Conor Broekhart was born in a hot air balloon as it was being shot down by enemy fire. Talk about a dramatic entrance.
Conor's best friend is the princess Isabella, and after saving her in a tower fire by turning a flag into a parachute, he is knighted by the king and invited to daily lessons by famed swordsman and scientist Victor Vigny. As he grows into a young man, Conor and Victor explore the field of aeronautics, devising plans to create a heavier-than-air flying machine. Their dreams come to an abrupt halt when Conor witnesses the assassination of Victor and the king. He is thrown into a prison and told that the rest of the kingdom will be told he was an accomplice to the murders. There he toils in a mine for two years, plotting and planning an escape, becoming a man who will do what he has to to survive.
Though Airman is young adult fiction, it didn't feel like Colfer held anything back. The action and plotline was exciting, very Count of Monte Cristo. The character of Conor is well-developed, and though he is placed in extreme situations where one would expect the hero to take lives to save his own, Colfer never allows Conor to become a killer. I think anyone, teenager or adult, would thoroughly enjoy Airman. I may have to look into getting his other books.