The White Dragon (novel)

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The White Dragon
First hardcover edition, Whelan cover[a]
AuthorAnne McCaffrey
Cover artist
CountryUnited States
SeriesDragonriders of Pern
GenreScience fiction
PublisherBallantine Books
Publication date
June 1978
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages497 (first edition)
ISBN978-0-345-27567-7 (first edition)
LC ClassPZ4.M1195 Wh
Preceded byDragonsinger 
Followed byDragondrums 

The White Dragon is a science fantasy novel by American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It completes the original Dragonriders trilogy in the Dragonriders of Pern series, seven years after the second book. It was first published by Del Rey Books in June 1978.

In 1987, the magazine Locus ranked The White Dragon number 23 among the 33 "All-Time Best Fantasy Novels", based on a poll of subscribers.[1]


The first part of the novel was published three years earlier as A Time When, a special publication by the New England Science Fiction Association for its annual convention Boskone in 1975, where McCaffrey was Guest of Honor.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

The White Dragon follows the coming of age story of Jaxom, the young Lord of Ruatha Hold, who had accidentally impressed the unusual white dragon Ruth in Dragonquest and Dragonsong. As Jaxom grows up, he has to deal with the difficulty of being both a Lord Holder and a dragonrider, the maturity of Ruth (who, besides being white, is a runt), his own teenage angst and desire to fight Thread on his own, and the rebellious Oldtimers, who attempt to steal a golden egg from Benden Weyr. Ruth always knows when he is and can travel through time to avert the growing political crisis. But while fighting Thread, Jaxom falls ill with a potentially deadly sickness called "Fire-Head". This leads him to recuperate in Cove Hold, and while there he discovers some of the mysteries that the Ancients, the ancestors of the Pernese, left behind, and he begins to make more sense of the past.


The White Dragon placed third for the annual Locus Award for Best Novel and it was one of five nominees for the annual Hugo Award for Best Novel. It won the Gandalf Award for Book-Length Fantasy and the Australian Ditmar Award for international fiction.[3]

The American Library Association in 1999 cited the two early Pern trilogies (Dragonriders and Harper Hall), along with The Ship Who Sang, when McCaffrey received the annual Margaret A. Edwards Award for her "lifetime contribution in writing for teens".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The White Dragon, ISFDB lists cover artist Michael Whelan for all US editions before 1999; no one for the first UK edition; David Roe is listed for the UK paperback 15th edition.


  1. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1987 Locus All-time Poll". Locus. Retrieved 12 October 2011. Originally published in the monthly Locus, August 1987.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^ "A Time When by Anne McCaffrey". NESFA Press. Retrieved 8 February 2007.
  3. ^ "McCaffrey, Anne". Locus Index to SF Awards. Retrieved 9 October 2011. The Locus was voted by Locus magazine readers, the Hugo and Gandalf at the annual World Science Fiction Convention, and the Ditmar at the annual Australian convention.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. ^ "1999 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winners". Young Adult Library Services Association. American Library Association. Retrieved 14 November 2011.[permanent dead link]


External links[edit]

  • Pern Home – "the website for Pern and The Dragonriders of Pern™".