In this breathtaking sequel to the Governor General's Award-winning fantasy novel Airborn
, 16-year-old Matt Cruse flies higher than he ever dreamed. The former Aurora
cabin boy, now a student at the prestigious Paris Airship Academy, is on a two-week training tour with a run-down cargo airship when his captain sights a legendary ghost ship. Matt recklessly heads skyward in pursuit--only to risk sacrificing his entire crew to altitude sickness. The Hyperion
, lost in a storm in the dawn of the aviation age and buoyed high above the clouds for 40 years, is rumoured to hold great wealth, and Matt is suddenly the only person on earth who knows her coordinates.
Soon, he and his upper-class sweetheart, Kate de Vries, are embarked on a dangerous aerial treasure hunt, along with Hal, the conceited pilot of a sleek, new altitude-friendly airship, and a mysterious gypsy girl named Nadira, who claims to have the key to the Hyperion's booby-trapped treasure troves. Drawing on the myths of Icarus and Prometheus, as well as classic sea adventures like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Poseidon Adventure, Skybreaker combines an action-packed thriller with a sensitive exploration of the limits of human ambition. Matt's jealousy of the self-made Hal (who he suspects has designs on Kate) and his own furtive attraction to Nadira heighten the emotional tension and raw suspense of the visceral scenes aboard the Hyperion, an ice-entombed version of the Titanic. With pirates, sky monsters, and disturbed spirits, not to mention enough bizarre flying machines to fill an aviation museum (even a bat-copter for Silverwing fans), Skybreaker confirms Kenneth Oppel's reputation as Canada's leading fantasy author for children and young adults. --Lisa Alward
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10–Oppel does it again! This action-packed sequel to Airborn
(HarperCollins, 2004) starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the satisfying ending. Matt Cruse, now a student at the Airship Academy, finds himself training as a navigator aboard a worn out, tumbledown cargo airship piloted by a reckless captain. Flying through a typhoon at dangerously high altitudes, they see a ghost ship that set out 40 years before and was never seen again. The captain risks his life, the crew, and his ship as he tries to reach the Hyperion
to claim the fortune in gold that's rumored to be aboard. His attempt fails after the crew is stricken with altitude sickness. Only Matt remembers the coordinates of where Hyperion
was last seen. This knowledge plunges him and Kate, now a pilot in training herself, into a breakneck race against a pirate intent on getting to the riches. They find themselves aboard a new type of pressurized ship called Skybreaker
piloted by Hal, a wealthy and dashing captain with designs on Kate. What they discover aboard Hyperion
is a more fabulous treasure than any of them could have imagined. That is, if they survive to tell anyone about it. This worthy companion to Airborn
maintains its roller-coaster thrills in true swashbuckling style.–Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
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