I wasn't so sure about this one, but David suggested we try it out. I actually think this is the best book by Colfer I've read. I enjoy the Artemis Fowl books, but the series is running out of steam. The description of this one didn't sound that great, and I think it is misclassified at our library, being in the kids section.
Ever read Kidnapped? or Treasure Island? This book felt like The Count of Monte Cristo as done by Robert Louis Stevenson. A lot of "new science" at least for the turn of the last century and adventures and escapes. David laughed out loud at a couple of parts. I think a YA category would be more appropriate. The villain is pretty villainous.
As the hero is being taught by a jack-of-all-trades type he learns escape tricks, like Houdini. When he asks why his mentor replies,"Scientists are the enemy of tradition, but tradition holds all the prisons." I liked that line.
Airman. Eoin Colfer. Hyperion. 2008