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Dragon Harper
Cover of Dragon Harper
Dragon Harper
The New Adventures of Pern Series, Book 3

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.

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.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter I 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...

About 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 3, 2007
    As a terrible plague sweeps Pern, a brave Harper apprentice emerges as a true hero in this satisfying third collaboration between McCaffrey m\xE8re and fils (after 2006\x92s Dragon\x92s Fire). The danger this time is not the deadly Thread but a virulent disease, similar to our world\x92s 1918 influenza epidemic or the more recent outbreaks of SARS. Kindan, a young apprentice of the Harpers\x92 Guild who\x92s dedicated to music, education and healing, had hoped to become a dragonrider, but failed to bond with a dragon at the last hatching. Then his education and budding romance with a lord\x92s daughter are disrupted by the epidemic, which poses a particular threat to the dragons and dragonriders who will be needed to fight the approaching Thread. The McCaffreys depict the crisis vividly, with enough detail to make the tragedy all too real and with enough hope to keep fantasy fans happy.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2007
    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 Kin"and "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.

    Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2008
    Adult/High School-This third collaboration takes readers to Pern during an outbreak of a particularly virulent flu. Kindan, a young harper, uncovers danger in old records; many years before, a similar epidemic caused 20 years' worth of damage, leaving Weyrs and Holds undermanned. With the next Threadfall only 12 years away, the dragonriders cannot risk bringing the disease to the Weyrs. But without the riders' help, will there even be enough holders left to defend in a dozen years? Kindan faces the unenviable task of finding a solution that protects everyone. "Dragon Harper" is as much a story of his coming-of-age and taking his place in society as an adult as it is a medical adventure. Many references to events and characters from previous volumes limits the audience to those familiar with the series, but Pern has many fans."Susan Salpini, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA"

    Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly "The McCaffreys' second fire-breathing collaboration . . . proves why these fabled dragons still cast a spell."
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune "Grittier than the early parts of the series; Todd's apparently brought a wider, more current worldview to Pern."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "Superb storytelling . . . essential for Pern fans of all ages."
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The New Adventures of Pern Series, Book 3
Anne McCaffrey
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