Anne McCaffrey's World of Pern, viewed from a different time and a different angle by her son Todd McCaffrey.
I never really thought about the Shunned or the miners or the Wher-handlers until Todd wrote about them. It's a classic Dragonrider book with the focus NOT on the dragonriders.
There are holders, crafters and dragonriders but there are also people not included in society, they are the Shunned. The shunned are criminals banned from hold or hall for their crimes. it is the Capital punishment for all deviants. but what about their family? with the Shunned, their families come with them. the children suffer from famine and disease.
Harpers Hall wants to get to the bottom of this. These Shunned keep growing and they might do something desperate.
Although the threat of deadly Thread is still 16 turns away, the Firestone mines explode and there are none left. They need 40 tons per dragon per Weyr in order to fight Thread successfully. With firestone being so volatile, not even the shunned wants to work in the mines. Some of them are getting ideas about the stone.
It's a must collect book for Dragonrider fans.
Master Harper Zist- A Harper in his Mastery Level. Zist lost his wife and child while under cover looking for the shunned.
Pellar- Adopted son of Zist. He is the Mute Harper. He has excellent tracking skills and part psychic.
Halla- A little girl whose parents were Shunned. she has 8 orphans to take care.
Cristov- Miner Tarik's son. he is an excellent miner whose father is Shunned. he tries to prove himself.
Kindan- an orphaned boy. Zist adopted him too. He was bonded to the green watch-wher Kisk but gave her to Nuella, Natalon's daughter, and pursued being a harper.
D'vin- Wingleader, rider of Bronze Hurth. he is freind of Pellar, Zist and Cristov.
Master Aleesa- Wher-Handler of the last gold Watch-wher. She keeps the Whers a secret from Telgar's Weyrleader D'gan.
Moran- The harper Zist and Masterharper Murenny sent to contact the Shunned. He got caught up with raising the children that he failed to report to harpers hall for turns.
Fenner- Lord Holder of Crom. he is soft hearted and wants to help the Shunned.
Tenim- Tenim is greedy. His father was shunned and he has plans to get rich no matter what. he steals coals from Camp Natalon then steals firestone from Mine #9.
Tarik- A miner with big ambitions. He got shunned and sent to Mine #9. Tenim killed him and exploded the mine.
D'gan- D'gan was an Igen rider. The Weyr was absorbed by Telgar and he flew the gold. He is ruthless Weyrleader and demand most of the firestone. D'gan is not actually the bad guy but he is an anti-hero.