in the 1890s, Conor Broekhart is a boy living on the Saltee Islands off the Irish coast, where his father works as the king's bodyguard. But his happy, carefree life is changed forever when he finds out that the power-hungry Marshall Hugo Bonvilian is organizing a military coup to overthrow the king. When Conor is unable to stop Bonvilian, the ...
in the 1890s, Conor Broekhart is a boy living on the Saltee Islands off the Irish coast, where his father works as the king's bodyguard. But his happy, carefree life is changed forever when he finds out that the power-hungry Marshall Hugo Bonvilian is organizing a military coup to overthrow the king. When Conor is unable to stop Bonvilian, the king is murdered, and Conor is falesly accused of the crime and thrown into prison. In prison, the boy passes the solitary months by scratching designs for flying machines onto the walls. After two years, Conor is finally able to build a glider, and executes a daring escape to the mainland. But right
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(the following summery was taken from fantasticfiction.co.uk)
"Conor Broekhart was born to fly. In fact, legend has it that he was born flying in a hot air balloon at the world's fair. In the 1890's Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king's daughter, Princess Isabella. But the boy's idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king. When Conor tries to expose the plot, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions. There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So he passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies."
The constant plot twists and double-dealing on the villain's end makes this a real page turner, and the ending is as "happy" and completely satisfying as they come. Thumbs up to Mr. Cofer, for turning out such a great story.
One drawback and/or caution. Distasteful as it may be, Colfer did include a few scenes where the characters used the Lord's name in vain.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-01-28 Colfer's (Artemis Fowl) epic adventure story is winningly voiced by Keating, whose distinctive brogue transports listeners to the remote Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. The narrative begins with hero Conor Broekhart's birth in a hot-air balloon over the 1878 Paris World Fair, showcasing Keating's talent with a French accent, too, as he smoothly slips into the role of Victor Vigny, the aeronautic enthusiast who later becomes Conor's beloved tutor in fencing, fighting and, most importantly, the science of flight. The story turns on Conor's clash with Hugo Bonvilain, the Machiavellian leader of the island kingdom's armed guard, and Keating's sneering characterization gives the villain real menace. Two Americans also feature in the story, and Keating's only bobble here is that these two voices occasionally sound a bit similar, but this is merely a quibble in an otherwise masterly reading of a gripping tale. Ages 10-up. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 12, 2007). (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-12 An homage both to the 19th-century science fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, and to the superheroes of Marvel and DC comics, Colfer's latest brims with boy appeal. The story starts with the hero's portentous birth in a hot air balloon above the 1878 World's Fair, in Paris. But Conor Broekhart's home lies in the Saltee Islands, two (real) islets off the Irish coast, where he is raised as a favorite son, his best friend being Princess Isabella, King Nicholas's only heir. His key association, however, is with Isabella's tutor, a Frenchman who takes Conor under his wing, instructing him in fencing, fighting and the fledgling science of human flight-a consuming passion for many in the decade before the Wright Brothers' 1905 breakthrough. While the king is a progressive pacifist, his economy hums on the strength of diamonds mined in Little Saltee by prisoners under the control of Hugo Bonvilain, a Machiavellian despot harboring a deep grudge against the king. When Conor inadvertently witnesses a coup d'etat, Bonvilain twists facts to ensure the boy gets sentenced to mining gems in dank caves. The race to fly becomes more than a scientific pursuit; it turns into Conor's only chance to escape. Artemis Fowl fans will flock to this novel, and the polished, sophisticated storytelling here deserves an even wider audience than that bestseller. Conor Broekhart's superpower is his brain, and he uses his smarts to fight tyranny. A tour de force. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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