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4.3 143
by Eoin Colfer

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Conor Broekhart was born to fly.

It is the 1890s, and 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 deadly conspiracy against


Conor Broekhart was born to fly.

It is the 1890s, and 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 deadly conspiracy against the king. When Conor intervenes, 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 Conor 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.

Editorial Reviews

Bestselling author Eoin Colfer has set much of this novel on Ireland's Saltee Islands. These rocky outcroppings off the coast of County Wexford are known today mainly as a haven for sea birds, so perhaps it's fitting that Colfer's tale of the late 19th century involves a young man's attempt to conquer the skies himself. Conor Broekhart's primitive flight experiments land not only himself but also his entire family in grave danger. An excellent adventure by the author of Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident, and the The Lost Colony.
Publishers Weekly

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 2007Reed Business Information
Young Conor Broekhart is a born scientist-curious and consumed with creating a flying machine. His life on the Saltee Islands in the early 1900s is idyllic. His father is well-connected with the royal family, his friendship with the princess is strong, and his tutor is both kind and knowledgeable. When the king is attacked, however, Conor's idyllic existence ends. Blamed for the crime and believed by his family to be dead, Conor is thrown into the torturous prison on the island of Little Saltee. He devises his plan for a flying machine while being forced to mine diamonds. There he must decide whether family and honor are more important than riches and fame. Colfer's newest novel will be enjoyed by many of his fans. An inventive central character, a villain who is particularly cruel and indifferent to life, a boy's quest for flight, and an unusual setting make for a good foundation. But the novel that hooks the reader early with a strong start becomes bogged down after the first one hundred pages. Conor's prison stint, which makes up the lengthy middle section, seems excessively slow and brings the novel to a near halt. The snappy dialogue, especially from the enjoyable villain, is darkly humorous and sparse but surely a highlight. The story is filled with turns and double-crosses, but events and characters seem to rely too much on luck and coincidence. Ultimately a few flaws keep this solid novel from flying any higher. Reviewer: Jeff Mann
Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.

The 1878 World's Fair in Paris was full of spectacles and inventions, but the most dramatic event for the Broekhart family was the early arrival of its first child, a son born in a hot air balloon who experienced his first near-death adventure when the balloon was shot from the sky. Eoin Colfer's latest novel grabs readers with this attention-getting beginning, then takes them several years into the future to a time when young Conor fashions a kite out of a flag to save Princess Isabella from a burning tower. Conor and Isabella spend their childhood roaming the secret passageways of the castle and taking all kinds of lessons: fencing, martial arts, weapons, and the science of flight for him; needlepoint, etiquette, heraldry, and some fencing for her. Their days pass in fun and learning, until Conor stumbled upon a plot to kill King Nicholas, Isabella's father, and frame Conor's teacher as the murderer. Conor is accused of treason by an ambitious and traitorous prime minister, and he is banished to the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he works in the diamond mines and fights for survival. Only his dreams of flight and his ingenious plans to build a flying machine keep him from going insane, until he can put his plans to use and escape. Once free, he must decide: should he head for America and begin a new life, or should he attempt to right the wrongs of the past? Witty dialogue, vivid details, and a quick plot maintain the story's momentum and appeal to even the most reluctant reader. While this story is a fantastic adventure in the classic sense, it should be noted that dark themes and some graphic violence may make it better suited to anolder audience than Colfer's principal fan base. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- Eoin Colfer turns his special brand of humor and adventure to detailing the amazing life and times of young Conor Broekhart-born in a hot air balloon over Paris and thereafter destined to use his fascination with flight to save his parents, recapture a kingdom, and win the hand of a princess. John Keating's boyish voice and slight Scottish accent give this swashbuckling adventure story (Hyperion, 2008) just the right combination of realism and fantasy. His narrative skill captures the personalities of both main and supporting characters-from the consummate cold-hearted villain Marshall Hugo Bonvilain to the dashing and cavalier Victor Vigny. Older listeners will relish this entertaining coming-of-age story whose themes of friendship and betrayal, love and hate, and courage and fear play out amidst breathless scenes of action and violence. Somewhere between the old Errol Flynn movies and The Princess Bride , this camp, contrived, and complex mix of eccentric characters and fantastical situations provides an immensely satisfying listen.-Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, OH

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Eoin Colfer is the New York Times best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, Half Moon Investigations, The Supernaturalist, Eoin Colfer's Legend of... books, The Wish List, Benny and Omar; and Benny and Babe.

He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

Brief Biography

Wexford Town, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland
Date of Birth:
May 14, 1965
Place of Birth:
Waterford City, County Waterford, Republic of Ireland
Bachelor of Education, 1986; Education Diploma, 1987

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Airman 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
yearningtoread More than 1 year ago
Eoin Colfer is the renowned author of several novels for young readers, including the Artemis Fowl series. While I've never read any of his other books, his newest novel, Airman, stood out to me when I walked passed it in Barnes and Noble three months ago. The cover, with its daring, winged man, caught my eye. Just reading the back was fascinating, and I was convinced I would read it soon. I requested Airman at the library and started it the day it came in. Within a few pages, I was hooked. This is one of those stories that is crafted either horribly or excellently - and from the beginning I was convinced it was the latter. It starts with the beginning of Conor Broekhart's life - his amazing birth in a hot-air balloon. From then on, he is respected and beloved by all around him. He lives a perfect life on Great Saltee, one of the two Saltee islands just off the southeastern coast of Ireland. After saving the life of the Saltee Island's princess and the throne's only heir, he is given professional training. His mentor is Frenchman Victor Vigny, a master of the physical arts, such as karate, as well as swordplay. Victor is also very learned in aeronautics. He and Conor both wish more than anything to build a machine that would allow man to fly. However, they are never given the chance to live out this dream. Through a sudden turn of events, Conor's world, as well as that of his family's and the royal family's, is thrown into mayhem, danger, and bitter loss. Through the story, Colfer weaves an amazing change in Conor as his life changes. We see him grow from baby to man, all in 400 pages. If I could describe this book in one word, it would be emotional. In the best of all ways. I felt a number of emotions: anger, frustration, love, heartache, and amazement. I was inspired by Conor's story. I loved (and hated) the characters. I wanted to fly. This is a very culturized book. While none of the events in the book ever happened, and King Nicholas Trudeau of the Saltee Islands never actually lived, it feels so real that I completely believed in everything Colfer wrote about. However, after doing research, I discovered that Great Saltee and Little Saltee were privately owned by man named Michael Neale. After his death his son, Prince Michael Neale the Second took his place. Colfer's writing stood out to me as well. His sentences were well-formed and his word choices were beautiful. I look forward to reading more of Colfer's work, and to continue to be inspired by his fascinating writing and characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really entertaining from start to finish. I have never read a book from this time period, so it was a new experience for me and my book group. Conor's story is very exciting and leaves all readers wishing they could fly. I highly recommend this book for anyone that likes adventure, suspense, and a little bit of science. Colfer's plot keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Butt Butt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very unique book. Connor is a compelling main character, and the storyline is amazing. Dark, yet not unpleasantly so. And it comes with a satisfying ending to boot. This is one of my favorite books of all time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The way the wind blows in this book is full of emotional sorrows and fantastical adventures with a nice romantic seen every once in a while. It’s almost as if the characters may just seep out of the pages and be a part of our world we know it. The book is about a young boy who goes by the name of Connor Broekheart that was the first to ever be born in the air, or more specifically a hot air balloon. He later makes an acquaintance and friend, Isabella, where he lives on a tiny island that is called the Saltee Islands. Isabella and Connor later make-believe many quests being pirates and many other things, but I don’t want to give away anything so you’re just going to have to read it yourself! Overall this book was four and a half stars for the smooth blend of genres adding a great plotline and a wretched villain just makes it better! The only part I don’t like about it is that I can’t visit and look at the amazing castles and towers that they speak of in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wildflower3 More than 1 year ago
Colfer crafts a delightful story, delicately bearing the semblance of a fantasy while retaining the warmth and slight roughness of a nonfiction account.
Mitchell Skopic More than 1 year ago
Colfer writes anoter amazing novel with twists and adventure on every page The story is clever and very well written One of my favorite boks and authors
ConnorBrookeheart More than 1 year ago
Excellent story, a real diamond in the rough that deserves far more recognition that it has currently gotten. A wonderful choice for a long trip
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jldarden More than 1 year ago
I listened to this as an audio book and enjoyed the narrator. This is classified as a kids book and I guess it is... But I like kids book like this especially in audio as the excitement and adventure packed into them remind me of what helped build my love for reading as a youngster. As an adult some unfolding events are predictable, but the way they play out is quite enjoyable. Young Connor is brave and smart which ends up getting him into trouble. He lands in a slave prison and spends 2 years planning his escape and return to his family and position. His love of flying, (beginning with his birth in a hydrogen balloon) helps him on his way. I really liked the story and you can't help but root for Connor and his friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the author of Artemis Fowl comes a classic novel;Set off the Irish coast in a alternate history where the Saltees were lived on,this novel has a frequent theme of visionaries
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Patito_de_Hule More than 1 year ago
Conor Broekhart has grown up as the best friend of the princess of the Saltee kingdom (an imaginary kingdom off of Ireland). But when he discovers a conspiracy to kill the king, the real traitor captures him and sends him to a prison camp to mine diamonds in obscurity. Conor must use his genius for flight to escape the prison and rescue the princess. Conor is much like a 19th century steampunk Artemis Fowl. Colfer delivers his usual book - fun, delightful, and humorous. Definitely a treat for fans of non-dystopia non-paranormal-romance YA. (YAY! for something different!) I'd say this book is appropriate for 5th - 8th graders. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uhhh its not erin huntrr. Erin huntrr wrote the Warriors series . Eion colfer wrote this .. ur reeellllllyyy mixed up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptional read. I think that anyone looking for action should read this. Also, all Artrmis Fowl fans should definitely try this. Cheers (once again) to Eoin Colfer!
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The_smart_warriors_reader More than 1 year ago
I knew that Mr. Colfer was a good author after reading Artemis Fowl, and this book defenitely did not disappoint. I was on the edge of my seat constantly. The plot was exciting, and the author was able to make it even better with his storytelling skills. I will be checking out more books by this author in the very near future. I LOVED THIS BOOK AND YOU WILL TOO!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You must read this book! This book is just plain amazing!
kaylic More than 1 year ago
I love this book!