This is the origin story of the Pernese colony and the Dragonriders of Pern. Naturally it begins with the colony ships arriving at Pern. It shows the colony leaders, Admiral Paul Benden and Governor Emily Boll, leading the colonists in their initial exploration and settling in. Tensions are shown, Averil Bitra schemes, and fire lizards are discovered and impressed.
Then Thread falls for the first time. Admiral Benden and Governor Boll are recalled from their stakes to lead the colony in this crisis. The volcano at the main city, Landing, starts to smoke, they put tremendous strain on their resources, Averil Bitra steals the admiral’s gig and gets herself killed, the first dragons are created by Kit Ping Yung and impress the first riders, and Fort hold is founded.
The book ends with a swift reversal the beleaguered colonists are out of power for the flying sleds when the dragons arrive to defend Fort.
Overall this is a good story. There are clearly drawn characters and problems. However it is not the best introduction to the series. There are quite a few references that only make sense if you’ve read the first couple books Anne McCaffrey published in this setting.