"Vol 714 pour Sydney" is not your average comic book adventure story crafted merely for young readers.
Tintin, his dog Snowy, and their friends Captain Haddock and Calculus are en route to Sydney to attend an astronautical conference. During a brief stop over in Jakarta, they meet millionaire, Laszlo Carreidas, known as "the man who never laughs". When the antics of the deaf and lovable Professor Calculus actually manage to make Carreidas howl with laughter, he expresses his appreciation by inviting them to continue their journey to Sydney aboard his prototype business jet, the Carreidas 160.
When the jet is hijacked, our intrepid group of travelers find themselves in the power of greedy criminals who want a good deal more than the prototype jet ... they're also determined to lay their hands on the wealth that Carreidas has squirreled away in a numbered Swiss bank account. And, of course, they're not planning on leaving any witnesses behind.
Je n'avais que dix ans quand j'ai lu Vol 714 (en anglais) la première fois. Presque cinquante ans plus tard, l'histoire, c'est encore puissante et passionante; les actions, même les émotions transmises par l'oeuvre d'art sont convaincantes; et, bien sur, Tournesol et Haddock sont plus amusants, comiques et drôles que jamais. Avec des volcans, lave chaude et des tremblements de terre, des soucoupes volantes, une civilisation ancienne et un temple souterrain, hypnose et amnésie collective, "Vol 714 pour Sydney" est une histoire bien étrange qui ne peut pas échouer à vous amuser. Des parents peuvent être rassurés qu'elle se prête bien aux lecteurs de n'importe quel age.
The reason I chose to read the original French edition so many years later was simply to brush up on my French reading skills which I have left to languish unattended and untested for far too long. It seems I made the perfect choice. Not only did the hints from the story-line as revealed through the art mean that I didn't have to consult a French-English dictionary even once, I was also thrilled to be able to interpret several French idioms purely on the basis of context! For example:
"Je vous tiens à l'oeil"
... literally, "I'm holding you to the eye"
... figuratively, "I've got my eye on you"
"La voie est libre"
... literally, "the way is free:
... figuratively, "the coast is clear"
"J'ai la chair de poule"
... literally, "I have chicken flesh"
... figuratively, "I've got goose bumps"
Great fun to read for any purpose and certainly of significant value in brushing up on French reading skills at an intermediate level.