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Dragon and Soldier

(Dragonback #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,727 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Jack Morgan 14 aka Montana enlists with youngest trainees for Whinyard's Edge mercenaries, hired by Parprin daublite mining colony humans from "Agrist claim-jumpers", who in turn employ Shamshir mercs. Honorable warrior-poet Draycos 30ish hides as 2D tattoo on Jack's back, and encourages noble values while their space-ship Uncle Virge continues the tradition of his late se ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 10th 2005 by Starscape (first published June 2004)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  1,727 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
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Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
As with the first, this book may be targeted at "Young Adults," but it reads well for adults also. This second entry was better than the first, and the first was good. Book two did not have a slow moment. It hung together well. The ending was very strong.

When the first book ended, it left one major issue open. That issue is left open on this one also and probably won't resolve until the end of the series (book 6). This one added to the development of the story, so left additional storylines to c
Sarah B
I really got caught up in the plot of this book and enjoyed it much more than the first book in this series. The story was much more intriguing and Jack wasn't as annoying as he was in the first book. I think the plot also moved more smoothly too, which in my opinion helps a lot. The majority of the plot revolved around Jack trying to get information out of the computer system of a mercenary group that he has to join as a recruit. Even if he is just 14 years old. The plot moves swiftly with lots ...more
Benjamin Espen
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dragon and Soldier follows the same pattern as Dragon and Thief, the first volume in the Dragonback series. Jack and Draycos get into sticky situations, and then scrape by on Jack’s thievery, Draycos’ bravery, and sheer pluck. In the first volume, Draycos helped clear Jack’s name of a crime he did not commit, and in return, Jack now feels honor bound to help Draycos find the organization responsible for shooting down the K’da’s ship and killing all of his shipmates.

Since the only lead they have
Joe Santoro
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, soft_sf
Now that the preliminaries our out of the way, this one was a better novel, getting straight to the action, and being a far more interesting plot. Jack and Draycos inflitrate a mercenary company with the intent of stealing their info on other groups so they can try and track who set up the K'da. They end up on a world where two different groups are fighting for a mine and no one's quite sure who the good guys are. We also get the introduction of a new potential bad guy in Alison, a girl mercenar ...more
“You’re innocent until they absolutely prove otherwise. And for ten minutes after that, too.”

Good story, consistent with the high tone set in the series opener, Dragon and Thief. Jack makes bone-headed decisions typical of a fourteen year old. Zahn, having saved the reader the apparently-mandatory Hogwarts school experience in the first tale lays it on us now.

“You know, Darycos, for being such a clever poet-warrior, you’re kind of slow on the uptake sometimes.”

(Sorry I don’t have more quotes: r
Tobias Halpern
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was just as good as the last book, with characters conflicting as Draycos and uncle Virge go toe to toe. In this great addition to an epic saga, jack must infiltrate the whinyards edge mercenary group to find information, but with the kda arrival impending, jack and draycos are faced with many setbacks. After enlisting, they are pulled into a war, where they must face conflicting loyalties. Then, they meet Alison kayna, who seems to have her own agenda. If you liked the first book, then you ...more
Stephan van Velzen
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
It looks like I'm reading one of the Dragonback books a week now. That's an easy accomplishment. These are wonderfully light and super easy to read. They also provide a lot of fun and excitement.

In this second installment, all the elements I mentioned in my review of the first book are still present—multiple story lines, extensive travel through a well-fleshed-out galaxy, and page-turner pacing. In addition, however, the characters have become much more fleshed out. The protagonists are moving
I'm enjoying this!

Soo, so much! I read the first one forever ago, and loved the concept. I'm fascinated by where Zahn is taking this series...
Brian Palmer
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Why wouldn't a young thief decide to infiltrate a mercenary company by going undercover as a recruit, if it might get him access to information he needs? Oh, maybe because the mercenary company he is joining seems to want cannon fodder more than they want to keep the recruits alive -- and might have some unpleasant secrets of their own. It's a good thing that the thief, Jack, has an ace up his sleeve -- or, more truthfully, a dragon "tattoo" on his back. The tattoo is an unusual alien life form ...more
Alexander Silvius
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Love the concept, but it was boring (Sorry Zahn). This does not reflect my opinion of his other works which are mostly fantastic. Almost every author writes some duds, including me (articles I've written elsewhere). This might deserve a 3 or 4 star rating for the intended audience: YA. But I sensed a preachy undertone about the use of child soldiers and maybe if he had developed that line a little more clearly and made it about that very thing, it might have been a better story, but it would not ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Jack joins a mercenary outfit in order to access their computer data for information about the mercenaries who attacked Draycos's people. Entertaining enough, but the reading level is really for young teens or pre-teens, so there were a few eye-rolling moments and a need for suspension of disbelief. At least this was a fairly short book. This series is beginning to look like what I suspected it would be - a series of action adventures strung together with no real resolution of the major story ar ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good thing Jack has Cracks with him or else he wouldn't be alive for this second book!

I am really enjoying these books about the boy and the Dragon. Jack is only 14 years old so he is allowed some slack, but he is really an obnoxious character. This book had a lot of artwork in it and I still don't know what is going on. The girl, Kayna, is very suspicious and I think she is ready to cause trouble. I am so ready for the third book!!6
Ashley Wilson
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Wasn't as good as the first book. This one was a little too 'young' for me(as in young adult). If I were still in my teens I might not have noticed how juvenile a lot of the elements in the story was. Other than that, the story was entertaining and fun to read.
I finished reading it so it couldn't have been too bad.
I love Timothy Zahn's work so I might try the third to see if it gets better.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our protagonist duo gets themselves into a mercenary group to try and get some data. What could go wrong?

Being the second part of the dragonback series, it makes me wonder how long the series is, as they are still trying to identify the group that attacked the K'Da-Shontine ship.

The philosophy clash between the Uncle and the Dragon is starting to get on my nerves. Jack seems to be handling it well, though it's changing him slowly.
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unexpectedly great seriss

Many of the elements have analogues in Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, but matched with YA science-fiction. Jack's age also reminds me of the awesome science-fiction series The Last Legionary, written by Canadian author Douglas Hill and published during the late 70s and 80s..
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This installment really helped develop the Dragonback world and characters. I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as the first book, but that's mostly because I prefer a good heist movie to a war movie any day. Still a solid read, though! ...more
Michael Mcfarren
Good action

Story is believable with string charters developed thru the book. I like the premise and overarching goal. Seems tedious at times. I’d like to see how this current line of action is going to save the dragons people. Next book...
Jeff Sabean
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fun series to read!

I accidentally picked up the first book thinking it was fantasy, and was pleasantly surprised. Now I can’t stop reading these books! I won’t give any spoilers so will just say the fast pace and fun characters make it hard to put down.
Ashleigh Read
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better than the first

I’m loving this world and the characters it’s populated with. Draycos and Jack make such an interesting team, and Allison is a great new character, too. Highly recommend.
Kai Wall
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Not quite as good as the first one, the story line was a bit slower at first, but it really picked up toward the end with an amazing ending!
Elliott McCrory
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The first book was it good. This one was not as compelling. It ended rather blandly - that's probably the top disappoinment for me. ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I little bit better than book one. It would make me want to go back and read the first.
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The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained


Are you telling me there's a ScyFy series written by the king of Star Wars novels about an orphan with his own AI-controlled spaceship AND who has a symbiont relationship with a dragon warrior-poet who lives on his back as a giant golden tatoo?

Yes. Yes I am.

The story was a blast, and I'm a sucker for dragons. Slightly unfortunately, I found the Dragonback series to be well written for the demographic it'
Mr. Southmayd
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
It took me quite a while to get through this book in the series. I liked it well enough to continue keeping the next books on my list. Though there was plenty of action to keep the excitement here, it would have been nice to see more character development from the main characters. A small dose in the beginning and then a small dose that the author decided to point out to the reader at the end really seemed like a pitfall here. I do hope the series continues to be entertaining, but with an added ...more
An Odd1
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Jack Morgan 14 aka Montana enlists with youngest trainees Whinyard's Edge mercenaries, hired by Parprin daublite mining colony humans from "Agrist claim-jumpers" p96, who in turn employ Shamshir mercs. Honorable warrior-poet Draycos 30ish hides as 2D tattoo on Jack's back, and encourages noble values while their space-ship Uncle Virge continues the tradition of his late selfish Uncle Virgil, con artist. Recruit Alison is expert, already has militia experience - and secrets. In the book's closing ...more
John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dragon and Soldier (2004) 299 pages by Timothy Zahn.

The second novel in the Dragonback series. This picks up right after the end of book one. At this point Jack and Draycos are now free to tackle the problem of finding out how to stop the Valahgua before the Shontine and K'da refugee ships enter the Orion arm of the galaxy.

They don't have much to go on, just the type of ships that destroyed the survey party, and very little else. There are too many Djinn-90s to look into the public records to f
Denae Christine
Reader thoughts: These books just get better and better the more times I read them.

The soldiering cover was my least favorite. It felt like too long of stakes for too little gain. We get to see Jack and Draycos be awesome, but they are so much more awesome in the next books that this one is almost skippable. (Except for Alison, of course.)

To put it bluntly, I can't decide which of the next four are my favorite. (Is it 3, where Jack is a slave and has such a perfect ending? Is it 4, where we see
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having cleared his name, Jack sets out to trace the mercenaries that blasted Draycos' people. To do this, Jack joins a mercenary organization, figuring he can use his proximity to their systems to break in and steal what he needs. Things go wrong almost from the start when Jack is prematurely shipped into a war where right and wrong are nowhere near as clear as he believes them to be.

It looked so easy... and then went straight through the floor. The book is very streamlined, focusing on action w
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fun science-fiction on the lighter side. 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. Also, you really feel the irritation of the main character as he says "Skip it" 1000 times rather than explain his colloquialisms to his alien friend.

Been reading th
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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

Other books in the series

Dragonback (6 books)
  • Dragon and Thief (Dragonback, #1)
  • Dragon and Slave (Dragonback, #3)
  • Dragon and Herdsman (Dragonback, #4)
  • Dragon and Judge (Dragonback, #5)
  • Dragon and Liberator (Dragonback, #6)

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“lawyers and soldiers came out of the same expensive box. If you couldn’t settle things without them, you weren’t going to like what it cost to settle things with them.” 0 likes
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