It is a perilous time for harpers. They sing of Thread, yet more and more people are beginning to doubt the return of that deadly scourge. They teach reading, writing, history, but Fax - who hates the harpers in general - is determined to keep his growing area of influence free of the learning that might sow unrest. And they extol the dragonriders, whom many view increasingly as a drain on the resources of the Holds. Now harpers are being turned away from the holds; and, worse yet, they are being derided, attacked, even beaten.
It is the climate of unrest that Robinton will come into his own. For despite the tragedies that beset his own life, he continues to believe in music and in the dragons, and is determined to save his beloved Pern from itself . . .so that the dragonriders can be ready to fly against the dreaded Thread when it at last returns!
©2005 Anne McCaffrey; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio
This is one of the better sequels, or in this case a prequel, to McCaffrey's original six Pern novels. Robinton is a great character and although she makes him suffer more disappointment in life than anybody should bear, McCaffrey fills in a lot of interesting "historical" detail leading up to Dragonquest. However, she sometimes errs in the details (how could Sebell simultaneously be an adolescent journeyman when Fax takes Ruatha hold and still be the same age some twenty years later when Menolly arrives at the Harper hall?)
The narrator is generally very good and uses a variety of voices. My only quibble is that children and adolescent boys sound a bit too whiny and are delivered with a vaguely distracting NY/NJ style accent.
Overall, highly enjoyable. I would order it again.
Unfortunately, and in spite of the preface claiming someone found all the plot holes, there is a lot wrong with this book. The final chapter, which mirrors the very first book's opening chapters, is just so very off. Then there's the fact that Robinton spoke to dragons when he was young, but he somehow never knew that in the original books....
Ah well. He falls in love, etc. and it brings together so many characters from the books. The Lady Holdless makes a brief cameo. You find out where Camo came from. Lessa shows up as a child. Parts of the story that (when they fit) are great to hear.
My main criticism of the performance is that Dick Hill can NOT play a girl to save his life. He is always making them weepy and gaspingly emotional. Not one of the women comes off as strong or sensible. I'm glad I have the story, but it's not one I listen to often.
Predicted by earlier books
Robinton's predecessor as master Harper was just about right.
some cocerns with following the books his mother wrote . For example Robert not getting sea sick.
I almost wish I had read this book before Dragonflight. It fleshed out a good deal of the story, and at the end dealing with Lessa and Fax,
It seemed to be a almost word for word rendition of the beginning of Dragonflight. I only said that because I have been going through the whole series. A good read and well done for performance. Could have been a Master at Harper Hall.
I really enjoyed finding out about Robintons early life. The other books had mentioned his father but never his mother. There were times that I wanted to cry right along with the characters but this book just showed that he had a normal life for the most part.
Within the context of the Dragonriders of Pern, this story provides a wonderful addition. It helps us better understand The Masterharper. It helps us better understand the setting of the saga. and it's a good story in its own right.
I love Pern. Every book by Anne McCaffery alone is my favorite. And Master Robinton is second only to the pair of F'lar & Lessa. Any new angle or new info about their lives is fascinating. I'm not that fond of Dick Hill as a narrator. Not that he doesn't do a good job with the different characters, but I just don't care for the timbre of his voice.
This book starts with Robinton's birth and follows his life clear through the first chapter of Dragonflight. Not only does it give you new insights into the Master harper you see many other familiar characters in their youth. The reader even gets to meet Robinton's best friend F'lon father of F'lar and F'nor. You watch both boys impress their dragons through Robinton's eyes. Great book. There were lots of surprises.
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