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Airman Paperback – May 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Born in the basket of a hot-air balloon at the end of the nineteenth century, Conor Broekhart is intrigued with flying. At age 14, after witnessing the murder of his tutor, Conor is sent to prison. He hopes to escape by means of a flying machine. While Conor is in prison, Keating adds a flinty edge to his voice, indicating Conor’s maturation. A malicious though high-spirited prison guard is rendered in whining, wheedling speech patterns. And the more sarcastic the guard sounds, the meaner his actions. Conor’s cell mate, an older, blind magician, is portrayed in a raspy voice. Keating speaks in a French accent to represent Conor’s tutor (before his murder) and uses an Irish brogue for the remaining characters. This swashbuckling tale should appeal to historical-fantasy fans and others who love adventure tales with smart heroes. Grades 6-10. --Sue-Ellen Beauregard --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423107519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423107514
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) is the New York Times best-selling author
of the blockbuster Artemis Fowl series as well as Airman; Half Moon
Investigations; The Supernaturalist; Eoin Colfer's Legend of... books;
The Wish List; Benny and Omar; and Benny and Babe. He was born in
Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four
brothers were brought up by his father (an elementary school teacher,
historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first
developed an interest in writing in primary (elementary) school with
gripping Viking stories inspired by history that he was learning in
school at the time.

Eoin got his degree from Dublin University and qualified as a primary
school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he
and his wife spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi
Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published
in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been
translated into many languages; a sequel followed in 1999. In 2001, the
first Artemis Fowl book was published worldwide to much success -
shortly thereafter he left teaching to concentrate fully on his writing.
To this day, Eoin has written 6 Artemis Fowl books which have sold over
12 million copies worldwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love the Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) series and Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer, so I was exciting to pick up this book and delve into a story of adventure in the great blue yonder. What I didn't expect was how enraptured I would become by this book, especially after reading the first chapter that made me roll my eyes with its campiness.

Conor Broekhart was born to fly, or more accurately, he was born flying. From his legendary birth in a hot air balloon to his heroic feat saving the princess from a deadly fire by turning a flag into a parachute, Conor has always looked to the skies for inspiration. But when his tutor and king are both killed in a plot to take over the government, Conor spends the next two years in prison, thinking his father has turned his back on him and his beloved princess blames him for her father's death.

After nearly loosing himself in the inhumane conditions of the prison mines, Conor finds escape drawing designs for flying machines on his cell walls. His plans finally take flight ex machina in the form of a balloon that carries him to safety. He must then decide if he will turn his back on those who abandoned him or stand against the evils that threaten the freedom of his nation.

It was like reading The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics),
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This was one of those books I saw sitting on my boss's bookshelf that made me think, "Maybe I should read that." Yet it wasn't until multiple people told me in person and repeatedly how good it was that I caved. And it really is good, gentle reader. It puts the buckle in swashbuckling. The play in swordplay. The terror in terrific. It's a good old-fashioned tale of thwarted romance, betrayal, great heroism, murder, diamonds, villains, kings, Americans, thugs, and a boy with the unusual inclination to fly.

The thing to know about Conor Broekhart, before all the nastiness occurred, was that he was born in the sky. A hot air balloon, if you wanted me to be more precise. A falling, soon-to-be-crushed, death trap of a balloon, to be even closer to the mark. Of course Conor didn't die, and as a result his family returned to their home on the Saltee Islands (just off the coast of Ireland) with a new baby to introduce to the King. Conor's father was the king's right hand man, and because they were so close the boy grew up running around the castle with his best friend, the princess. But that was before the king was murdered. Before Conor was thrown into jail on the Little Saltee island (think Alcatraz, but with less charm). Before the boy discovered how to survive in his new, harsh, surroundings and find a way out of his predicament. And now the princess and his family are in mortal peril, unless Conor can truly crack the riddle of how to construct a machine that will fly.

Is it fantasy? No more than any historical novel where the hero indulges in science. Is it science fiction? Only if you consider the notion of one man discovering the use of propellers on his own fantastical. Is it steampunk? No. Stop being silly.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a reader of many young adult novels, I was never able to get into the author's Artemis Fowl series although I know they are popular. However, I have to give high praise, two thumbs up and five stars to this fabulous and unique adventure story for boys and men of all ages. This a wonderful coming-of-age story of a young man with a scientific mind and a dream of being the first man to fly. Trained in science, fencing, martial arts, and raised with a high education, our young hero Conn, while saving his princess damsel from death, soon is betrayed and framed for murder and sent to prison where there he plots escape and spends years inventing his future dream machine. Great characters of good and bad, high action and adventure, a little romance, and lots of cool flying. This is truly outstanding and a pleasant change of pace from the author's other styles of writing.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on January 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Eoin Colfer attained international recognition with his splendid series of novels about a twelve year old genius thief named Artemis Fowl. The sixth book is coming out later this year. Those books are full of fun and fantasy, with laughs coming as quickly as danger.

However, Colfer has outdone himself with his latest novel. Just released, AIRMAN literally soars the heights of grand adventure. Although the book is listed in the children's section, adults will be able to curl up with this one and remember a childhood filled with wronged heroes who have to fight their ways back from incredible losses to battle the evil villains.

The pacing and characters in this book are different from those in the Fowl books and Colfer's other novels. Conor Broekhart is the kid and the hero I wanted to be when I was just discovering adventurous fiction (and part of me would still like to be even now). He's strong, courageous, intelligent, and a trained swordsman. Everything a dashing hero needs to be.

Usually novels like this end up with the hero saving the princess and earning her undying love. Colfer starts out with Conor doing that. That left me wondering what was next.

Well, what was next took a page from Alexander Dumas's THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and blended it into the fabric of Conor's story in a way that kept me hurriedly turning pages. Raised in the Saltee Islands, Greater and Lesser, Conor was the son of King Nicholas's most trusted captain, Declan Broekhart.

The islands are fictitious, but Colfer builds them with splendid fascination. Originally an insult, the islands were granted to the original king and granted their independence. The one of the world's largest diamond mines were discovered there.
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