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Dragon and Thief: The First Dragonback Adventure Hardcover – February 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dragonback (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765301245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301246
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Less complex than such recent novels as Manta's Gift and Angelmass, this start to a new SF adventure series from Hugo Award-winner Zahn will appeal largely to younger readers. Fourteen-year-old orphan Jack Morgan, former small-time thief, is on the run, framed for theft from megacorporation Braxton Universis. Hiding out on an unoccupied planet, his only companion an artificial intelligence programmed with the personality of his con man uncle Virge, Jack witnesses a battle between incoming spaceships. While looking over the wreckage, he meets Draycos, a dragon-like K'da, sole survivor of an advance team of K'da and their Shontine allies-murdered by their enemies, the Valahgua, with a terrible energy weapon called "the Death." With Valahgua-backed mercenaries searching the planet for survivors, Jack and Draycos work together to escape. Despite Virge's continuing doubts, Jack agrees to help Draycos find out who betrayed his people; but first they must prove Jack's innocence and get the police off his back. Along the way, each will earn the other's trust as they learn to work together as a team. Zahn keeps the story moving at a breakneck pace, maintaining excitement even when the plot becomes cliched.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Orphaned, 14-year-old Jack Morgan, raised to be an assistant to his now-dead con-man uncle, Virgel, is on the run after being framed for a crime he didn't commit. He is hiding out in his uncle's spaceship--whose computer program, Virge, is a virtual Virgel--on a remote, uninhabited planet when another spaceship crashes after a fierce battle. The only survivor is the K'da warrior Draycos, a dragonlike being who cannot live apart from a symbiotic relationship with a humanoid host. Teaming up to clear Jack, the boy and Draycos embark on a fast-paced chase across space and into danger. Characterizations are intriguing, to say the least, as is Jack's wrestling with ethics and morality, but essentially the opener of the Dragonback series is a romp of a space thriller, provided you don't take it too seriously. Very YA in tone and plot, it would have fitted nicely into the short-lived, late-1980s YA sf line written by such adult sf luminaries as Silverberg, Zelazny, and Gerrold. Readers will welcome further adventures. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I look forward to the next books in the series.
S. Rankin
Clearly targeting the young adult audience, though the older Norton readers will enjoy the novel, DRAGON AND THIEF is an exciting science fiction adventure story.
Harriet Klausner
I loved the whole series, I read all 6 books in a couple weeks (I normally only read about one book a month).
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Erik1988 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
STORY: Fourteen-year-old orphan Jack Morgan,is on the run and finds himself hiding out on an unoccupied planet, his only companion an artificial intelligence programmed with the personality of his con man uncle Virge. Jack unexpectedly meets Draycos, a dragon-like K'da, sole survivor of an advance team of K'da and due to circumstance the two must form a symbiotic relationship in order to survive and find out how to clear Jack's name and get the police off his back.
1) SETTING - The title of the book brought expectations of a fantasy novel to mind so I was nicely surprised to see it was a sci-fi story. We get little peeks into an alien planet (it doesn't feel too alien though), space station/community, and a luxury space yacht (made me think of Fifth Element). The world is given very little detail but what is given is functional and entertaining. I look forward to the rest of the series fleshing the universe out a lot more.
2) CHARACTERS - I like our three protagonists a lot. Each one has thier separate voice and brings along individual strengths to the story. What is the appeal of the book is the growing friendship between Jack and Draycos. Nicely done.
My only complaint is that Draycos seems overly powerful to the point that it becomes almost too much to believe...even for an alien race.
3) PLOT - Here is where I knock things down from a 5 star to a 4 star. First of all, the story read fast and easy and before you know it you are done with all 250 pages. That is good. What is bad is that it feels like one big prologue (which it kind of is) to a much larger story, thus it leaves very little (almost nothing) resolved. How much longer do we have to wait till the next book comes out to hopefully resolve some of the story??? I hope not too long.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was originally pitched as a young adult series to the publisher, who apparently decided to market it as an adult series anyway. The result - a squinky little undersized 250-page hardcover, right on the heels of two 400+ page Zahn tomes in a row. I admit I was a little reluctant to shell out the cash for it, but I did anyway, because it's Zahn, and he's never let me down before.
I am SO glad I did. The effect of the original concept being a young-adult series seems to be that he takes all of his usual strengths and just condenses them, packing the same amount of awesomeness into a tighter space. His writing style doesn't seem to have been affected at all - I never felt like what I was reading was "dumbed down" or anything like that. All of the Zahn hallmarks are here - the complex and surprising plot, the human and sympathetic characters, and the taut and concise action scenes - just in a smaller space. As opposed to a cast of 20 characters, there is a cast of 2, but they're both GREAT.
Also, needless to say, the usual Zahn creativity with aliens and worlds remains - one of the main characters is a dragon thing that lives in 4 dimensions, and can either show as a three dimensional creature or two dimensional in our world. He lives wrapped around the other main character like a tattoo, and can jump off and fight at will. It's an interesting concept, and makes for an interesting character.
Overall, if you've ever read anything by Zahn and liked it, you won't want to miss this, despite it being overpriced and short. If you're new to Zahn, I'd reccomend a longer one like Icarus Hunt to get you hooked, but for anyone that's liked his earlier work, this will please you more than you expect.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Timothy Zahn's Dragon And Thief, the first novel in what became a six-book series, is space opera at its very best. The pair of main characters are actually an old tradition in fantasy novels - a streetwise orphan boy thief and a chivalrous warrior who are thrown together by circumstances - but this time they're in a science fictional setting.

Jack Morgan is fourteen, alone and surviving by his wits - and the help of Uncle Virge, an AI left in his ship's computer by his now-deceased Uncle Virgil, a notorious interstellar con-man. and the warrior happens to be a dragon-like alien. Draykos is a K'da warrior/poet, the K'da being an alien race of dragon-like creatures who have the ability to become two-dimensional. Zahn adds an additional twist with the K'da being symbiotes who require a humanoid host in order to survive, spending part of their time as living tattoos on the host's skin.

Although Dragon And Thief might well be viewed as a juvenile novel, it is in fact a highly enjoyable read for readers of any age. Zahn starts things off at a fast pace and keeps them moving, with twists and turns thrown in to keep things from being predictable. Jack is on the run, framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is hiding out on a remote and uninhabited planet while he tries to think things through. Draycos ends up stranded on the same planet when he and his companions - fellow K'da and their Shontine hosts, all fleeing from a race called the Valahgua who are bent on their extermination - are ambushed in space above the planet. After his ship crash lands, Draycos finds he is the only survivor. And without a Shontine host to return to, his life expectancy has become a matter of hours. When they meet up, each quickly realizes they will need the other to suvive.
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More About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the Hugo Award-winning author of more than a dozen original science fiction novels and the bestselling Star Wars trilogy Heir to the Empire, among other works. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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