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Dragon and Thief (Dragonback #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,082 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
Jack Morgan 13 has a dragon on his back - literally. The warrior K'da species are symbiotes, can only live six hours without their humanoid host. Draycos 30s is the sole survivor of the three ships destroyed scouting for their refugees, and Jack is the only possible choice. They may be an odd couple, but together they're more than the sum of their parts. They are destined ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Starscape (first published February 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tamora Pierce
Apr 09, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-ya-yr
A dragon-like warrior who requires a host to live more than six hours, fleeing the massacre of his people, finds a new host and a new set of problems in teenaged Jack Morgan, who has been educated to be a thief but doesn't like the job. Jack and his con man and thief Uncle Virgil were fleeing their enemies when Uncle Virgil died. That's when Draycos, escaping the ruins of his ship and his dead host, finds Jack. Now the two of them are fleeing people who will stop at nothing to find Uncle Virgil, ...more
In terms of children's literature, this series is ancient, with this first book written in 2003. But I'm glad I picked it off the maybe-to-be-weeded shelf at my library and gave it a try, because it's quite a good science fiction/ thief heist adventure for middle-grade kids. Now I have another series to complete, thanks to a cliffhanger ending that should have been obvious to me given that this is a six-book series. This really isn't anything other than a light, fast-paced diversion, but it's we ...more
What is better than a sentient, two-dimensional life-form that lives on your skin like a tattoo and gives excellent advice? One that becomes an awesome, three-dimensional warrior-poet dragon, of course. Draycos, the K'da warrior, needs a host, and he finds one in Jack Morgan a fourteen year old reformed con man. As their unlikely friendship solidifies there are battles--in space and in person--mysteries, and con artistry all around. With an amoral, personality-filled AI rounding out the strange ...more
Oct 03, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
I think I read that this is suppose to be a teen series. Other than only being 250 pages, and the protagonist being 14, I don't know why that would be. Zahn rarely uses swearing and other "adult" content, so that "lack" doesn't seem to contribute either.

Regardless, I enjoyed the book. It starts a little slow, but the typical good writing of Zahn prevails, plus this has a fast, satisfying, better than you're usual Zahn ending.

There were two problems/objectives and only one of them resolves. It is
Stephan van Velzen
Feb 03, 2014 Stephan van Velzen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stephan by: Rebecca
Until this week, I was only familiar with Timothy Zahn as the best author of Star Wars' Expanded Universe. The thing I love about his Star Wars book is that they're all over the place, having multiple story lines going on at the same time, with the characters constantly traveling from one end of the galaxy to the other, and back again.

While Dragon and Thief is a fluffy, simple, and short young adult book, it has that very same charm: the two main characters travel across space, and with every po
Jessica Harmon
Oct 22, 2014 Jessica Harmon rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy
I picked this book because I needed my "dragon" spot filled on the reading bingo. I asked a friend which dragon book I should read and she said this one. You could make a case that Draycos is not really a dragon because he’s an alien. But it’s in the title! And Jack calls him a dragon more than once. Draycos is a symbiotic alien, he can’t live apart from his host for more than a few hours. But he will help and defend that host using all of his skill as a warrior. He can also got through walls us ...more
The Boy With The Dragon Tattoo...that can fight and compose poetry

Sometimes, an author comes up with a simple but attractive idea that's so ingenious in its design, that I wonder why I haven't seen this idea before in other things.

In this case, it's the idea of a draconian alien of human intelligence and the capacity for mild deadpan snark that can convert itself into a tattoo on a host body and therefore turn from a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional object. A portable companion th
Dec 26, 2014 Ressa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oooh-goodie
When I found Dragon and Thief on goodreads, I saved it to my to-read list simply because it had "dragon" and "thief" in the title. I was winding down on my "thief" streak, and ready for a new binge - which turned out to be "dragon"s. (I am slightly obsessive with certain trends until their hold on me weakens; then, unless they are very good, I forget about them until years later).

The Dragonback series was the most fabulous start to any streak I have ever had.

What's really good about the Dragon
An Odd1
Nov 19, 2012 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fan
Title's "Thief" is legally under-age minor Jack Morgan 13, on the run with spaceship and Uncle Virgil - or Virge? - falsely accused of theft by megacorp Braxton Universis. Titular "Dragon" is K'da warrior Draycos 30ish, whose species cannot survive more than six hours from symbiotic conversion to 2D skin coating over back of host. To survive, Draycos must hop on Jack, first ever human host. The same hissing voice directs the destruction of Draycos' three refugee scoutships, supposed to confirm s ...more
I absolutely loved this book when I first read it at 14. The series as a whole is surprisingly touching, and even though the books each relate a separate adventure, it combines into a whole very well. The plot is exciting and takes a lot of interesting, clever twists. Unlike a lot of YA fiction, the dialogue is engaging and not at all shallow. Especially in the later books of the series, Zahn does an excellent job of foreshadowing without really giving the truth away to his readers, so despite t ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Devi rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I saw it on the library sale shelf and after reading the back, snatched it right up and I was not disappointed! It grabbed me right from the start and I sat here and stayed up all night to finish it. Tempted to skip sleep entirely so I can start on volume two lol

Draycos' character and how he needs Jack to survive and the way the symbiosis works between the two, was fascinating. I loved the plot, barely left me a minute to catch my breath, but the intrigue didn't go overboard,
John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 John Loyd rated it it was amazing
Dragon and Thief (2003) 228 pages by Timothy Zahn.

This was classic Zahn, possibly written for a younger audience. Jack Morgan is a 14 year old orphan who has been raised by his uncle Virgil. Virge had a small space ship that he used to carry freight and wasn't past being a con man, safe cracker or thief. Just before he died he had his thoughts and some of his personality loaded into the ships computer.

The K'da and Shontine are not from outside the Orion arm of the Galaxy fleeing a race that has
Oct 28, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was amazing
It's the first book of the Dragonback Chronicles. Jack is a 14 year old orphan who was raised by his uncle after his parents died. His uncle, a con man and a thief, taught Jack to follow in his footsteps, at least until he died and left Jack with only his ship and a computerized version of his personality. Draycos is the last survivor of an advance scout checking out a new planet. His ship came under attack by unknown enemies, and now the rest of his race is in danger of meeting those same enemi ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Olivia rated it it was amazing
This book was really good. I admit I was a bit hesitant when I first picked it up, simply because the author also writes Star Wars books... but after the first couple pages I was hooked. I enjoyed it and recomend it to anyone who likes sci-fi even a little bit.
Miz Lee
Oct 13, 2014 Miz Lee rated it it was amazing
This book delivered on its promise to be a page turner. There is plenty to keep the series going in the plot of this, the first in a series of six books. The two main characters are a K'da poet-warrior from a different arm of the galaxy spiral and a former thief bent on reformation. I look forward to the development of their symbiotic relationship and the emotional and moral changes in the thief due to the influence of the K'da. Oh, and in the mix is an uncle with a different philosophy of life ...more
Sandy D.
Jul 07, 2013 Sandy D. rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books, fantasy
Too much action and not enough character development for me, but I'll bet this SF adventure would be perfect for boys ages 10+.
I found it to be "blah"...
May 06, 2013 Jp36 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, read-in-2013
I enjoyed the book more than I thought, probably due to Zahn's style which I thoroughly enjoy, I have since I can remember disliked child stars/protagonists/heroes. Too often they are cast as the helpless pitied beings to be looked down on or excused for the selfish/rash actions that make me hate them. Or else they are the special wonders of heaven blessed to do all things right in a world full of idiot/evil/adults that just don't understand how special and brilliant they are.

This was not the ca
Dec 06, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it
Shelves: 13-25
Real rating: 3.5

Jack Morgan is fourteen, orphaned, and in hiding on a remote planet after being accused of a crime he did not commit. His plan to lay low quickly dissolves when a ship crashes not far from him, and he rescues the sole survivor. Draycos is a K'dar warrior, who cannot live without a host for more than six hours. Jack and Draycos have no choice but to team up, for neither can accomplish their tasks without the other. Jack wishes to clear his name, while Draycos must save his people.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2008 Shannon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone ages 10 and up
Shelves: teen, childrens
Jack Morgan, a 14 year old reformed con artist, happens to have really bad luck. His Uncle was killed, he's been framed for murder, and he stumbles upon a conscpiracy to destroy two entire alien species. Jack joins forces with Dracos, a warrior from one of the attacked species, and they set out to find who's behind the ruthless attack.

This book is a fun YA read. Jack is a great main character. He's trying to escape his life of cheating and lock picking, yet he constantly finds himself having to
Denae Christine
Mar 30, 2016 Denae Christine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans who're looking for something new
Reader thoughts: I absolutely love these books. TZ will use every detail to make his stories work toward a triumphal end. Yet, each subsequent book adds more mystery to the whole.
The covers to this series are awful, but the story is amazing. Zahn throws in little hints here and there that you won't pick up on until your third time through. Then you'll realize how well planned it all is, that every detail is important, and that the ending is foreshadowed from the first book. It is a satisfying ta
Feb 08, 2013 Kaitlynn rated it liked it
Timothy Zahn's first foray into YA is a solid, if unremarkable, novel and a fantastic intro for younger readers into the sci-fi genre, particularly if they have only read straight-up fantasy previously.

Dragon and Thief is about a young boy named Jack who has been framed for a crime he didn't commit. He stumbles upon Draycos, a k'da poet-warrior, and the two find a unique bond and shared goal.

The most striking aspect of this book is the dragon. The k'da are an alien species boasting superior str
Mar 15, 2012 Riki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-the-best
I read this book while I was on a binge for adventure books that weren't so dark, as is the common trend in most fantasy/sci-fi nowadays. This was really enjoyable and immersive, a short and fast paced book.

The protagonists are fun to follow along. Jack isn't an annoying teenager. Growing up, I imagine you'd know a kid that was like Jack, or at the very least you might wish you were more like him in some ways. He's a believable character that you'll easily root for despite his flaws. Draycos, hi
May 07, 2008 Amber rated it really liked it
Draycos is a K'da poet warrior and the sole survivor in a battle against his mortal enemies, the Valahgua. Their purple death-beam has simply snuffed out the lives of the entire space crew of the Havenseeker, including his host, Polphir. Draycos is a dragon-shaped being with his physical form existing in several dimensions. On his own, you can see him in the regular three-dimensional shape. With his host, he only exists on the first and second planes and becomes like a living tattoo wrapped arou ...more
Jan 11, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, when I could wrestle it away from my boys who kept looking at the cover and asking all sorts of questions about what was happening in the book. And speaking of the cover, why the heck is the dragon on the front green when he's really gold with reddish edges????

There was a lot of action and intrigue and new technology. The characters were interesting and I appreciated the humor throughout. The book deals a lot with friendship and trust and loyalty. All good things
L Carvel
Feb 03, 2016 L Carvel rated it it was amazing
Absolutely, hands down, LOVE this series. The protagonist is vulnerable and in need of help, as is the alien who takes up residence on his skin. I know, it sounds like a weird premise, but Zahn skillful weaves the elements and has us cheering the hero, booing the villains, and celebrating the success. It is also great for readers who like quick reads, action packed movement, and believable characters.
Mar 17, 2014 Aerine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Really quite amusing! By the name I had anticipated a fantasy novel, but it is indeed set in space, with advanced technology, and old tricks! We touch on an alien species on the verge of being wiped out, and pair him with a young boy with his own problems. Together, they are getting ready to save whatever they can, while the alien teaches the young ex-thief how to have a high moral ground :)
Apr 20, 2015 Kailey rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I was really surprised by this book! I was expecting your typical dragon story, but this is completely different from anything I've ever read about. It's half dragon-fantasy, part science-fiction space wars, part murder mystery, with a smattering of corporate espionage.
The writing is fast-paced and perfectly crafted. Difficult to put down once you've started reading.

Fantastic story and I loved loved the characters so much! Draycos is an especially fascinating character. Every word he says is
Bryce  Bodily
This book was everything that I was hoping for in a Timothy Zahn book. The main characters Jack and Draycos are so entertaining to read about. Jack is your typical teenage boy who is out on his own and trying to make things work out. Draycos is an honor bound sentient dragon that needs a host to pair with in order to survive. They make quite the pair as they work together. This book is completely sci-fi, but Zahn has found a perfect way to insert a dragon into the mix without making his readers ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: YA fantasy magic tattoo [s] 6 31 Nov 26, 2013 02:27PM  
What's The Name o...: YA book series - solved [s] 3 27 Mar 21, 2013 12:18PM  
Dragons, dragons ...: Dragonback 1 6 Sep 14, 2012 05:30AM  
Dragons, dragons ...: Draycos 1 3 Sep 14, 2012 04:02AM  
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Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more
More about Timothy Zahn...

Other Books in the Series

Dragonback (6 books)
  • Dragon and Soldier (Dragonback, #2)
  • Dragon and Slave (Dragonback, #3)
  • Dragon and Herdsman (Dragonback, #4)
  • Dragon and Judge (Dragonback, #5)
  • Dragon and Liberator (Dragonback, #6)

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