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Dragon and Herdsman

(Dragonback #4)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,148 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Orphan Jack Morgan, after losing his Uncle Virgil, has bonded with Dracos, K’da poet-warrior who requires hours daily on his host's back to survive, and escaped with fellow mercenary Alison Kayna, to the primitive Rho Scorvi planet. But they find a small lost colony of Draycos’s own race, the Phookas, grown slow, lethargic, and unintelligent. Before a thief, soldier, and ...more
Paperback, Starscape, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Tom Doherty (first published May 30th 2006)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,148 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jesse Whitehead
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
A few years ago Timothy Zahn met with some relatives and one of them suggested to him that he should try writing a young adult novel. At first he laughed and thought it was a fun joke. The idea kept nagging at him and he started thinking about a story idea that, if the main character was changed just a little bit, could be a great young adult story. Plus, all of his books are strictly PG in content anyway so it might be a natural fit.

He decided to give it a try and began writing the Dragonback
An Odd1
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
K'da poet-warrior Draycos requires time like a tattoo every six hours on his host, orphan Jack Morgan 14, and tries to teach the former thief con-artist his honorable ethics. When former fellow student Alison demonstrates her superior mercenary training and rescues them from an ambush, she provides fuel credits to planet Rho Scorvi. Fat lethargic native Erassvas have K'da lookalike symbiotes, dumb mute Phookas rooting for grubs. After the Uncle Virge intelligence pilots their spaceship Essenay ...more
Joe Santoro
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: soft_sf, young-adult
Things really pick up in this one, as our heroes re-encounter Allison (the girl from the Mercenary company in the 2nd book), and end up on a forest planet running from the Maison Ring company as they try to save what appear to be a lost group of K'da that have sorta devolved into herd-like animals.

There are LOTS of new bits to the story, including exploring the nature of the K'da relationship with his host, and lots of moral musings on what makes a person (or dragon) a person.. very cool stuff,
Tobias Halpern
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The plot twists and turns in the exciting fourth book in the dragon back series. Jack and Draycos head to Rho Scorvi to drop off Alison, and in doing so find something that twists drayco's view of himself and his fellow k'da. This book is heartwarming, suspenseful, and exciting. You will find yourself unable to stop as jack embarks on an amazing journey across an unknown world to save himself, a helpless tribe, and an entire race. This book is 301 pages long.
Benjamin Espen
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fourteen year old boys still don’t make good plans. After escaping from the Brummgan slavers, the Chookook family, with a healthy dose of good fortune, Jack infiltrates another mercenary organization in order to steal their files. This time, Jack and Draycos know where to look because of an act of mercy that Draycos insisted upon back in Volume 1: Draycos took a few seconds to prop up a man he had disabled so that the mercenary wouldn’t burn to death upon the ground heated by the crash of his ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Please vote on list Best Timothy Zahn Novels

4.5 stars. Not quite as good as the previous 3 entries in the Dragonback series but still great. This one focuses more on character development and exploring the relationship between K'da and their hosts, rather than advancing the overall plot of the series. That's not a bad thing though because I was still engaged throughout the novel, and it was cool seeing Jack's character continue to develop. I also liked learning more about the K'da with the
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
The fun continues! This book is more of a side quest in the series, but it's still really good to read, and we learn more about the K'da people. A character from earlier in the series also makes a reappearance.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Zahn, Timothy Dragon and Herdsman, 299 p. Tom Doherty Associates – 4th in the Dragonback series.

When one of Jack Morgan’s schemes to get information about the K’da enemies fails, he is joined in flight by Alice Kayna from his mercenary days. The group flees to a planet where they discover primitive K’da, Phooka, which they must protect also they also try to escape their enemies. Ambushes, sneak attacks, stealthy moves and quick thinking help this book move along.

As this is the fourth book in
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the setting of this novel a lot, and I loved the return of Alison! I love the little flashes of foreshadowing and later plot development we get, too. I'm excited to see how all of it ties together in the end, but I have to wait for my hold at the library to come through!
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: digital-library
I love this book... But the ending! GAH! The ending messes me up trying to figure it out.
So, after my last post, I realized that I kind of liked the idea of going through a book by each of my top five authors. And since I had just done a YA Leguin novel, it seemed only fair to follow it with another YA novel; this time, I went to Timothy Zahn, specifically back to his Dragonback series.

For those who don’t feel like playing catch up: the Dragonback series is a Young Adult Science fiction series by Timothy Zahn, which follows the adventures of a young con artist/thief named Jack
Denae Christine
Reader thoughts: The plot against the K'da really starts to become clear in this book as loose ends are connected and as the stakes in the race against time just keep climbing.

Alison Kayna reappears and begins to play a major role, which is way cool. Her secretive and sinister character is an appropriate backdrop to Jack's thief-turning-honest-hero outlook and Draycos's awesome poetwarrior ethic. We get to see Draycos being awesome and Alison being sneaky and Jack being all-around earnest.

John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dragon and Herdsman (2005) 299 pages by Timothy Zahn.

Fourth book in the Dragonback series. Jack Morgan is a fourteen year old boy. Orphaned at three, brought up by his con man Uncle Virge. Virge died when Jack was thirteen, before he died he programmed the computer in the Essanay with his personality. Jack was hiding out on Iota Klestis when the advance party for the Shontine and K'da was ambushed and Draycos, a K'da poet warrior, was the sole survivor. Without a host for six hours, a K'da will
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At the conclusion of the last book, Jack picked up a passenger: none other than the enigmatic Alison. Agreeing to drop her off at an out of the way location turns into a chore far bigger than he could have anticipated when the mercenaries he's been tracking down decide to pay him a visit. Left without a ship and in the presence of aliens with a disturbing resemblance to Draycos, Jack takes on the role of a herder to guide everyone to safety.

Draycos has most of the moral issues this time around,
Stephan van Velzen
For this fourth installment, the Dragonback series has definitely slowed down a bit. Instead of furthering the plot directly, the protagonists spend the entire length of Dragon and Herdsman on a backwater planet, traveling through a huge forest while battling mercenary soldiers who are trying to kill them.

Fortunately, while there is no direct plot progression, small hints here and there definitely thicken the plot, and the series as a whole continues to grow more epic with each book.

Dragon and
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-the-best
This one was an absolute treat. I started this series looking for mindless reads, and while I enjoyed the first couple of books, they were mere distractions to take me away from reality for a few hours. Those first couple of books were fun, while the third one was a bit too depressing for my liking. Not depressing in a sad sense, but depressing in the sense that it makes you feel like you can't breathe, as if something's on your chest, as in, literally being pressed.

This fourth book, however, is
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This series has been a pleasant surprise. This 4th book offers up much of what made the rest of the series fun: the characters I really like by this point, the excellent storyline, the technology tricks, and the clever battle scenes. But it brings in some new elements to the series with fascinating questions about the origins of one of the main characters, the possibility that the whole basis of the overall conflict may not be the just cause the protagonists think it is, what makes a person a ...more
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Junius Johnson
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A strong finish to this series. I wish I had read it before I read the Quadrail series: the latter series seems to me to do everything this one does well but so much better. That said, this is a very enjoyable story with a very memorable and unique alien race, and worth the short time it will take to go through it.
We get to explore more of the symbiosis between K'da and hosts. Apparently, having a dragon on your back can change things even more than one expects. I found the Phooka to be a very interesting subspecies.

Of course, with Zahn it isn't just an exploration of a species. There are plenty of gunfights, explosions, and maulings to go around. This is a very fun read.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-want, sci-fi, teen
Jack and Draycos continue to try to discover the rondeveouz point for the K'da refugees. This time they are discovered breaking into a Malison Ring mercenary base. After an escape gone wrong, Jack is stuck on a primitive world with a girl he can't trust, and a group of K'da who are animals, not people, and Jack must somehow protect them.
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
If I'd read this one first, it might have got three stars, but I would not have read any more of the series. In comparison to the series, this is a very weak entry. I can't think of anything within it that furthers the story, that you did not get from the previous entries. And worse, it was like reading a travelogue--we walked here, camped there, saw a river below . . .
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thief, dragons
Jack Morgan, a 14-year-old orphaned thief on a distant planet, is the symbiont (biological partner) of Draycos, a wise, dragonlike alien. Jack and Draycos are on the run from a squadron of bad guys including the Mailson Ring and Arthur Neverlin. They temporarily escape on a planet where they encounter the Phookas.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this series when I read it years ago and wanted to go back and rate it as a possibility for my brother-in-law Donnie and possibly Reece as well. Very original with cool gadgetry, real suspense, strong sense of right and wrong, and even humorous bits.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This series is getting a bit heavy and intense. There's so much going on. I'm enjoying some of the complexities that Zahn has explored and thought about through the journey of all the characters! Can't wait to finish!
It's a 3.5 really. I liked the character development throughout and the introduction of a new character was nice. Allison gets some much needed fleshing out and the action scenes were pretty good. A bit of an average read all round, though.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
oh, the last second betrayal
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another interesting tale of Jack and Draycos, with some very interesting new twists and a new character that I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't read these yet.
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Reread 2019
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Liked it but different from other books. Shows a more herder life for jack
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Dragonback (6 books)
  • Dragon and Thief (Dragonback, #1)
  • Dragon and Soldier (Dragonback, #2)
  • Dragon and Slave (Dragonback, #3)
  • Dragon and Judge (Dragonback, #5)
  • Dragon and Liberator (Dragonback, #6)