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Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there'd been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud. . . .
Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.
In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.
grandfather’s log,” she said. “It’s all in here, what he saw. He made some sketches too.” Outside, clouds scudded past, ablaze with moon and starlight. The warm smell of chocolate filled the room. The ocean whispered through the open windows. “Kate?” came a sleepy voice from behind the door. “Is that you?” A jolt went up my spine. Miss Simpkins. It sounded like she was getting out of bed. Kate pressed the journal into my hands. “Take it. I know I can trust you. Read it and bring it back to me
handsome, he’s a junior officer…” “Is he?” “Of course he is,” I fairly shouted. “Assistant sailmaker. Didn’t you notice the insignia on his collar?” “I didn’t, no.” “The golden wheels? Blazing like little suns?” She shook her head. “All those insignia look the same to me. Everyone seems to have them.” “Not me,” I said hotly. “And I don’t find him handsome, by the way.” “You don’t?” “I don’t,” she said firmly. “His type of looks are not at all to my liking. You know, the only problem with
please,” said Kate. She looked anxious, but I wasn’t sure if it was genuine or simply a face she put on to keep me here. “I promise it won’t take long. I’ve got a bit of a plan.” “What’s that?” “To lure her out into the open. Up here I’ll never get a clear shot, especially with her moving around the way she does. But if I could get her on the ground, it might be easier. She’d be slower, and the camera would be steady. I’ve brought a tripod.” “How would you lure her out?” “I brought some
hair than seemed decent or practical in such heat. We stopped before him. I was puffed as I began my story, and glad of it, for it made it harder to feel nervous about the lies I was spewing. As I talked, another conversation started its chatter in my head. What good could come of this? These were the wretches who had murdered our officer, who’d been happy to leave us to a watery grave after their ship slit us stem to stern. What chance had we of getting away alive from them? Maybe we should
boards, all quiet and dark now, but ready to come alive. I said, “We could fly her.” “What’re you talking about?” Bruce said. “The ship. We could fly the ship. Nothing fancy. Take it up so the other pirates can’t come aboard, and then we can set about freeing everyone.” “Too risky,” said Bruce. “We can’t take off without the captain and crew!” “We can’t afford to wait for them.” “We’re just three people. It can’t be done, Cruse.” “It can be done.” “I’ve had two years at the Academy,” said