Starscape, Jun 2004, 17.95, 299 pp.
Teenager Jack Morgan still adjusts to his only known relative Uncle Virge being a computer simulation and his symbiotic relationship with Draycos, who exists as a two-dimensional "tattoo" on his skin or as a three-dimensional dragon. They met enemies attacked Draycos' ship causing it to crash planet side. They agreed to help one another.
Jack and Draycos conclude that mercenaries destroyed Draycos' ship since there was no backup like the military would have employed. Jack joins a mercenary outfit over the objection of Uncle Virge because he and Draycos figure that each of these paid to kill groups keep tabs on the competition. On the planet Carrion, using the name Jack Montana and with the clever help of Draycos, Jack joins Whineyard Edge's Edgemen, a teen recruiting center. In training Jack meets talented Alison, but soon he, his dragon, she, and others will be sent on a deadly assignment in which no one is quite whom they seem to be.
Mindful of Andre Norton's 1960s outer space adventures for teens of all ages and Star Wars, the second Dragonback adventure is a action-packed tale. Jack provides specialized thieving skills while Draycos furbishes cerebral military tactics. Alison is a wonderful new player while Uncle Virge remains the same as he wants his nephew to disavow the relationship that could kill him.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner