Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn

Jack Morgan is 14, an orphan but for his con-artist Uncle Virgil who, for some reason, never seems to leave their ship, the Essenay. Jack is also in trouble, but for once, it's for something he didn't do. Jack and Virgil have decided to lay low on an out-of-the-way planet until the heat dies down, but a quiet time just isn't in the cards for them. They witness an attack and crash landing of a large alien ship, the Havenseeker, and go to investigate (and maybe see what they can pilfer in the process). The wreckage yields no survivors--apparently, until Jack stumbles across a dying dragon-like creature that, in a surprise attack, jumps over Jack and seems to disappear--but not exactly. Somehow, he has become flat and is riding on top of Jack's skin like some strange tattoo--who can move around and talk with Jack from this unusual location. Jacks learns that the creature's name is Draycos, a K'da poet-warrior, and apparently the only surviving member of an advance colony ship for the refugee K'da and Shontin peoples--who are fleeing the Death weapon being used against them on their home world. Thing is, the Death weapon seems to have met them at their new home and Draycos must find out how and who is responsible if he is to save his unsuspecting people. To do THAT, he must first help Jack solve his own problems with whoever seems to have framed him for a serious crime. I wish I could do this storyline justice--and hope that I'm not just making it sound silly b/c the story is anything but that. There is enough action, intrigue, humor, and complexity to leave you on the edge of your seat, and on the reserve list at the local library.

The series so far (and in order from first to latest) includes:

Note to librarians and teachers: to date, I've only read the first two, but CAN NOT WAIT to get my hands on the 3rd to see what happens. Each book so far has moved the characters closer the answers they are seeking--and each book so far has had an ending that wraps up its own loose ends--BUT--each book has also brought into play new characters and added some new questions. While listed as YA, this book may also be popular among upper-level elementary advanced readers who are clamoring for titles like Eragon.