Conor Broekhart was born flying...in the basket of a hot air balloon hovering over the World Fair in Paris! Born to an important family on the Saltee Islands off the coast of Ireland, Conor grows up best friends with Princess Isabella. After saving her from a fire (after some quick thinking and kite making), her father King Nicholas decides that Conor has a knack for aeronautics and science and that he must be taught by the great French scholar Victor Vigny.
Conor grows up happily learning fencing, fighting, and studying the possibilities of human flight. But when Conor witnesses the evil Marshal Bonvilain frame Vigny for the detrimental murder-suicide of the King, Bonvilain decides to weave a web of lies to get Conor partially blamed for the murder, and sent to the diamond mines on Little Saltee Island to work as an inmate laborer.
On the island, Conor works night and day to survive the treacherous prison, clear his name, and build a flying machine that will right all the wrongs he has faced.
This adventurous novel is a far cry from Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series, but that does not make it any less enjoyable to read! This tale is well spun and well written and will be especially interesting to teens who enjoy science. But don't let that turn you off! Even with all the science-related terms, this book will be easily enjoyed by teens of all ages and interests.
This book is a 2009-2010 Texas Lone Star Book. I also recommend the audiobook version of this novel.