by Timothy Zahn
Third in this series. It was a good story, even though the adventure is not my usual type. Jack and his symbiont companion are still trying to identify the enemy of Draycos\’ race. Having failed to do so as mercenary recruits, this time Jack deliberately gets himself sold into slavery, intending to hack the computers of the wealthy owner who has the right connections. Before ever having a chance to get close to a computer in the family household, Jack first has to survive his life of servitude- suffering deprivation, long work hours, unjust punishments and so on. He is astonished when his fellow slaves help him, with no obvious benefit to themselves. Draycos tries to help him plan an escape route and break into the house, but it isn\’t until the spoiled daughter demands him as her plaything (having seen him perform tricks for his companions) that he has a way in. It\’s not easier though. Inside the house is even more dangerous and tricky than just living in the slave quarters was. Somebody maybe is spying on them. Jack doesn\’t speak his owners\’ language. He guesses wrong at things several times. In the end, with a neat twist of irony, he finds the information he was after through no effort of his own. But then finds it impossible to leave safely- as now his skills as a conman and lockpick have been recognized by the owner, who plans to sell him to the highest bidder- or are there ulterior motives? I\’ve kind of left a lot out here- the plot got rather detailed and honestly sometimes it lost my interest but then new turns would make me eager to find out how they were going to get out of the mess. Something strange is happening with Draycos, too- his connection to Jack is changing, his senses are sharpening with no real explanation. I\’m curious to see what that\’s becoming, as the alien/human relationship is what intrigues me about this series. Funny, the girl Kayna which a few other reviewers speculated was being set up for a future enemy or love interest, wasn\’t present in this book at all.