Dragon and Thief (Dragonback, #1)
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Dragon and Thief (Dragonback #1)

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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,449 ratings  ·  105 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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Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Dragons
165th out of 784 books — 1,510 voters
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Dragons/Serpents
23rd out of 249 books — 161 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,698)
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Tamora Pierce
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
Crowinator
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
Jim
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...more
Kathleen
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
Stephan van Velzen
Feb 03, 2014 Stephan van Velzen rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
An Odd1
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
Kiersten
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
Devi
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,...more
Kailey
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...more
Olivia
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.
Dan
I found it to be "blah"...
Rebecca
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 it leaves me wondering why I have not seen this idea before in other media and I end up picking up the book just based on that idea alone, regardless of whether or not I've even heard of the writer or his previous works.

In this case, it's the idea of a draconian alien of human intelligence and the capacity for mild deadpan snar...more
rezzafranciz
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).

What's really good about the Dragonback series is the way Draycos and Jack have such an amazing relationship. Right...more
Jp36
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...more
Samantha
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....more
Saphirablue
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon
Jul 03, 2008 Shannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone ages 10 and up
Shelves: childrens, teen
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...more
Kaitlynn
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...more
Riki
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...more
Amber
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
Arwen
Aug 20, 2008 Arwen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Lovers
Shelves: four-star, teen-reads
I must admit to being skeptical as I started this book. Timothy Zahn is best known for his Star Wars novels and I am somewhat soured on the Star Wars universe at present. But I really enjoyed this book.

The story is set far into the future, where humanity has left Earth behind, settled the stars and come into contact with other sentient beings.

Draycos, a K'da warrior, has lost his symbiotic partner after a betrayal has left him the lone survivor of a scouting mission. His people and their symbion...more
Heather
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...more
Toby Andersen
Dragon and Thief (part 1 of the Dragonback series) is a great little young adult adventure book. the story of runaway thief Jack Morgan and his symbiotic dragon is an awesome and entertaining read full of adventure and puzzles, twists and turns. Zahn writes convincingly and with some great edge to his dialogue - some of the conversations between the leads are very intelligent and interesting. The plot is solid and the twist is a nice satisfying surprise that sets up a neat cliffhanger for the ne...more
Aerine
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 :)
Denae
Apr 01, 2012 Denae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans who're looking for something new
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. Draycos is likened to a dragon, but sometimes he seems even better. He can go 2-D and has remarkable memory along with decent moral ethics.



Added in spring 2012:
So, I'm starting to read this series aloud to my siblings, and I find so many more minute details of hints hidden in the first book of things that don't happen until the 4th, 5t...more
Seregil
Jul 28, 2010 Seregil rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young teens
I bought this book because there was a huge sale at a bookstore nearby and I read it mostly while riding the subway. Now I think I'll have to find time to go buy the sequel, too.

It's a cute adventure book that shows again how fine the edge between fantasy and sci-fi can be. I'd normally call this a sci-fi book, but it clearly has some strong fantasy elements. It is clearly, however, an ideal book for younger readers. I'd have given it 5 stars out of 5 when I was around 13 years old. Now it's a...more
Joshua
Fun sci-fi. Falls in the juvenile category, which means (thankfully) that it is free of the sex, nudity, gore, and foul language that haunts so much of the genre. Writing is a little repetitive, as key phrases always seem to be written out long hand, "poet-warrior of the K'da" being one of those phrases. But this is fun light reading with some interesting sci-fi elements (one being a 3 dimensional being who "rests" in a fourth dimension, thereby appearing 2D in 3D space.... which has all sorts o...more
hagel.kevin
This book was pretty good... It has a newer and more original cast of aliens than are usually in a science fiction novel, a strong plot, and a solid foundation for the upcoming books in this series. My complaints are that it was a little too short for my tastes, and that it was pretty predictable, but overall I liked it. I would recommend it to someone who wanted a short, easy series to follow up on. The sequels for this book are Dragon and Soldier and Dragon and Slave, both of which can be foun...more
Jay Michaels
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn (2003). The first "Dragonback" novel solidly sets the groundwork for the series. It's marked "YA" (Young Adult), most likely because main character Jack Morgan is 14 years old.

Zahn plants hints for later revelations, which propel the story nicely as the series progresses. He wraps up each installment with a "gotcha" that spurs the reader on to the next book in the series.

Zahn's storytelling prowess is in full force here, with believeable characters who wrestle...more
Darcinia
Fun and exciting, I can't wait to find the rest of the series!
Good clean adventure, a good one for middle schoolers on up.
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Dragons, dragons ...: Draycos 1 3 Sep 14, 2012 04:02AM  
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12479
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...
Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1) Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #2) The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #3) Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, #1) Vision of the Future (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, #2)

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