Dragon's fire isn't cheap; as any dragonrider of Pern can attest, it's fueled by valuable firestone. When an opportunistic thief sets out to corner the firestone market, Pellar, a harper's apprentice, must halt his scheme for no less than the planet's survival. Such sweeping conflicts aren't new to Anne McCaffrey's series, yet her voice keeps them compelling even in this slightly convoluted tale. Her second book with son Todd shares the chronology of 2003's Dragon's Kin. Despite its big-picture details, Fire lacks more nuanced motivation for its solidly rendered heroes and perfunctory villains.