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Dragon and Liberator
Timothy Zahn
Starscape, 365 pages

Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn's SF career began by selling SF stories to Analog magazine while he was a physics grad student at the University of Illinois. When his thesis advisor died, he decided to write full-time. He started with hard SF, writing the Cobra series of military SF novels. In 1984, he won a Hugo for his novella "Cascade Point." His writing has a distinctly humanistic touch, so it seems obvious to some that Theodore Sturgeon was an early influence. Zahn is perhaps best-known as one of the original authors commissioned to write novels in the Star Wars realm.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Allegiance
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Outbound Flight
SF Site Review: Night Train to Rigel
SF Site Review: The Green And The Gray
SF Site Review: Star Song and Other Stories
SF Site Review: Manta's Gift
SF Site Review: Angelmass
SF Site Review: Icarus Hunt
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Specter of the Past

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

Dragon and Liberator Dragon and Liberator is the final book in Timothy Zahn's YA series of adventures about Jack Morgan and his alien companion Draycos. The original concept was very neat -- Draycos and his people are refugees from another galaxy, with the unusual ability to become two-dimensional and be sort of a tattoo on appropriate hosts -- which, fortunately, humans are. Draycos' people, the K'Da, are fleeing maximally evil aliens, the Valahgua, and in the first book we learn that an advance party were ambushed at their planned new home, with only Draycos surviving, because of the fortunate arrival of Jack Morgan. Subsequent books have followed Jack as he adapts to his symbiotic relationship with Draycos, and adopts his effort to track down the villains, both human and alien, who are planning to destroy the remainder of the K'Da when they arrive in a few months. Jack has also gained a new friend -- of sorts -- in a similarly aged (15 or so) girl named Alison Kayna, and they have discovered another species like the K'Da, and Jack has learned a bit more about his long dead parents.

In this concluding volume, Jack, Draycos, Alison, and a couple more allies end up more or less hitchhiking with the villains in order to follow them to the secret rendezvous point at which the final confrontation will occur. It's all very fast moving, and pretty fun. There is safecracking, derring-do through the air ducts of spaceships, twists and turns and betrayals... but, alas, nothing terribly new and interesting in a science fictional sense. This is really because the book is a final book -- all the really cool revelations have been spent. There is another final book problem -- things are so desperate by this time that in order for the good guys to win, the bad guys must be pretty stupid. Conveniently, the bad guys have recruited help from aliens who are notoriously dumb. And the bad guys continually fail to take the obvious step of killing Jack or Alison when they get the chance... Ah well -- that's really part of the deal in this sort of book.

So, it's not a great book by any means. But it is fun. And the series is wrapped up quite satisfactorily -- we learn what we wanted to know: who is Alison Kayna? what is Jack's future? where do the K'Da really come from? All in all, I've enjoyed reading this series -- but I'm glad it's finished, as I think it had run its course.

Copyright © 2008 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at

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