Renegades of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. Unabridged audio.
I confess that I am not as passionate a fan of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels as some are, but I do enjoy reading one every year or so. What I like about this series is that each book tries to do something a little different, to tell a Pern story from a different location, or different time, or different point of view.
Renegades of Pern takes place in the general timeframe of the novel DragonFlight, and covers the time leading up to (and perhaps slightly past) the events of The White Dragon. But it covers the Southern continent, whose inhabitants have not been central to previous Pern novels.
This novel looks at the events from the perspective of the holdless, nomads who may have ended this way as a punishment, or who chose to live the free life. We meet Jayge, a member of a trader clan, and Aramina (who has a telepathic link to dragon), whose family had lost their holds through the cruelty and injustice of others. Whatever the reason one lives without a hold, living like that is a huge risk -- when the deadly silver threads fall from the sky to ravage the land, the holdless have no natural allies to protect them. There are no dragon-riders who will protect them. Lady Thella, a leader among the holdless, is trying to forge this nomadic people into a force.
This is a fine work, telling a range of interconnected tales of these holdless families and characters. I loved the ending of this story, which is the discovery of ancient artifacts that have important implications on the future (and the past) of Pern. This may have whetted my appetite for more Pern novels, and I will probably not wait as long as I usually do to pick up another one.