Airman is an Alternate History adventure novel by Eoin Colfer.Conor Broekhart lives on the Saltee Islands with his family off the coast of Ireland, the time period being the late 19th century. The islands are independent, ruled over by the benevolent King Nicholas, an old friend of Conor's parents. Conor's childhood is spent both playing around the island with the princess, Isabella, and studying with the Frenchman Victor Vigny, from whom he learns all about flight, swordplay, and other fun things.Everything changes the day he discovers a plot to overthrow the king. This leads to him getting framed as a traitor by the would-be usurper and thrown into the prison mines of Little Saltee, where the only way off the island is by flight. Conor, only fourteen years old at the time, must call upon all of his training and wits to somehow escape, all the while trying to survive prison.Not to be confused with the Mega Man 2 boss.
Contains examples of the following tropes:
Affably Evil: Otto Malarkey, the thug-for-hire who will chat you up pleasantly before he beats you half to death.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Conor starts off like this, being a straight-up hero who grew up with a loving family. Eventually his moral compass becomes clouded, and he swings into Anti-Hero for a time.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Nick, and how. Not only does he run the place, he's also responsible for ensuring its technological progress while still having time for his own research projects on the side.
Isabella fills this role by the end; she's taken her role as queen and is planning major overhauls to the running of the place, including shutting down the Little Saltee prison and contracting the mining to a professional firm.
Tampering with Food and Drink: Bonvillain has his Dragon Mix a poison, Wolvesbane, which he will put in his wine and serve to his guests (Isabella and Conor's family). The poison is fatal if an entire glass is drunk, Bonvillain would only drink half his glass while everyone else would empty theirs. He also tests it on his Dragon to see if he was telling the truth (he was chaffing at this point), he was, but it still reduced him to a puking pained fit (symptoms which he warned Bonvillain about). This comes back to bite him in the climax.