Dragon and Soldier
The Second Dragonback Adventure
Dragon and Thief, the first novel in the Dragonback series, was named an American Library Association Best Book For Young Adults. The second novel, Dragon and Soldier is another fast-paced, compulsively readable SF adventure featuring an odd couple of reluctant partners on an unusual quest.
Draycos, a golden-scaled draconic K'da poet-warrior, was on a scout fleet ship when it was attacked, with him the lone survivor. Forced to find a new symbiotic humanoid host, he found Jack Morgan. Jack has been on his own, making his way by shipping interstellar cargo on the ship he's inherited from his Uncle Virgil, a con-man and thief who met with a fatal accident. Draycos has vowed to uncover those behind a vast conspiracy to wipe out his people, while Jack is determined to find out who framed him for a crime he didn't commit. Virgil, who survives as "Uncle Virge" in the ship's computer, is against their plan. But Draycos once saved Jack's life, so Jack feels an obligation to this strange creature who can slip onto the boy's skin, pressing against it like a living tattoo. Knowing that mercenaries were involved in the ambush that killed Draycos's fleet, Jack enlists in a mercenary outfit that practically enslaves adolescent recruits.
But the soldier's life isn't exactly what Jack had bargained for, especially when a mysterious girl is recruited into his group. Strange things are happening, and people and events are not always as they seem.
Title: Dragon and Soldier
Author: Timothy Zahn