Wednesday 30 January 2019

Death by Airship - Arthur Slade - Orca Currents

Death by Airship
Orca Currents
Arthur Slade
Orca Book Publishers
ISBN 9781459818705
eISBN 9781459818729

I freely admit I am a fan of the works of Arthur Slade. I fell in love with his books when I was in university and worked as a bookseller. And I try and stay abreast of his new books. And this one did not disappoint. I have now read it through twice about 6 weeks apart. First I devoured it, and on the second in order for it to be fresher to write this review. My reaction when I first finished it was:

“It is an amazing Middle Grade read! The line I laughed out loud at was:

“She was so beautiful. Like a statue on the front of a ship. But alive. And not made of wood.”

So looking forward to reading it again with my son.”

And that sentiment remains. It is a really fun read; one that will grab the attentions of young boys and girls, even the most reluctant of readers. Slade writes such diverse books from vampires, myths and Icelandic legends, early Hollywood, and more. And yet with all the diversity if his novels to date this book surprised me. Now one thing really stood out to me as a seasoned and salted reader. In some way this reminded me of Piers Anthony’s Bio of a Space Tyrant series but aimed at a much younger audience and a lot more humour. This story has pirates, airships, a love interest, a family feuding, and just a smattering of revenge. And when pirates are a feuding things get messy quick. So without further ado yo ho ho let’s get to the specifics about the story!

Prince Conn will never be the pirate King. And to be honest that is just fine with him. He just wants his airship, a crew and the open sky. For he is in fact ninth in line for the throne and probably would not care if he was not on the list at all. He might wish his airship was a little newer, or better equipped, but it is his and his misfit crew are happy plundering the skies together. Soon however it might not matter what Conn would like. For his siblings are being knocked off one by one. And whoever is doing these dastardly deeds is making sure to leave clues that point clearly at Conn. The clues are so convincing even his mother is out to kill him before he knocks off any more of her children. And the deaths are all spectacular, and masterfully planned. The murders include tragic fires, mysterious poisoning, and even ferocious cannon attack. And each of the murders is more surprising than the last because of planning and cunning that went into it. 

The big questions are can Conn surprise every one and unmask the real killer, can he clear his name, can he save his father and even his own hide?

This is a wonderful little read. A great Middle Grade read, and entertaining enough for us older folks who just love a great story. My only real complaint is I believe this is a standalone novel, and I would love to see more stories set in this world. The Pirate clan is a fascinating family, and I desperately want to know what the next adventure is!

Another great read from the masterful pen of Arthur Slade! Hazzah!

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)
Crimson (2018)
Death by Airship (2019)
Mr. Universe (2021)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

Northern Frights Reprint Editions:
Draugr (2020)
Drang (2020)
Loki Wolf (2020)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Amber Fang: Betrayed
Amber Fang: Revenge
Amber Fang Box Set Books 1-3

Dragon Assassin Series:
Twin Fury
Shadow Hunter
Dark Wings
Elder Magic
Hidden Powers
Burning Empire
Old Enemies
Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.

Author profile interview with Stephen Shea. 

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