Airborn is the story of Matt Cruse, a young man in his early teens who is a cabin boy on the great air ship Aurora, a luxury liner blimp. Airborn is a Young Adult book set squarely within the Steampunk genre; where our history is as Jules Verne envisioned his future. Clockwork gears and steam powered mechanics are the order of the day (the late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century).
On one particular trip, Matt meets Kate, a fellow teenager, but from a wealthy family of high social position. The two are connected in that they hope to overcome their social trappings. Matt hopes to break free from his economically-modest background by rising through the ranks of the air service and one day becoming a ship’s captain. Kate would give anything to avoid the expectations of the demur life of a women of high society to become a scientist and explorer.
On this trip, Kate hopes to prove the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface. Unfortunately, about all that can go wrong goes wrong with a blimp and both Matt and Kate have to prove their mettle.
Airborn is a great example of what I call a “capable boy” story, in which a clever, determined young man proves time and again that he is resourceful beyond his years, much in the same vain as young Jim Hawkins in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island. Airborn is the first book in the Matt Cruse series.