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Dragon and Slave    by Timothy Zahn order for
Dragon and Slave
by Timothy Zahn
Order:  USA  Can
Starscape, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This third in the Dragonback series assumes a knowledge of the earlier adventures - Dragon and Thief and Dragon and Soldier - which should be read first. Fourteen-year-old Jack Morgan carries a 2D dragon, Draycos, on his person. This poet-warrior of the K'da can materialize in 3D for limited periods of time, and has done so in the past to come to Jack's aid. Now Morgan feels bound to help Draycos, whose people are at risk from mercenaries.

As the story opens, they have arrived on Jack's starship Essenay at the planet Brum-a-dum. The Essenay's computer is imprinted with the personality of Jack's dead Uncle Virge, the conman/safecracker who raised him and taught him all he knew. They believe this planet holds clues to the identity of the mercenaries. The only problem is that the only way to get Jack in is as a slave. He expects it to only be for a few days, but of course things go awry. Jack finds himself at the mercy of merciless slavemaster Gazen, of large, brutal Brummgas, and of a very spoiled, demanding Brummgan girl child. Draycos helps him to survive these experiences, which arouse feelings of compassion and concern for others new to Morgan - perhaps Draycos' warrior ethic is contagious.

Jack meets an old adversary he called 'Snake Voice', frees friends made in slavery, but still has work to do before the risk of K'da annihilation can be averted - see how that unfolds in the forthcoming Dragon and Herdsman.

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