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Reign of Fire Lizards
on 21 October 2006
"Dragondrums" is the third book in Anne McCaffery's "Harper Hall Trilogy" and is set on the world of Pern. Three years have now passed since "Dragonsinger", when Menolly first arrived at the Harper Hall. She remains a favourite of Masterharper Robinton, an still enjoys the company of her nine fire lizards. However, there have been some changes. Now a journeyman, she is much more confident and no-one questions her place at the Hall : in fact, she now seems to hold a certain amount of authority. However, although Menolly appears in "Dragondrums", she isn't the central character : this book tells the story of her friend and ally, Piemur.
"Dragondrums" begins with a disaster, albeit one that wasn't entirely unexpected : Piemur's voice breaks. As a result, his career as a singer has to be put on hold - something that also costs him his position as Shonagar's apprentice. Despite his initial fears, Piemur soon finds himself apprenticed to the Masterharper himself and working, at times, with Menolly and Sebell - another journeyman. As his tasks for Robinton will not be public news, however, he will officially be apprenticed to Olodkey, the Hall's drummaster. Although delighted with the prestige of working for Robinton, and hopeful that his work will include a visit to the Southern Continent, things aren't altogether easy for Piemur, His new classmates on the drum level make his life as difficult as they possible can - and his missions for Robinton are not without their peril.
Although the final book in the Harper Hall trilogy, "Dragonsong" didn't really seem to 'fit' - partly because the focus has shifted from Menolly to Piemur, and partly because it didn't really bring any `ending' to the trilogy. Although Menolly does appear in a supporting role, there were some loose <ahem> Threads that could've been dealt with and were ignored. I also thought Piemur's choices at the end of the book were a little strange, given everything that had been so important to him up until that point. However, like the previous two instalments, this is an easily read and enjoyable book that contains, for me, a stronger adventure element.