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.
At long last, Matt Cruse is at the helm. Though it’s only a summer job piloting a humble aerocrane, he’s thrilled to be a small part of something big. With every load, he’s helping to build the Celestial Tower, Paris’s extraordinary gateway to outer space. But Matt’s idyllic summer is short-lived. He narrowly survives a deadly attack by the fanatical Babelites, who are opposed to humans reaching the heavens. Worse still, his nights spent stargazing with Kate de vries must end when she’s summoned back to Lionsgate City by her parents. It’s time she began to think about getting married.
But then a chance of a lifetime boosts Matt’s hopes of being airborne once more. Canada wants to be the first nation to reach space, and the Minister of Air has asked Kate to join the initial expedition as an expert on aerial zoology. There’s a place for Matt, too—if he can pass the gruelling tests to become an astralnaut on board the incredible ship Starclimber.
It’s a race to the very top, and Matt is determined to be a part of the adventure. But can he outlast his competition? And if he is chosen to join the crew, will they ever return to earth?
The control car of the giant airship is almost entirely encasedin ice, the ship’s name barely visible on her tattered skin: Hyperion.Matt Cruse can’t believe his eyes. Can this really be the legendary lostcraft, now a frozen coffin to a ghostly crew and a vast treasure? At 20,000feet, aboard a decrepit training ship, Matt is almost unconscious from the highaltitude, but of all the oxygen-starved crew, he alone remembers the Hyperion’scoordinates. Suddenly it seems that everyone is after those coordinates. Kate deVries, Matt’s rich, young lady friend, has her reasons. But what about thestrange gypsy girl and the handsome captain who’s going to pilot them back tothe Hyperion? In an adventure that will test his courage, his skill andhis heart, Matt is about to take off on the ride of his life.