Beast Master's Ark
Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie
From the cover of the book:
Beast Master Hosteen Storm has endured great perils to carve out a life for himself on Arzor, the colony planet he's called home since the destruction of Earth by the alien Xik. On a planet with alient life forms and untold secrets from its pre-Human past, there are always dangers in the wild, especially in the vast desert and rugged mountain region known as Big Blue.
But nobody has ever experienced a threat like the devastating scourge the natives call Death-Which-Comes-By-Night. Something is killing grazing animals ...and has begun to attack humans as well, leaving nothing behind but the bones of its victims.
Hosteen, aided by his telepathically linked animals, knows that if he can't stop the killings Arzor will be decimated. His only ally is a young wiman who has beast master ability, but was raised to mistrust others with such a power. At stake is the safety of all those on Arzor, and on other colony planets as well. Because Death-Which-Comes-In-The-Night is a scourge that, if not stopped, here could spread...
Billed as "The first new exciting BEAST MASTER adventure in decades", Beast Master's Ark lives up to it's name. The story continues on from the books Beast Master and Lord of Thunder, which were written several decades previously.
Andre Norton is one of those writers which never seems to go out of date. Despite several decades between the volumes in some of her series, the books are still popular, good reads, and the series still fits together seamlessly.
There's a sense of falling into the middle of the story, due to the start, when there have clearly been some problems occurring before the start of the story. Some of the problems and issues are articulated as the story progresses, but others are left unexplained.
For a science fiction novel, there really isn't too much of an emphasis on technology, the story is more about the character interactions, which is a nice change from some of the sci-fi out there.
Honestly, I think this is the best of the Beast Master novels, but perhaps I'm influenced by the fact that this was the first of the books in this series that I read. There are two sequels as well: Beast Master's Circus (which I'm reading right now) and Beast Master's Quest.