341 pages
ISBN 0-00-200699-5
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University. She is the author of several books, including The
Mountain Is Moving: Japanese Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret
Laurence: The Long Journey Home.


Sixteen-year-old Matt Cruse is a first-year student at the esteemed
Airship Academy in Paris. Like all his fellow students, Matt has been
shipped out as a trainee on a two-week tour to study navigation. His
thinks his airship “looked like it hadn’t been refitted since the
Flood, and smelled like Noah’s old boot,” but Mr. Domville, the
navigator, advises Matt to think of this training tour as a
character-building experience. It proves to be that and more. Matt’s
quick thinking, bravery, and determination save his ship from disaster.

Kate de Vries, Matt’s wealthy friend, is also taking flying lessons.
Kate tells Matt of a lost ship called the Hyperion, which has gone down
in the Indian Sea with a cargo of gold and a rare zoological collection.
A lost ship belongs to any-one who finds it and claims the rights of
salvage. The plot thickens when the wealthy John Rath and his men kidnap
Matt, who manages to escape with the aid of Nadira, a gypsy girl who
holds the key to Hyperion’s cargo. (Although he is engaged to Kate,
Matt finds himself attracted to Nadira, with whom he has much in
common.) Kate’s money and Matt’s piloting and navigational skills
permit a hasty departure in an airship.

Kenneth Oppel’s earlier books have won numerous awards. His new novel
crosses all age boundaries with a gripping plot, intriguing characters,
and fast-paced action. Teenagers and seniors alike will find Skybreaker
enthralling. Highly recommended.


Oppel, Kenneth., “Skybreaker,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,