Todd McCaffrey, working with his mother Anne McCaffrey, has brought yet another wonderful and inspiring story from the world of PERN. This collaboration between mother and son adds testament to the growing idea that PERN will indeed continue to come alive for the fans. PERN was first introduced to the world by Anne McCaffrey in 1976, and she has produced over 13 novel that have brought the dragon riding world to life for her fans. Dragon Harper is the third collaboration between Todd and Anne, and is masterfully written.
Dragon Harper takens place in the years AL 495-469, and continues the story of Kindan, a boy that played a very important role in the previous book Dragon Fire, also by Todd and Anne McCaffrey. Kindan moves on to Harper Hall as an apprentice harper, using his talents and skills to learn and grow in this fine craft. He demonstrates an uncanny ability to befriend and earn the respect of those in high ranking, both Master Harpers and dragon riding Weryleaders. He is a boy of great insight and true compassion. At the sime time he is a growing youth, subject to all of the challenges that adolescence brings–clumsy movement due to growth spurts, changes in his voice as he matures, social pressures of being a pre-teen/teenage boy, and the emotional rollercoaster that all over that age have experienced. He makes many mistakes and blunders, as we all do. This makes him a very believable character, one that readers can easily relate to. He also has the challenge of being under those who feels he is too favored by others in high ranking, and they make life more challenging for him. Like many youths, even though he has a great deal to contribute, his observations and insights are pushed aside and ignored when they should be listened to.
As time goes on and he overcomes great odds to battle a plague that is devestating PERN, he proves himself both to those who had faith in him to begin with, and those who had not recognized his worth. His quick thinking and wise use of the connections that he established in earlier years turn to the benefit of many. Many lives are saved thanks to his forethought and his ability to communicate well with PERN’s leaders. While there is much loss for him personally throughout the book, his character reacts in strong, yet very human and believable ways. Drawing on the information about the influenza outbreak of the early 1900’s, they incorporated a modern history tragedy into a gripping future world.
Todd and Anne McCaffrey again demonstrate the inate ability of the human spirit to rise above hardship and crisis. Dragon Harper is a story that is easy to immerse oneself into, and feel the emotions of the events. Both McCaffrey’s are very talented in making the reader feel that they are part of the story. It is truly an experience in the wonder and drama of PERN. I highly recommend Dragon Harper to those who enjoys fantasy, dragons, and a great read.