Robinton is a musical prodigy born to two Master musicians in the Harper Hall on Pern. He can talk to dragons, compose music, and play any instrument. His mother loves him and is proud of his accomplishments, but his father ignores and belittles him. Robinton succeeds in everything he does, becoming the Masterharper and leader of the Harper Hall, but he has to deal with the many problems that face Pern as the Ninth Pass of Thread approaches. He and his friend F'lon work together to protect the people from the greedy tyrant Fax, but Fax continues to gain power and teaches the people to hate harpers and not listen to their teachings. Robinton finds love with his wife Kasia, but is devastated by her death, and his own son is disappointingly retarded. But he continues to lead the harpers and people of Pern to prepare for the imminent Threadfall.
This report prepared by Rsegovia
Deadly Thread has not fallen on Pern for centuries and there are many who believe that it will never fall again. Those who believe and teach the old ways, such as the Harpers of Pern, are mocked and largely ignored. Robinton is born during this trying time to Petiron and Merelan. Merelan, blessed with a gorgeous soprano voice, had always wanted a child, but Petiron, arguably the most technically advanced composer in Harper Hall, did not. When Robinton turns out to be a musical prodigy and is rapidly surpassing those far older than he, Merelan is careful to keep his gift hidden from Petiron and his jealousy. Even though Robinton is not close to his father, he still has a relatively happy childhood, full of music and small joys. He discovers that he can hear dragons, for one, and enjoys befriending the dragonriders who come to call. Still, it is not without some relief that Robinton is able to start his career as a Harper Journeyman and travel to other holds.
Robinton quickly discovers that, although he believes Thread will return, most Pern residents do not share his assurance. Benden Weyr is isolated and the holds do not send their tithes as faithfully as they used to. There is also the insidious shadow of a threat from the self-titled Lord Fax, who has been slowly taking over holds and areas around his original land. Robinton is there to witness Fax's clever assassination of F'lar and F'nor's father, the Benden Weyrleader and watches helplessly as Benden withdraws from the people of Pern more and more.
But he is distracted by the love of his life - Kasia. He is overjoyed when they get married and envisions a whole new life and future for them. So Robinton is devastated when his beloved Kasia is taken from him after only a few months of marriage. He throws himself into his work, composing, traveling, trying to soothe people and convince them that the dragons are necessary to kill Thread. Much to Robinton's surprise, but no one else's, Robinton is named Masterharper when the previous one starts losing his good health. Robinton immediately sets out to support the dragonriders and do all that he can to keep an eye on Pern so he starts sending out spies and keeping track of Lord Fax...
I think that The Masterharper of Pern is one of McCaffrey's finest in the Pern series. Of course, much of that is because I have always loved Robinton as a character and was just thrilled to read his story at last. This book answered so many of my questions about Robinton - such as why he never married. It also explained his close ties to the dragonriders and why so many people knew and loved him on Pern. It is also an amazing story of a very talented man who refused to give up and become discouraged. He had a difficult childhood, his father all but hating him and his talents, his mother passed away when he was still quite young, his wife was taken from him precipitously, and his only child, Camo (seen in the Harper Hall Trilogy, as is Petiron), is born a half-wit and will never be able to do anything musically. Even though Robinton's life was difficult and full of tragedy, he spent all of his considerable effort and persuasion to keep Pern from ruin, insofar as he was able. Readers who are familiar with the Pern series will be delighted with this book. Readers who have not read anything in the Pern series will also be delighted with this book and will understand everything that is happening, although they may miss some of the subtle implications and nuances. A must have for any fantasy fan!
This report prepared by Debbie