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Dragon Harper (Dragonriders of Pern Series #20)

Dragon Harper (Dragonriders of Pern Series #20)

4.4 68
by Anne McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey

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For millions of readers the world over, the name Pern is magical, conjuring up grand vistas of a distant planet whose blue skies are patrolled by brave dragons and their noble riders, a paradise threatened by the periodic fall of deadly Thread. But not all dangers descend from the skies. Now, in their third collaboration, Anne McCaffrey and her son, Todd McCaffrey,


For millions of readers the world over, the name Pern is magical, conjuring up grand vistas of a distant planet whose blue skies are patrolled by brave dragons and their noble riders, a paradise threatened by the periodic fall of deadly Thread. But not all dangers descend from the skies. Now, in their third collaboration, Anne McCaffrey and her son, Todd McCaffrey, spin a tale of a mysterious illness that may succeed in doing what centuries of Threadfall could not: kill every last human on Pern.

Life in the Harper Hall is busy for best friends Kindan, Nonala, and Kelsa. As the only female apprentices, Nonala and Kelsa are the butt of jokes and easy targets for the bully Vaxoram and his cronies. But when Kindan springs to Kelsa’s defense, he winds up in a fight for his life against the older, bigger Vaxoram–a fight that will lead to a surprising friendship.

Meanwhile, in nearby Fort Hold, a clutch of fire-lizard eggs is about to hatch, and Lord Bemin’s beautiful young daughter, Koriana, is determined to Impress one of the delightful creatures. At the hatching, Kindan Impresses a fire-lizard of his own . . . and wins the heart of Koriana. But Lord Bemin mistrusts harpers and will not hear of a match between his daughter and the low-born Kindan.

Then fate intervenes in the form of a virulent plague as fast-spreading as it is deadly. Arising suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the contagion decimates hold after hold, paying no heed to distinctions of birth. In this feverish crucible, friendship and love will be tested to the breaking point and beyond. For with Threadfall scant years away, the Dragonriders dare not expose themselves to infection, and it will fall to Kindan and his fellow apprentices to bravely search for a cure and save humanity.

The price of failure is unthinkable. But the price of success may be even harder to bear.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Nearly 500 years have passed since humans landed on Pern, and, according to their records, another fall of deadly Thread, a lethal rain of spores from space, is only a few years away. As young Kindan struggles with his studies at Harper Hall and sets his sights on becoming harper to the dragonriders of Benden Weyr, he and his friends become aware of a mysterious and usually fatal plague infecting the holds of Pern. Despite their own vulnerability, the apprentice harpers and healers battle against time to find a cure before the sickness spreads to the dragonriders. In their third collaborative effort (after Dragon's Kinand Dragon's Fire), McCaffrey and her son Todd delve into Pern's early years as they continue the story of Kindan, whose talent with the dragon kin of Pern has brought him to the attention of holders, harpers, and dragonriders. Strong storytelling and compelling drama, along with memorable characters, make this essential for any library patronized by fans of Pern and its dragons.

—Jackie Cassada
School Library Journal

This sequel to Dragon's Kinand Dragon's Fireis the third collaboration between the McCaffreys. The story finds young Kindan, an apprentice in the Harper's Guild (craftsmen in musicianship, education, and healing), coming of age and falling in puppy love. Though interested in him, Koriana is a royal-daughter to the Lord holder; as a commoner, Kindan doesn't stand a chance. In any event, the nascent romance is interrupted by an epidemic-level plague in which Kindan and his fellow apprentices frantically search through past records for clues to help with a cure, and in doing so Kindan learns that the dragonriders must not expose themselves to sickness so that they may live to fight the coming Threadfall (deadly, ticker tape-like space spores). While narrator Susan Ericksen uses her soothing voice evenly, the overall effect is as flat as it is lulling. This series has a loyal fan base, but the quality of the past few titles has reached a consistent low; this can only be recommended for large libraries where prior Pern titles returned high circulation figures.
—Douglas C. Lord Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

From the Publisher
Praise for Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

Dragon’s Fire

“The McCaffreys’ second fire-breathing collaboration . . . proves why these fabled dragons still cast a spell.”
–Publishers Weekly

“Grittier than the early parts of the series; Todd’s apparently brought a wider, more current worldview to Pern.”
–The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dragon’s Kin

“Superb storytelling . . . essential for Pern fans of all ages.”
–Library Journal (starred review)

“A guaranteed pleaser [in] one of SF’s most splendid and longest-lived sagas.”

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Dragonriders of Pern Series , #20
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Random House
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2 MB

Read an Excerpt


Put this on,” D’vin said to Cristov as they rushed to the Hatching Grounds. The white robe was the traditional garb for candidates, as every child on Pern knew from the Teaching Ballads.

Cristov suddenly realized that his heart was racing, his throat dry. In not much longer than it took D’vin’s bronze dragon to go between—no more time than it took to cough three times—Cristov went from being a miner recovering from an injury to being a candidate for a Hatching.

This can’t be happening, he thought. It should have been Pellar.

Pellar was the mute Harper who had rescued Cristov when his mine had collapsed, had saved Cristov when Tenim had purposely exploded the old firestone mine, and who had had a fire-lizard before Tenim’s hunting bird had killed it—and had nearly killed Pellar, as well.

Pellar deserved to be a candidate . . . but Pellar had insisted upon remaining at the newly named Fire Hold to help the young holdless girl, Halla, manage the Shunned of Pern to redeem their honor by mining the firestone of Pern.

“Cristov!” The voice, close by his ear, startled him. “You’re here! Excellent!”

Cristov’s eyes widened as he recognized Kindan. Turns back, he and Kindan had been enemies. Back then, Cristov had despised watch-whers, just as he’d been taught by his father. Kindan’s father had been a wherhandler, a person bonded to the ugly night-loving creatures who were only distant cousins to the great dragons that protected Pern. Infected by his father’s attitudes, Cristov had despised Kindan, and they’d fought many times as youngsters. In the end, however, Cristov had realized that it was Kindan who had been right and his father who had been wrong—and Cristov had found himself, at an early age, making a grown man’s choice and doing what was right instead of what was expected. He’d even come to regard the ugly watch-whers with respect bordering on awe. And now he greeted Kindan with a huge grin.

Kindan saw the robe clasped in Cristov’s hand and his eyebrows rose. He held up his hand and showed Cristov that he, too, had the white robe of a candidate.

“Great, we can go together,” he said to Cristov, as he pulled his robe over his head and tied it with the white belt.

“I thought you wanted to be a harper,” Cristov said in surprise.

“Harpers can be dragonriders, too,” Kindan replied with a big grin.

“You’ll be certain to Impress, after your watch-wher,” Cristov said. “Probably a bronze, too!”

Kindan shook his head. “I’ll just be happy to Impress,” he replied. “I’ll leave the bronzes to you.”

“Cristov, Kindan, hurry!”

They both turned and saw Sonia, the healer’s daughter, also dressed in white robes. “Oh, I do hope that egg’s a queen!”

Cristov knew that Sonia had been eyeing the funnily marked egg on the Hatching Grounds for some time. Traditionally, though, the queen dragon would carefully push aside any queen eggs, and Jessala’s Garirth hadn’t done so.

In fact, the egg looked so odd that the Weyr’s healer, Sonia’s father S’son, had been asked to examine it to be sure it was whole.

Garirth was so old that her gold hide was a mere pale yellow, and Jessala, her rider, was so pained with age that she rarely moved from her quarters. It was entirely possible that age had caused this egg to have come out wrong somehow. But S’son had declared it fine.

D’vin gestured for them to go forward, saying, “I’ll watch from the stands!”

Together the three moved to join the other candidates on the Hatching Grounds.

There were only twenty-three eggs on the Grounds. Cristov had learned that traditionally a queen would lay as few as thirty and as many as forty or more eggs. That Garirth had lain so few was a further indication of her extreme age.

Sonia, who had been examining the other candidates carefully, groaned. “There aren’t enough candidates! There are only twenty boys and twenty-two eggs. And there are no other girls, either.”

A rush of cold air from dragon wings startled them and they turned to see a smattering of boys and girls rush forward, dressed in white robes.

“Those are Benden colors,” Sonia said, pointing to a dragonrider waving in the distance. “B’ralar must have sent for them.”

“It’s M’tal!” Kindan exclaimed, waving excitedly to the Benden Weyrleader. M’tal waved back and gave him a thumbs-up for good luck.

“What if one of the Benden girls Impresses the queen?” Cristov asked.

“She’ll stay here,” Sonia said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if she found herself Weyrwoman at the moment of Hatching.” She cast a worried look at Garirth, whose head lolled listlessly on the ground beyond them. “I think Garirth and Jessala are only waiting for the hatchlings before they go between forever; they’re both so tired with age.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Anne McCaffrey, one of the world’s most popular authors, is best known for her Dragonriders of Pern® series. She was the first woman to win the two top prizes for science fiction writing, the Hugo and Nebula awards. She was also given the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement in Young Adult Fiction, was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and was named a Science Fiction Writers of America Nebula Grand Master. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1926, McCaffrey relocated to Ireland in the 1970s, where she lived in a house of her own design, named Dragonhold-Underhill. She died in 2011.

Todd McCaffrey is the bestselling author of the Pern novel Dragonsblood, as well as Dragon’s Kin and Dragon’s Fire, which he co-wrote with his mother, Anne McCaffrey. A computer engineer, he currently lives in Los Angeles. Having grown up in Ireland with the epic of the Dragonriders of Pern, he is bursting with ideas for new stories of that world, its people, and its dragons.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Dragon Harper (Dragonriders of Pern Series #20) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
loves10cats More than 1 year ago
todd's style is different than anne's but a good read
Xerxia_Xizel More than 1 year ago
kinda sad, but some pern novels are. still i enjoyed it very much.
21022102 More than 1 year ago
Great book. I really enjoy all McCaffrey books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think these are very goods books, I heard about the author after her death, but glad the son is continueing the series!
Dragon-Bonded More than 1 year ago
I've been a sci-fi fan all of my life and have loved the entire Dragonriders of Pern series. I've been very satified with Todd taking over the reins from Anne. He carries on the series very well. Nothing is better than a book I can't put down and the whole world ceases to exist until I'm finished. I always wait eagerly for the next book to come out. You'll love this series too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful addition to the pern series. This has many twists and turns, as well as many heart rendering points. If you want to know what they are you have to read!!!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Although apprentice Harper Kindan is disappointed not to impress one of the eggs containing baby dragons on the hatching grounds of High Reaches Weyr, he knows there will be other chances. He returns to Harper Hall and finds himself protecting the Harper young women from the senior apprentice Vaxoram. After getting some special training, Kindan and Vaxoram duel with the former winning. According to the terms of the duel Vaxoram is Kindan¿s servant and under his guidance. Vaxoram becomes a better person, genuinely glad when his friend impresses a fire lizard and worried what will happen when it is discovered that Kindan is in love with a Lord Holder¿s daughter--------------- These worries are swept aside when a new danger threatens Pern. A super flu starts spreading from hold to hold and nobody knows how to cure it. The records show a plague like this hit once before and it took twenty turns to recover from the aftereffects. With thread coming in twelve turns, the weyrs have to quarantine themselves so they will have enough people and dragons to fight thread. It is up to the Holds and the information gathering of the Harpers to find a way to have the plague burn itself out before the population will not be able to produce goods and grow crops because there won¿t be enough people to do it. Kindan plays a big role in trying to stop the spread of the disease and caring for its victims.------------- Readers who have read any of the Pern books will find DRAGON HARPER just as exciting and enthralling as all the other books in the long running saga. . The collaboration between Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd McCaffrey creates the same voice as if mom wrote this alone. There is plenty of action in DRAGON HARPER but the heart of the books lies in the characters who come together during the crisis.--------------- Harriet Klausner
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I want even more Pern . I have read them all at least once and am thinking of buying all in e-books to read again.
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This book ties some ends from earlier books. If you are reading the entire set it is helpful.
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Great book, I loved it. Todd is great just like his mother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the part where they all survived the flu epidemic.
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