Premise: Conor Broekhart, a boy obsessed with flight. He dreams of designing a flying machine and taking to the skies himself. But when Conor witnesses a murder, he is imprisoned by the murderer to keep him silent. In prison, Conor faces brutal conditions, but survives with a relentless focus on escape and revenge.
Author: Eoin Colfer
Length: 424 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 6-12
Format: Audiobook from the library
Three adjectives that describe this book: action-packed, intriguing, exciting
Eoin Colfer does outstanding historical fiction in this thrilling adventure. Not only was Airman fast-paced and thoroughly gripping, but it was set in a fascinating time and place. Set on the Saltee islands off the coast of Ireland in the late 1880s, Airman is complete and complex with whole and believable characters. The time and place are impeccably developed, with careful and subtle world-building - no annoying info dumping here.
I loved how the story was divided into 3 equally-interesting acts:
* Conor's life, sword fighting, scheming, murder
* Prison, bad guys, scheming, escape
* Flying, adventure, revenge
The inclusion of flight-science was seamless and terrifically interesting. We follow the characters as they theorize, design, build, and test various gliders and planes. So cool!
I wish I had older students so that I could recommend Airman to them, but instead I'll settle for recommending it here.