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The Masterharper of Pern


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About the Author

Anne McCaffrey is one of the world's most popular authors. Her first novel was published in l967. Since then, she has written dozens of books, of which there are more than twelve million copies in print. Before her success as a writer, she was involved in theater. She directed the American premiere of Carl Orff's Ludus de Nato Infante Mirificus in which she also played a witch.

McCaffrey lives in County Wicklow, Ireland, in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, so named because she had to dig out a hill to build it.


The mostly melancholy early life of Robinton anchors this quiet installment of Pernese history, set just before the opening of Dragonflight, the first novel in the Dragonriders of Pern series. Mortally threatened every few centuries by Thread, which destroys each living thing it touches, Pern is defended by its fetching telepathic dragons and their dashing Weyrmen riders. Between Threadfalls, wandering teacher-bards trained at Harper Hall maintain the traditions that bind holders, craftsmen and dragonriders together. As the novels opens, hundreds of years after the last Threadfall, Robinton is born to Mastercomposer Petiron and his wife, Mastersinger Merelan. Petiron unreasonably resents and rejects his musically gifted son. Despite his father's ill will, however, Robinton rises to Mastership, his successes accompanied by a growing crescendo of animosity directed at dragonriders throughout Pern by the villainous Fax, who eventually arranges the murder of Robinton's Weyrleader friend F'lon. Fans of Pern will likely be enthralled by McCaffrey's detailing of life at Harper Hall, but, as always throughout this popular series, the story takes wing primarily when McCaffrey's beloved dragons roar and their riders soar upon the beasts' mighty backs. Even given his talents and his ability to speak with dragons, McCaffrey's Robinton is, ultimately, only a baritone, while the dragonriders F'lon and his avenging son, F'lar, hero of most of the Pern novels, are the flamboyant tenors who have given voice to McCaffrey's most magical moments. (Jan.)

YA-Set just prior to Dragonflight, Masterharper details the life, loves, and heartbreaks of Robinton, Pern's most beloved harper. Readers follow him through a childhood filled with rejection and neglect by his Mastercomposer father, the loss of his wife, the death of his best friend, to his becoming Masterharper of Pern. This is McCaffrey at her best, combining excellent writing with vivid settings and detailed, fully fleshed-out characters. The book would be best read after Dragonflight (1986) and Dragonquest (1979, both Ballantine), but can stand alone.-John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

"At last, Robinton has his own book . . . McCaffrey adds another absorbing chapter to dragon lore. . . . Readers will revel in this compelling character study of a fascinating personality."-Romantic Times

"The story takes wing . . . when McCaffrey's beloved dragons roar and their riders soar upon the beasts' mighty backs. . . . Fans of Pern will likely be enthralled."-Publishers Weekly

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