In a marvellous opening chapter, Conor Broekhart is born and almost dies in a ballooning accident at the Paris World Fair in 1878. If, at a café nearby, a freshly exhumed Monsieur Dumas could have been working out a storyline with a middle-aged Monsieur Verne, in which swashes could be buckled and revolutionary propellers be cranked, then they might very well have come up with what follows. It’s a tale of devilish plots, flashing blades, and scientific endeavour in a small Ruritanian kingdom off the Irish Coast at the end of a parallel nineteenth century. When merely a child, Conor’s fascination with flight helps him to rescue his princess and get himself knighted. In adolescence, he metamorphoses into an airborne Zorro, returning first by hang-glider and then a pre-Wright Bros wooden aeroplane (all his own work), to wreak his vengeance on the scheming Marshall Bonvilain, who has killed his king in front of Conor’s eyes. In between this outrage and Conor’s return from the skies, the Marshall has incarcerated Conor in the local diamond mine to be knocked around a diving bell by the leader of a gang called the Battering Rams. That thug’s name is Malarkey, a name that might well be given to most of what happens in this hugely enjoyable book. It’s malarkey of the highest order, edge of the seat malarkey, always relishing the game that’s afoot and promising, like Conor’s airborne contraptions, to end either in explosive disaster or spectacular triumph, with barely a difference in terms of bones broken, heads bloodied, or the reader’s bitten nails. Enjoy.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2008-05-07 15:27:342023-01-07 15:31:43Airman