Genre: sci-fi / fantasy
Cover: love it
Master Singer Merelan en Harper Petiron were a brilliant and devoted couple. Merelan was the most outstanding soprano ever heard on Pern, and was often the only one who could master Petiron’s technically accomplished compositions. When, after a long and difficult birth, Robinton was born to them, it should have been the culmination of a unique partnership.
But Petiron, almost from the first day, had no time for his son, refusing to see the incredible talent the boy possessed, ignoring his achievements and maintaining a strict and disapproving vigilance over him at all times.
Carefully, secretly, the Harper Hall took over, training the greatest talent Pern had ever seen – a talent that was more than just musical, for Robinton was able to talk to the dragons of Pern.
As constant sadness beset his personal life, so a startling career sent him like a meteor through the Holds and Weyrs of Pern, until, as Master Harper, he became part of the great plan to rescue Lessa from the brutal rule of Holder Fax – Lessa, who was to be the saviour of the dragons of Pern.
Warning: I am in love with the books by Anne McCaffrey, and have been for over 20 years. I do re-read my favourites often, a few at a time, so there will be more reviews in the next few days. Master Harper Robinton plays a big part in most of the books in this series, so his own history is always a good one to start with.
Almost from the day Robinton was born, his father Petiron has been jealous of the time his wife Merelan spend with him. Petiron was madly in love with her, and he wanted her attention fixed on him, and the complicated music he wrote for her beautiful voice. He ignored Robinton if possible, and never noticed his child’s unusual gift for music. So what if the drum the boy made was not up to his standards, Robie was only 5 at the time! What Petiron also did not know, was that Robinton has been composing his own music from age 3, variations on melodies. On Pern, the children are thought everything they need to know my harpers, and for the most important things, there is a teaching ballade. To make them easier to remember, Robinton made up his own tunes, and he loved helping other children. The other masters and the Master Harper helped Merelan (who of course noticed everything Robinton did) to nurture his love for music, and made sure that he was kept out of Petiron’s way as much as possible.
And when Petiron did find out at last, hurt that Merelan kept things like that from him, and he intends to take over Robie’s education, Merelan just leaves him. Taking Robie with her, she sets out for Benden, where they are in need of a Singer of her qualities.
And there Robie meets his first best friend, Falloner, who will be a bronze dragon rider. Falloner and his father believe that the stories of Thread are true, and that it will fall in another 30 years or so, but most of Pern doesn’t believe anymore. They don’t honor the dragonriders who will defend the planet with their own lives, and that of their dragons. And as there is only one dragon Weyr left, instead of 5 full Weyrs, they are not going to be able to safe the whole planet again. Unless a miracle happens, but that is a story in another book.
When they are finally back at the Harper Hall in Fort Hold, Petiron keeps ignoring his son as much as possible, and Robinton is only too happy to be able to go live in the apprentice dormitories. As he loves teaching and helping those slower in class, he easily makes friends, especially when the other children see how his own father treats him. Never a good word, only criticism and sharp remarks. Robinton keeps hoping one day his father will approve of him, love him as a father should, but that day never comes. And so, when Robinton makes the rank of journeyman, the Master Harper send shim out all over the place on assignments. Learning there is more to being a harper than knowing music and how to sing and play and make instruments. He is to be knowledgeable in the law of Pern, the Charter, and to mediate in disputes. One of his assignments also brings him into contact with Fax, a greedy young man who will grow up into a dictator, who has never enough land and holdings and wives. The lords Holder are reluctant to make a move against Fax, and so he can continue to steal other peoples Holds and what ever else he fancies. All the while sowing hatred and distrust against the harpers and the dragonriders.
At another place, Robinton falls in love with a sweet young woman, but unfortunately, his happiness is not there to last long. Pern is not an easy world to live in, it has many dangers, and much knowledge and skills have been forgotten that the Ancients took for granted.
But life continues for Robinton, he learns what he can about the different provinces of Pern, and the people that live in it, high and low. And at a still young age, he makes Master Harper of Pern himself, as times are changing, and Pern needs a strong Master Harper to cope with it all.
A great book, a great story, that made me laugh and cry and that I will undoubtedly read many more times. The spine has faded, and the pages are coming loose, so it is time I bought a new set. Master Harper Robinton, with his love of live and people and knowledge, and especially the great Benden wine, is one of my favourite characters in this series. His life is not easy, but as his mother said, great gifts come with a price.
I do recommend this series to everyone who loves fantasy, or dragons, or just well written stories. I am very sorry that there never will be more new books by Anne McCaffrey. I just don’t like her son Todd’s writing style, the books he has written have lost their humor and lightness and are just gloomy.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian