The Masterharper of Pern (Dragonriders of Pern Series #15)

( 92 )

Overview

In a time when no Thread has fallen for centuries - when, indeed, many are beginning to dare to hope that Thread will never fall again - a boy is born to Harper Hall. His name is Robinton, and he is destined to be one of the most famous and beloved leaders Pern has ever known.

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 ...

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The Masterharper of Pern (Dragonriders of Pern Series #15)

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Overview

In a time when no Thread has fallen for centuries - when, indeed, many are beginning to dare to hope that Thread will never fall again - a boy is born to Harper Hall. His name is Robinton, and he is destined to be one of the most famous and beloved leaders Pern has ever known.

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!

At last--an all new epic Anne McCaffrey novel set in a brave new world. Kristin Bjorsen is a human slave to the overlords called Catteni, who have made the races of many planets bend to their will. But now Kristin has become part of a tremendous alien experiment--one that gives her back her freedom, though not in a way she might have chosen.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amanda Lenhart
Fantasy writer extraordinaire Anne McCaffrey has just released the latest installment in her much loved Pern series. The Masterharper of Pern chronicles the life of Robinton, the Masterharper who played a prominent role in the Pern trilogy of Dragonsong (Atheneum, 1976), Dragonsinger (Atheneum, 1977), and Dragondrums (Atheneum, 1979). We follow Rob from his first cries of life through the joys, tragedies, and blossoming musical genius of his young adulthood on into his maturation into a masterful statesman as well as inspired musician. Readers already familiar with the Pern series and McCaffrey's work will soon find themselves engrossed in Rob's struggles. Young adults may particularly identify with his problems earning acceptance from his father, his first attempts at love, and his conflict over his life's calling-should he follow his musical talents into harperizing or utilize his ability to talk to dragons as a dragonrider? The book also subtly handles issues of justice and fairness as we walk with Robinton through his early attempts at mediation and leadership roles. However, this reader wishes McCaffrey had drawn a little more nuance into her harsh characterization of Rob's father, Petiron, who in previous books had been cast as a sympathetic character. While not McCaffrey's best effort, Masterharper displays her traditional, accessible style. Young adults already familiar with McCaffrey's work will be lining up to read this next, fill-in-the-gaps tale of life on Pern. Those who have not read her other work will enjoy this one more if it is not their entry point into the series. Ideally, it should be read after the Dragonsong trilogy, though any of McCaffrey's early Pern books like Dragonflight (Ballantine, 1968) or Dragonquest (Ballantine, 1971) will work as well. Most of all, this book is fun. It is an enveloping work that transports the reader to another place without numbing the mind with formulaic, hacked-out prose. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Sequel to Freedom's Landing (1995), chunk two of McCaffrey's latest interstellar saga. Following the invasion of Earth by humanoid alien Catteni, a group of human survivors and rebels—including Earth girl Kris Bjornsen and her aristocratic, renegade Catteni lover, Zainal—has been dumped on planet Botany, a farm world run by machines. The parasitic Eosi rule the Catteni as overlords by commandeering suitable Catteni bodies, though so far Zainal has avoided his own nemesis, the Ix Mentat. Kris, Zainal, and the colony's military bigwigs capture several Catteni spacecraft before Botany's absentee landlords, the Farmers, show up. Highly advanced, telepathic shapeshifters, the Farmers deplore interspecies conflict but decline to intervene; they do, however, screen Botany from Catteni spacecraft. Zainal leads a raid on planet Barevi to pick up goods looted from Earth, and learns that the Ix Mentat, infuriated by the Farmers' effortless superiority in denying the Catteni access to Botany, has used brain-burning mind probes on captured humans in the vain hope of discovering useful new technologies.

McCaffrey helpfully recaps the previous book's events; overall, series fans will be delighted, although they'll know how this one ends: It doesn't.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597370172
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/25/2005
  • Series: Dragonriders of Pern Series , #15
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Award-winning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern® novels, is one of science fiction’s most popular authors. With Elizabeth Ann Scarborough she co-authored Changelings and Maelstrom, Books One and Two of The Twins of Petaybee. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland.
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Read an Excerpt

His parents were busy packing for their trip to Nerat, so Robinton had been told to go outside and play. He always missed his mother, but it would be nice to stay with Kubisa and Lina, where he could sing and play his pipe or his drum without worrying about annoying his father. Now it was his turn to hop-it without smudging the chalk lines on the flags, and his attention was utterly focused on the movement of his feet--until Libby made him miss the longest hop by suddenly pointing skyward in astonishment.

"Oh, look, Robie!" she cried.

"That's not fair..."

His complaint died as he realized that the dragons soaring above were coming closer to the Harper Hall, rather than the Hold, where they usually landed. Half a wing of dragons--six of them. As they swept closer, backwinging, their hind legs stretching downward to land in the Harper Hall quadrangle, Robie, Libby, and Lexey pressed themselves tightly against the wall to stay out of the way. As it was, two of the dragons had to land outside, since the first four made the big quadrangle suddenly appear very small.

The ridged tail of a bronze was so close to Robie he could reach out and touch it. Which he did, greatly daring, while Lexey regarded him with staring eyes, aghast at his impudence.

"You'll get left out for Thread for sure, Robie," Lexey whispered hoarsely, pressing his sturdy body as close to the stone wall as he could, well away from the dragon's tail.

"He's soft," Robie whispered back, surprised. Runner beasts were soft, as were the spit canines, but watchwhers had hard hides, sort of oily. At least the Harper Hall's ol' Nick did. Were watchwhers another kind of dragon, the wayrunner beasts were another kind of herd beast?

No, they are most certainly not, a voice said in his mind. The dragon turned his huge head to see who had touched him, causing Lexey to hiss in alarm and Libby to whimper a bit in terror. Very different from dragons entirely, the voice went on.

"I do apologize. I didn't mean to insult you, bronze dragon," Robie said, giving a jerky little bow. "I've never seen one of you up close before."

We do not come as often to the Harper Hall as we used to.  It had to be the dragon speaking, Robie decided, because the deep voice couldn't have come from anybody else nearby. The rider had dismounted and was standing on the steps talking to his mother and father.


"Are my mother and father going to ride on you to Nerat?" Robie knew that was why the dragons had come, to take all the harpers to Nerat for the espousal. His mother had told him that. Nerat Hold tithed to Benden Weyr, and so in turn could ask the Weyrleader to provide dragon transport. Going a-dragonback meant they wouldn't have a long land journey to make, so they wouldn't be away long. And besides, it was a great honor to go a-dragonback.

They are Harpers? the dragon asked.

"Yes, my mother's MasterSinger Merelan and my father is now Master Petiron. He writes the music they're going to sing."

We look forward to hearing it.

"I didn't know dragons liked music," Robie said, greatly surprised. That had never been mentioned with all the other things he'd learned about dragonkind.

Well, we do. So does my rider, M'ridin. Robie's sensitive ears caught the affection with which the dragon named his rider. He asked especially to convey your mother and father. It will be an honor for us to take a MasterSinger to Nerat.

"Who are you talking to?" Libby asked, her eyes still wide with fright for Robie's presumptuous behavior toward the huge and powerful creature.

"The dragon, a' course," Robie said, having no real sense of doing something unusual. "You'll be careful with them, won't you, dragon?"

Of course!

Robie was certain the dragon was laughing inside. "What's so funny?"

I have a name, you know.

"Oh, I know that all the dragons have names, but I've only just met you so I don't know your name." Robie turned his head ever so slightly to be sure his friends were observing how brave he was. And courteous.

Cortath is my name. What is yours, little one?

"Robie...that is, Robinton, and you will fly my parents very carefully, won't you?"

Of course I will, young Robinton.

Greatly reassured by that, Robie took advantage of this unparalleled opportunity and asked, "Will you be fighting Thread when it comes back?"

The tail gave such a convulsive twitch that it nearly swept both Lexey and Robinton, who were nearest, off their feet. The dragon swerved his body around so that his great head, with its many faceted eyes swirling with a variety of colors rapidly turning into orange and red, came closer to Robie.

Dragons alwaysfly when Thread is in the sky, was the unequivocal answer.

"You know the song, then?" Robie asked, delighted.

But, before Cortath could answer, his rider was at his head, turning it back so that he could introduce the bronze to Merelan and Petiron

"Robinton, what are you doing back there?" his father demanded, noticing him at last and gesturing
for him to get out of the way.

"We were just playing hop-it, only
Cortath landed in the middle..." At the boy's words, the great dragon
courteously moved his feet. "It's all right, Cortath, you smudged the lines a bit with your tail but we can fix it when you leave."


"Robinton!" his father roared, scowling his amazement. Robinton risked a nervous glance at his mother and saw her slight smile. Why was his father angry with him? He really hadn't been doing anything wrong, had he?


"Cortath says he's enjoyed conversing with your son, Master Petiron," M'ridin said with a reassuring chuckle. "There aren't that many children these days who will, you know."

Robinton's sensitive ears caught the plaintive note in the tall, bronze rider's voice. He opened his mouth to say that he'd be happy to talk to Cortath any time, when he saw his mother raise her finger in her signal for him to be silent and noticed the deepening scowl on his father's face. So he looked anywhere but at the adults.

"Out of the way now, boy," his father said, gesturing urgently.

Robinton scooted off toward the hall, Libby and Lexey well in front of him, all too relieved to be allowed to leave.

"Goodbye, Cortath," Robinton said. Seeing the dragon turn his head to follow him, he waved his fingers in farewell.

We will meet again, young Robinton, Cortath said clearly.

"Shards, Rob, you were lucky," Lexey said enviously.

"And brave," Libby put in, her blue eyes still as wide as saucers in her freckled face.

Robie shrugged. He was probably lucky he hadn't been close enough to his father for a smack at bothering a dragon, but he didn't think he'd been particularly brave. Though he should not, perhaps, have compared a dragon to a watchwher! He'd caught the insulted note in the dragon's voice, and he guessed he was lucky Cortath had deigned to speak with him, instead of just lashing out with his tail at the presumptuous boy.

"Did you hear what Cortath told me?" he asked his friends.

"They're leaving," Lexey said, pointing as the dragons suddenly leaped skyward. As the great wings swirled up dust and grit from the courtyard, the children hastily turned away to protect their faces. When they turned back, rubbing dirt from their eyes, the dragons had already risen above the high, pitched roof of the quadrangle. Robinton waved frantically, recognizing Cortath's bright bronze coat and his passengers, but he didn't think even his mother was looking down just then. The next moment, all had disappeared and the courtyard looked emptier than ever. He felt oddly sad that the dragon had gone--as if he had missed something very important but didn't know what it was. He realized that he didn't really want to know if his friends had heard the dragon, too. After all, he had been the one who had done the talking, so it was his special encounter. He was not covetous by nature, but some things you kept to yourself, because they were yours, your doing, and should be savor
ed quietly.
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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

His parents were busy packing for their trip to Nerat, so Robinton had been told to go outside and play. He always missed his mother, but it would be nice to stay with Kubisa and Lina, where he could sing and play his pipe or his drum without worrying about annoying his father. Now it was his turn to hop-it without smudging the chalk lines on the flags, and his attention was utterly focused on the movement of his feet--until Libby made him miss the longest hop by suddenly pointing skyward in astonishment.

"Oh, look, Robie!" she cried.

"That's not fair..."

His complaint died as he realized that the dragons soaring above were coming closer to the Harper Hall, rather than the Hold, where they usually landed. Half a wing of dragons--six of them. As they swept closer, backwinging, their hind legs stretching downward to land in the Harper Hall quadrangle, Robie, Libby, and Lexey pressed themselves tightly against the wall to stay out of the way. As it was, two of the dragons had to land outside, since the first four made the big quadrangle suddenly appear very small.

The ridged tail of a bronze was so close to Robie he could reach out and touch it. Which he did, greatly daring, while Lexey regarded him with staring eyes, aghast at his impudence.

"You'll get left out for Thread for sure, Robie," Lexey whispered hoarsely, pressing his sturdy body as close to the stone wall as he could, well away from the dragon's tail.

"He's soft," Robie whispered back, surprised. Runner beasts were soft, as were the spit canines, but watchwhers had hard hides, sort of oily. At least the Harper Hall's ol' Nick did. Were watchwhers another kind of dragon, the way runner beasts were another kind of herd beast?

No, they are most certainly not, a voice said in his mind. The dragon turned his huge head to see who had touched him, causing Lexey to hiss in alarm and Libby to whimper a bit in terror. Very different from dragons entirely, the voice went on.

"I do apologize. I didn't mean to insult you, bronze dragon," Robie said, giving a jerky little bow. "I've never seen one of you up close before."

We do not come as often to the Harper Hall as we used to.  It had to be the dragon speaking, Robie decided, because the deep voice couldn't have come from anybody else nearby. The rider had dismounted and was standing on the steps talking to his mother and father.

"Are my mother and father going to ride on you to Nerat?" Robie knew that was why the dragons had come, to take all the harpers to Nerat for the espousal. His mother had told him that. Nerat Hold tithed to Benden Weyr, and so in turn could ask the Weyrleader to provide dragon transport. Going a-dragonback meant they wouldn't have a long land journey to make, so they wouldn't be away long. And besides, it was a great honor to go a-dragonback.

They are Harpers? the dragon asked.

"Yes, my mother's MasterSinger Merelan and my father is now Master Petiron. He writes the music they're going to sing."

We look forward to hearing it.

"I didn't know dragons liked music," Robie said, greatly surprised. That had never been mentioned with all the other things he'd learned about dragonkind.

Well, we do. So does my rider, M'ridin. Robie's sensitive ears caught the affection with which the dragon named his rider. He asked especially to convey your mother and father. It will be an honor for us to take a MasterSinger to Nerat.

"Who are you talking to?" Libby asked, her eyes still wide with fright for Robie's presumptuous behavior toward the huge and powerful creature.

"The dragon, a' course," Robie said, having no real sense of doing something unusual. "You'll be careful with them, won't you, dragon?"

Of course!

Robie was certain the dragon was laughing inside. "What's so funny?"

I have a name, you know.

"Oh, I know that all the dragons have names, but I've only just met you so I don't know your name." Robie turned his head ever so slightly to be sure his friends were observing how brave he was. And courteous.

Cortath is my name. What is yours, little one?

"Robie...that is, Robinton, and you will fly my parents very carefully, won't you?"

Of course I will, young Robinton.

Greatly reassured by that, Robie took advantage of this unparalleled opportunity and asked, "Will you be fighting Thread when it comes back?"

The tail gave such a convulsive twitch that it nearly swept both Lexey and Robinton, who were nearest, off their feet. The dragon swerved his body around so that his great head, with its many faceted eyes swirling with a variety of colors rapidly turning into orange and red, came closer to Robie.

Dragons alwaysfly when Thread is in the sky, was the unequivocal answer.

"You know the song, then?" Robie asked, delighted.

But, before Cortath could answer, his rider was at his head, turning it back so that he could introduce the bronze to Merelan and Petiron

"Robinton, what are you doing back there?" his father demanded, noticing him at last and gesturing for him to get out of the way.

"We were just playing hop-it, only Cortath landed in the middle..." At the boy's words, the great dragon courteously moved his feet. "It's all right, Cortath, you smudged the lines a bit with your tail but we can fix it when you leave."

"Robinton!" his father roared, scowling his amazement. Robinton risked a nervous glance at his mother and saw her slight smile. Why was his father angry with him? He really hadn't been doing anything wrong, had he?

"Cortath says he's enjoyed conversing with your son, Master Petiron," M'ridin said with a reassuring chuckle. "There aren't that many children these days who will, you know."

Robinton's sensitive ears caught the plaintive note in the tall, bronze rider's voice. He opened his mouth to say that he'd be happy to talk to Cortath any time, when he saw his mother raise her finger in her signal for him to be silent and noticed the deepening scowl on his father's face. So he looked anywhere but at the adults.

"Out of the way now, boy," his father said, gesturing urgently.

Robinton scooted off toward the hall, Libby and Lexey well in front of him, all too relieved to be allowed to leave.

"Goodbye, Cortath," Robinton said. Seeing the dragon turn his head to follow him, he waved his fingers in farewell.

We will meet again, young Robinton, Cortath said clearly.

"Shards, Rob, you were lucky," Lexey said enviously.

"And brave," Libby put in, her blue eyes still as wide as saucers in her freckled face.

Robie shrugged. He was probably lucky he hadn't been close enough to his father for a smack at bothering a dragon, but he didn't think he'd been particularly brave. Though he should not, perhaps, have compared a dragon to a watchwher! He'd caught the insulted note in the dragon's voice, and he guessed he was lucky Cortath had deigned to speak with him, instead of just lashing out with his tail at the presumptuous boy.

"Did you hear what Cortath told me?" he asked his friends.

"They're leaving," Lexey said, pointing as the dragons suddenly leaped skyward. As the great wings swirled up dust and grit from the courtyard, the children hastily turned away to protect their faces. When they turned back, rubbing dirt from their eyes, the dragons had already risen above the high, pitched roof of the quadrangle. Robinton waved frantically, recognizing Cortath's bright bronze coat and his passengers, but he didn't think even his mother was looking down just then. The next moment, all had disappeared and the courtyard looked emptier than ever. He felt oddly sad that the dragon had gone--as if he had missed something very important but didn't know what it was. He realized that he didn't really want to know if his friends had heard the dragon, too. After all, he had been the one who had done the talking, so it was his special encounter. He was not covetous by nature, but some things you kept to yourself, because they were yours, your doing, and should be savored quietly.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 92 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(70)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 92 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    wonderful

    Robinton is one of my favorite characters along with Lessa, F'lar, Jaxom, F'lessan Menolly and Sebell. You really got to know him in this book. For a wonderful man he led a harder life. It really got deep into his character. I love the harper spies! After reading about Pinch I was happy that Nip and Tuck were very involved! One of my favs in the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2012

    Just finished Masterharper of Pern, & was extremely pleased

    Just finished Masterharper of Pern, & was extremely pleased with it! I was familiar with Robinton from trilogy of Pern, (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, & the White Dragon). I was very enjoyable to see the life Robinton had growing up-the love of his mother, the difficulties of dealing with his father, his loves as he grew up, & the tragedies in his life. It was also very enjoyable, to see the other characters of Pern, as they grew up-F'Lon, F'Nor, F'Lar, Lessa, Goghe, Silvana, Petiron, & his mother, Merrilan.. I think that every reader of the Pern books should read this, to get the full picture of the very complex person Robinton is! Well worth the money!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is one of the best books in the series with well-defined characters and it is very readable. I love the series and this book in particular.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    If you love the Masterharper as much as the people of Pern you will want to read this book.

    If you love the Masterharper as much as the people of Pern you will want to read this book.
    It tells how he came to his position and explains much about the harper hall. It is a wonderful book that I could not put down. One of Anne McCaffery's best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2012

    Very enjoyable. Very good read.

    Very enjoyable. Very good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Very good.

    This book was very good. I especially liked the descriptions of Rob's early life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Best

    The MasterHarper of Pern was/is my favorite book in the Pern Series. The story is perfect and feels so alive! Robinton, who was already one of my favorite characters, becomes even more so with so much detail of what his life was. Every page is incredible and everything comes together wonderfully, explaining a lot of the little things you might not think of in the other books. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the other books in the Pern Series, as well as to people who just want a good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2006

    LOVED IT

    I absolutely adore Robinton! Tied with Menolly, he's my favorite!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Wow

    It is rare that a book brings tears to my eyes. McCaffrey has truly written a masterpiece. The life led by this remarkable charecter was not always a happy one, and that is portrayed so well that you feel his losses, rejoice at his triumphs. It really left me thinking, and after reading it you feel like you know Robinton.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    Great Read

    This is a great book in the Pern series--truly enjoyed reading it--word of advice--you might want to reead some prequel books before this one to make sure you'll understand whats going on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2002

    Go, Robinton!

    Robinton is the best character! I haven't gotton to this book yet, but i'm reading it next. I personnally thought Menolly was good with him, but oh well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2002

    Pern Forever!

    Pern rules! Anne Mccaffrey has to make 100 more! I just started reading this series, and i'm already done. Not fair!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2001

    To All The Readers Of Pern.

    This book was one of my favorite books I have read this year. Do to the fact that Robinton is protrayed as a humanbeing and not a man with a heart of stone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2000

    Filling in the Gaps

    It explained so much that was missing in the other books. The who, what where and how. I really enjoyed this chapter in the Pern series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2000

    The best book!!!!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2000

    Amazing!!! Robinton finally has his own book!

    I'm an 12/f who has been reading the Pern books since the begining of the 1999-2000 school year it is now January and I've gottin to the book: 'Chronicles of Pern: First Fall' and I've loved them!!! And writing this book for Robinton was a very good idea! I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2010

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