<Book review>

Cloud World by David Cunningham (2006)

Some leaders are born and some are made. But either way, it's clear that a successful leader needs to trust those around him - and they need to trust their leader.

So it's going to be tough for the young Prince Marcus, fourteen years old, living an isolated and lonely life in the palace at the top of the Citadel in Cloud World. When his father fails to return in his flying vessel from a diplomatic mission, the young prince relies on his father's trusted and powerful adviser, General Titus. And why shouldn't he? With Titus' support, Marcus mounts an expedition across the cloudscape in search of his father. Too late Marcus realizes that the power vacuum left by his father will tempt others to take his place...

Marcus' search and rescue mission becomes a fight for survival when his own flying vessel is sabotaged. Marooned in the terrifying new world beneath the clouds Marcus isn't the only one who must learn how to lead, and learn quickly. Rhea was serving her first mission as a First Officer, and is now the senior ranking officer charged with the task of taking the young Prince and the surviving Cloudfarers home:

We're in an almost hopeless situation. And I've had no chance yet to prove to these men that they can trust me as they would an officer they had served under many times before. Right now, well, as you saw for yourself, they're bewildered, frightened, unsure of me. They want a commander who gives the impression that she knows exactly what she is doing and believes that we have every chance of making it home alive.

How do they get on? Can the young Prince and the novice First Officer lead their men back home? It's all in the book, and it's an enjoyable read. But one warning: the story is not concluded. A sequel is obviously planned, but I prefer to be told at the outset if I'm only going to get half a story.

What can I read next?

Well, if you enjoy sailing round in the stratosphere, I'm sure you will enjoy this one by Kenneth Oppel:

And this brilliant sequence by Philip Reeve:

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