Friday, October 10, 2008

Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel

For a real adventure you might try two books by the Canadian author Kenneth Oppel – Airborn and Skybreaker. I just finished the second book in this series and was certainly not disappointed. The setting for these fast paced stories is an airship powered by hydrium, an amazing alternate fuel. The setting might be the turn of the century or it might be the future all that I know for certain is that the world is certainly a different place. These airships feel like the luxury of travel on the Titanic.

In this second book we again meet our hero Matt Cruse and his great friend Miss Kate de Vries. This time they are on a mission to find the Hyperion, an airship which was owned by an eccentric millionaire but which is now a ghost ship floating at very high altitudes. While the ship might contain huge wealth for our intrepid explorers it will almost certainly also contain very great dangers which only the bravest of heroes will survive.

Just like the depths of the ocean, high altitudes are home to some weird and amazing creatures including some that use electric shocks to stun and kill their victims. The travellers have named these creatures aerozoans. Matt accidently sets one free into the main cabin of the hyperion :

“To my relief it seemed to lose interest in me and sailed away. Then it stopped. It turned. It jetted straight for the glass, stretching irself as long and skinny as a spear. I cursed under my breath and started running. The aerozoan gave one last great contraction of its apron and tentacles, compressed itself into a tight bundle, and soared clean through the hole, over my head and into the engineerium.”
The next book to be published in 2009 is called Starclimber. You can read more about this author and all his books at Set aside some time because this is an amazing web site and you will be in for a wild ride just like the one in his novels. I have kept an eye out for this author (he looks so young on his web site) ever since I read his first book Colin’s fantastic video adventure many years ago. I have now discovered he was only 18 when he wrote this terrific little story. The Silverwing trilogy is also an interesting set of books with very dark political themes, quite different to the Airship books.

One more thing - there is a little romance in these books with the promise of more to come in the next book.

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