by Colfer, Eoin

Falsely accused of murdering the king and sent off to an island prison, royal bodyguard Conor starts building a flying machine so that he can fly to the mainland, clear his good name, and seek revenge on the real culprit.

<br>Eoin Colfer is the New York Times best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, <i>Half Moon Investigations; The Supernaturalist</i>, <i>Eoin Colfer's Legend of Spud Murphy </i>and<i> Legend of Captain Crow's Teeth, </i>and <i>The Wish List</i>. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children. <br>

Author of the popular Artemis Fowl series, Colfer ventures into slightly different territory in this fantasy, which has the heft of historical fiction; a subset of characters whose physical attributes reflect their evil natures; dry humor; visceral horror; and swashbuckling action that keeps the story from becoming overly dark. Born in the basket of an air balloon, Conor Broekhart is sure he is destined to fly. But at 14, he accidentally witnesses the murder of his tutor and the sovereign of the tiny Saltee Islands where he lives, and everything changes.Villainous Marshall Bonvilain throws him into prison, convincing him that his family believes him guilty of the crime. Thus begins his new life as inmate Conor "Finn," who devotes his considerable abilities to breaking out of  prison. Colfer grapples somewhat awkwardly with a few literary issues here: should he, for example, allow his hero to commit murder? There are also huge time gaps that are distracting and occasionally stall momentum. Readers may not notice, however, with so much else going for the book. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Set at the end of the 19th century, this savage, enthralling melodrama pits a young would-be aviator against a high official so fiendishly clever and evil that his name-Bonvilain-seems a drastic understatement. On the Saltee Islands, a tiny kingdom off the Irish coast, 14-year-old Conor's idyllic life with best buddy Princess Isabella takes a brutal turn when Bonvilain secretly throws him into the diamond mines as part of a murderous plot to overthrow the local monarchy. Against steep odds, Conor survives and, several years later, engineers an aerial escape that leads to a wild climactic melee. Laced with explosions and sudden violence, well-stocked with ugly customers and replete with cliffhangers, this high-flying page-turner will keep readers riveted to their seats from opening gunshot to final sword thrust. (Science fiction. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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