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Book Review:
Timothy Zahn , Dragon and Soldier

by Jerry Wright

Dragon and Soldier
Author: Timothy Zahn
Publisher: Starscape
Hardcover: 304 Pages
ISBN: 0765301253
Price: $17.95

Well, Timothy Zahn has done it again. Is there someone writing fast-moving adventure SF for kids like Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton these days? Absolutely, and Tim Zahn seems to be a leading exponent. Dragon and Soldier is a fine example of a Young Adult book.

We met young Jack Morgan and his symbiont Draycos in a previous book Dragon and Thief, and the adventure continues. Draycos, a symbiotic K'Da Poet-Warrior Dragon (who can only remain 3 dimensional for short periods of time) is searching for information that can protect the rest of his fellow K'Da, who will shortly be refugees in human space. Jack, a semi-reformed thief, is willing to help, but his protector, a sentient computer programmed with the personality of Jack's con-man "Uncle Virge" (now dead) wants no part of it.

To get the information they need, Jack decides to infiltrate a mercenary soldier outfit. For some reason, Whingefield Edge is enlisting (or more properly, indenturing) children from 14 on up to be trained as "child soldiers". As "Jack Montana" he goes through some limited basic training and uses his thief skills once to rummage through the base computers. He also meets with other youngsters, some very young, as well as the enigmatic Alison, an indenturee who seems to know more than the rest.

Jack and crew (including Alison) are picked for a special clerking assignment off-world, given minimal computer skills, and sent off, only to discover that nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

Thanks to the skills of both Draycos and Jack, the bad guys are thwarted, but more data is needed to help save Draycos' kin. And Alison will no doubt play a large part.

Fun book, fast moving, well written, and readable as a stand-alone, although familiarity with Book 1 would enhance the readers enjoyment.


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