Airman- Eoin Colfer

Conor Broekhart was born to fly, or more accurately, he was born flying. Though Broekhart's legend is littered with fantastical stories, the tale of his first flight in the summer of 1878 would be the most difficult to believe, had there not been thousands of witnesses.
- Prologue, Airman.

Airman is the story of Conor Broekhart, a young man born on the Saltee Islands near Ireland in a time of great discovery. From his dramatic birth on a hot-air balloon called Le Soleil, Conor is obsessed with flight, and the innovation of the late 19th century could just make his dream a reality. As he gets older, Conor is taught under a great swordsman and scientist, Victor Vigny, and begins to realise his dreams of building a device or machine capable of flight. However, his idyllic life is shattered by the assassination of Great Saltee's monarch, Nicholas, and he is caught in the crossfire of an age-old feud between two families- the Trudeaus and the Bonvilains. Conor is framed for Nicholas' murder and sent to the prison on the neighboring island of Little Saltee by Marshall Bonvilain, who assumes power over Great Saltee. Soldiering through his incarceration, Conor awaits the day he will fly away from Little Saltee, clear his name and ultimately have his revenge.

The book is penned by Eoin Colfer, the celebrated author who writes the Artemis Fowl series. He was inspired by the idea that the smaller of the Saltee Islands, (which do indeed exist, even if this book gives a more fantastical view of their history) would be a perfect prison, and by a frightening sky-diving experience. The two combined puts Conor in prison on Little Saltee and it's around this point that the story seems remarkably like a children's equivalent of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Such a comparison is by no means a bad thing, because the story is quirky and original enough to avoid being cast as a rip-off of the literary classic, and it's infused with Colfer's compelling prose and versatile characters. Getting away from the revenge element of the story, Conor mostly longs to be free. At a point early in his incarceration, Conor is persuaded to accept what has been done to him by his very own Abbé Faria in the form of his cellmate, an old blind musician called Linus Wynter. It's from here that Conor really becomes a character you root for, and who you care about. If before you felt bad that his childhood had been so cruelly snatched away by Bonvilain, you now root for him in his dreams of a second chance at life and plans to escape Little Saltee by means of his flying machine.

Colfer's prose is as nuanced as ever, and filled with the same gleeful humour that characterises the Artemis Fowl books. Marshal Bonvilain's evil is, as with Colfer's other villain characters, simply for the sake of being mean, and you just have to laugh at some parts of his own demented inner monologue. By the same token, Conor is just as flawed a hero as other protagonists of Colfer's works- without the criminal inclinations of Artemis or Meg from The Wish List, Conor is still willing to consort with and occasionally abet criminals in order to achieve his goal of escaping. Conor is not some great big hero by nature, and although he has all the skill and physical prowess to rectify the depreciating situation on Great Saltee, his past isn't necessarily something he wants to regain after a few years in prison. It's this manner of characterisation that persuades me Colfer will get along just fine writing about one Arthur Dent in And Another Thing...- his sequel to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy"- which is released later this year.

To conclude, Airman is a terrific action-adventure novel with a fine balance between the historical liberties taken, (the Saltees didn't necessarily have a royal family) and the realism of human nature to entertain both children and adults. I'd recommend it particularly to other fans of Colfer's work- while it's not his best, it's certainly something you'll enjoy. You will believe a boy can fly.


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Next time: The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes

Tushar Mangl

5 comments:

Rahul said...

hey...nice post...right from the heart..this is wat I call life !! :)
Have a good day. Am delighted to be adding you as a friend.

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

I like your style of writing. You give a good perspective, something that even someone watching the movie may miss.

Siladitya said...

Did Steve Harvey copy the book title Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man

and theme from an earlier book?



Book with same title & theme copyrighted and published by Sharon P. Carson in 2003





CHICAGO, IL – Sharon P. Carson the author of the original title: Act Like A Lady –Think Like A Man, watched the February 27th episode of the Ophra show on which Steve Harvey was promoting his book of the same title. She was hoping that Steve would reveal to Oprah where he got the title and the theme for the book. It just seemed odd to her that his book had the same title and theme as her book that was copy written in 2003.



Upon subsequently purchasing the book, she found some interesting parallels and realized that it is not unusual for a high profiled person to take a great title and theme, rewrite a book and use their celebrity status to sell it. This she says happens too often to the unsung poets, authors and entrepreneurs of the world.



Steve wrote in his book that his hope was to “empower you with a wide-open look into the minds of men”. Sharon P. Carson wrote in her book in 2003 that her hope was for women to gain some insight into how men think in terms of relationships. Sharon also noted that in chapter 8 of Steve Harvey’s book titled “Why Men Cheat” he came to the same conclusion that she did in chapter 37 of her book, titled “Why would a man cheat”, and the answer was, “because they can”.



Sharon actively promoted her book before the release in January 2009 of Steve Harvey’s book, and would not like to see her promotion efforts hindered. She feels that her book has much to offer from a woman’s perspective and seeks to empower women to practice self love and tough love in relationships.



Before the publication of Steve Harvey’s book of the same title, Sharon bought the domain name: www.actlikealadythinklikeaman.com from which she has been selling her book. She has also held seminars with women at a Chicago University in promotion of her book, and can be viewed on the following youtube clip as she was being interviewed on a cable television program about her book in 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxVVQX15X2Y.



Mindful of all the self - published poets and authors who have a hard time finding publishers for their works, Sharon is currently consulting with attorneys regarding her options, and hopes that her book with the first and original title of Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man will finally receive the recognition it deserves for the wisdom, encouragement, and empowerment that it provides to women.

Amrita~Ams said...

hey nice template..

gud read :)
enjoy n tc

Siladitya said...

change ur colour of ur font.
Haiku Poems

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