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Monday, November 13, 2006

To sail the seven winds....

Two years ago I reviewed a book for GMR called Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, which is a steampunk-kind of adventure novel which postulates a world around the beginning of the twentieth century where the predominant form of long-range travel and shipping was not by sea but by air, in giant airships kept aloft by a gas called "hydrium". You can go read the review for more, but basically, the book was a thrilling adventure yarn.

I've just read the sequel, Skybreaker, in which our hero, Matt Cruse, reunites with the heroine from the first book, Kate Devries, in a quest to find an airship that was "lost at sky" forty years earlier, and to gain the riches of the lost ship's reclusive owner.

I know, I know, it sounds all goofy, but these two books are about as fun as adventure yarns get. Seriously, reading them makes you want to pop up some popcorn and fill in the narrative blanks with music by Max Steiner or John Williams. The world Oppel creates is pretty snazzy, too; there's a realism to the pseudo-nautical culture he creates for his airship "sailors", and I loved how the ship that is designed to sail to very high altitudes is crewed by Himalayan sherpas.

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