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.
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 EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved