologists are able to recognize the magnitude of the outbreak.

Cultural Context[edit]

Anne Mccaffery may have been inspired to write this novel by hearing about the 1980-1981 Influenza break out that happened in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Cold War is also during this time when nuclear weapons were being increased showing the power that the U.S. and Soviet Union had. The fear of the possibility of destruction coming from the sky is both shown in the novel as well as the real peoples lives that were effected during this time; instead of the “duck and cover” of the Cold War the people of Pern made dragons to protect them from the thread coming from the sky.


Moreta was one of five nominees for the annual Hugo Award for Best Novel and it placed sixth for the annual Locus Award for Best Novel.[1]


  1. ^ Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database lists Michael Whelan cover artist for numerous US editions, all except Apr 2005 SFBC Paul Youll; no listing for the first UK edition, thereafter Steve Weston (UK).


  1. ^ "Anne McCaffrey". Locus Index to SF Awards. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
    • The awards are voted by paying participants in the World Science Fiction Convention and by Locus magazine readers, respectively. From any Locus Index entry, select the award name for details of the annual result; then select "About" for general information about the award.

External links[edit]

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database