Beginning of the "Lunzie" story. Set before the "Dinosaur Planet" duo. Shows how lives can be changed by incidents beyond our control.
Like Dan Davis in Heinlein's Door into Summer (Ballantine, 1986), Lunzie Mespil is a victim of cryogenic sleep and future shock. On three separate occasions following a deep-space disaster, she is placed in suspended animation totaling almost 90 years while awaiting rescue. Like Ripley in the film Aliens , she has lost not just her friends and loved ones, but everything familiar to her. Her story is a study of struggle against adversity as she tries to put her life back together. Because her medical knowledge is obsolete, Lunzie returns to school and becomes the medical officer on an exploratory vessel for the Federation of Sentient Planets. While routinely surveying the prehistoric life of the planet Ireta, she is caught in the middle of a violent racial mutiny. While not as strong a book as The Ship Who Sang (Ballantine, 1976) or most of the "Pern" novels, McCaffrey has created a feisty, likable character in Lunzie Mespil. This well-written yarn can stand alone, but it works best if read with Dinosaur Planet (1978), Dinosaur Planet Survivors (1984, both Ballantine), and Sassinak (Baen, 1990).