Sharon  reviews AIRMAN  by Eoin Colfer,.Hyperion Books, 2008,412 pages.

All his life, Connor has been fascinated with flight.  His tutor and mentor fostered that dream and worked it into their lessons.  Connor lives with his family in the royal palace on Saltee Island, off the coast of Ireland.  Connor’s father is one of the King’s protectors and Connor’s best friend is Princess Isabella.  It’s a wonderful life, but that is about to change.

One day, while Connor is exploring, he finds a certain spot high on a turret where he can sit, watch the sky and dream about flying.  While sitting there, hidden from sight, Connor overhears a plan to kill the King.  But when he tries to tell his father, the tale is too fantastic.  When Connor tries to save the king on his own, he’s unable to stop the assassination.  He’s a kid after all, what can he do?  Still, even Connor is stunned when he is beaten and imprisoned as a conspirator and traitor.  Connor is sent to the prison on Little Saltee Island.  There he and the other prisoners are at the mercy of brutal guards whose only interest are the diamonds that the prisoners dig from the mine under the prison.

As the years pass, Connor is determined to escape, to clear his name, to find his family, to explain what really happened to his best friend, now the Queen.  No one has ever escaped from the prison on Little Saltee Island.  The seas surrounding the island are treacherous.  The road and bridges are closely guarded.  So how can Connor hope to get away?  Fly.