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Dragondrums (1979)

by Anne McCaffrey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harper Hall Trilogy (3), Pern (9th pass)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,949331,654 (3.79)1 / 99
When his boy soprano voice begins to change, Piemur is drafted by Masterharper Robinton to help with political work and is sent on missions that lead him into unusual and sometimes dangerous adventures.
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
This one is a very quick read. If I had not been busy it could have been done in less than 3 hours. It is also a book that you get caught up in because the setting and characters are familiar. McCaffrey catches the sheer meanness of boys trying to get the best of each other. It may be her ability at showing human nature that keeps me reading her books. ( )
  GlenRH | Jul 26, 2021 |
I remember as a younger reader, thinking this book wasn’t quite as good as Dragonsong and Dragonsinger. However on this re-read, I liked it nearly as much, found the storyline just as engaging even though it has a different main character and a slightly broader outlook. By which I mean, it’s not so focused on one individual point of view, but also has events from the greater world and those impacts on everyone. A few chapters are from the viewpoint of the Masterharper Robinton, or of Menolly and Sebell. Menolly in this book isn’t quite recognizable to me. She’s so self-assured! It took me a while to find the one reference that notes the timeline- three years have passed. So Menolly is well-settled in the Harper Hall now.

This book is centered on the mischievous young man, Pieumr. He was a soprano singer but when the story opens, his voice is breaking so he’s no longer part of an upcoming performance. Instead he’s moved to the apprentice dormitory on the drumheights- patterns beaten on large drums being a main way of conveying messages on Pern. Robinton and Menolly have hinted at a special task they would like Piemur to do for them, but only if he can learn discretion. So when he incites jealousy from his fellow apprentices by learning the drum measures super quickly, and being singled out by the senior journeymen for special tasks as well, he keeps his mouth shut when they start to play dangerous pranks on him. Feeling like he doesn’t quite fit into the Harper Hall anymore, he adroitly picks up other opportunities instead and soon becomes involved- in a backstage kind of way- in local politics. Gets himself into an unexpected scrape -of his own making, really- and suddenly winds up in the Southern continent, holdless and on his own. Afraid to be accused of thievery (deservingly) he avoids people for a while, finding ways to survive- remembering well Menolly’s stories about how she’d lived alone in a cave. He doesn’t have a cave here on hot sand beaches flanking the jungle, but he finds ways to live through the dangerous Threadfall, and acquires a few animal companions as well. Then finally reconnects with representatives from the Harper Hall who’ve been searching for him, and realizes he can find a new place for himself, that doesn’t necessarily require returning to where he came from. I’d forgotten how well the details around Piemur’s adventure and survival story fill in the reader on how things work on Pern- from interhold politics, strife between thedragonriders of different times, the scantly described indigenous wildlife and how the fauna and flora vary on northern and southern continents. All this in a coming-of-age story with intrigue, spying and smuggling, dragons and the delightful fire lizards! Good reading.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Apr 30, 2021 |
Even after all of these years Dragondrums is still my favorite of the Harper Hall Trilogy.

I loved Piemur as a young girl and I still love his story today. This boy goes from always causing trouble and being sly to being put in a position that made him the target of some very nasty "pranks". Seeing him go from a happy, fun going, social carefree boy to sad, angry, and nonsocial was always heartbreaking for me. Piemur's whole world is turned upside down at the Harper Hall, all over his voice changing, and from there it just spirals out, one crazy event after the next. Seeing him try to navigate his new life, towards an unsure future was always compelling.

Im glad after all these years it still managed to keep its level of intrigue that compelled me to love it as much as I did when I was younger. ( )
  SweetKokoro | Jul 31, 2020 |
2019 reread via audiobook narrated by Sally Darling, borrowed from RBDigital ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 18, 2019 |
Most of this book is a good continuation of the previous ones in the series, but at the end, the sex comes back. Until that point, it's a fun young adult adventure with an impetuous but resourceful protagonist and a broader and more worldly outlook than the first two books. ( )
  themulhern | Jun 1, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne McCaffreyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Call, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darling, SallyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malczynski, ElizabethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated (and about time) to
Frederick H. Robinson
for many, many, many reasons,
not the least of which is the fact that
HE is the Master Harper
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The rumble-thud-boom of the big drums answering a message from the east roused Piemur.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When his boy soprano voice begins to change, Piemur is drafted by Masterharper Robinton to help with political work and is sent on missions that lead him into unusual and sometimes dangerous adventures.

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Book description
Of all the young singers at the Harperhall of Pern, Piemur was the one chosen for the leading role at Lord Groghe's Gather . . . and then his voice broke. Suddenly his whole future at Harperhall became uncertain.

But Masterharper Robinton, Menolly, and Sebell had other plans for Piemur. They were sure that his quick wits and discretion could be used to keep a check on the troublesome Oldtimers and their strange traffic in fire lizards. So, whilst serving as a messenger-drum apprentice, Piemur carried out special errands for the three. And it was on one such errand that he realized his wildest dreams.
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