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Down the Yukon

Down the Yukon

4.5 10
by Will Hobbs

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The great race across Alaska!

As Dawson City goes up in flames, Jason Hawthorn itches to join the new rush for gold in Nome, 1,700 miles away. He and his brothers have been cheated out of their sawmill, so when a $20,000 prize is announced for the winner of a race to Nome, Jason enters. His partner in the canoe is Jamie Dunavant, the adventurous girl he loves.


The great race across Alaska!

As Dawson City goes up in flames, Jason Hawthorn itches to join the new rush for gold in Nome, 1,700 miles away. He and his brothers have been cheated out of their sawmill, so when a $20,000 prize is announced for the winner of a race to Nome, Jason enters. His partner in the canoe is Jamie Dunavant, the adventurous girl he loves. Will they make it to the finish line, despite the hazards of the Yukon River, two dangerous rivals, and the terrors of the open sea?

Editorial Reviews

Readers looking for an exciting adventure won't be disappointed."
Horn Book
A gripping account of a fifteen-year-old boy's encounter with the hazards of the Canadian wilderness in 1897 as he struggles to join his older brothers searching for wealth in the goldfields.... This is a real page turner...blending fact and fiction to create a believable story that is fast reading but never simplistic.
Voice of Youth Advocates
This well–told tale rushes forward with nonstop action.
Hobbs's newest adventure rivals any melodrama produced in one of the Klondike saloons he describes in it. Set in 1899, the tale pits the brave young hero, Jason Hawthorn, against the evil villain, Cornelius Donner, who has cheated Jason and his brothers out of their sawmill. In the role of the beautiful maiden is actress Jamie Dunavant, "the Princess of Dawson." She joins Jason in a two-thousand-mile race from Dawson City to Nome, where gold just has been discovered. They face the perils of nature, including storms and mosquitoes, as well as treachery from Donner and his partner. In a breathtaking finale, Jason and Jamie cross the finish line first, winning the prize money that will allow Jason and his brothers to buy back their mill. This sequel to Jason 's Gold (Morrow, 1999/VOYA December 1999) stands alone. Drawing from his own background growing up in Alaska as well as from extensive research, Hobbs fills his tale with authentic details. Real-life gold rush characters, such as Arizona Charlie Meadows and Belinda Mulrooney, make cameo appearances. The fact that characters lack depth rarely matters as the well-told tale rushes forward with nonstop action. Recommend this adventure to reluctant readers, as well as to any reader intrigued by life in the Yukon in the 1890s. PLB . VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, HarperCollins, 208p, . Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Libby Bergstrom SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Children's Literature
Children's adventure author Hobbs (Far North, The Maze, Ghost Canoe) has come up with another winner. In thrilling prose, he tells the story of Jamie Dunavant and Jason Hawthorn, a pair of Gold-Rush teenagers who enter a canoe race from Dawson City to Nome. Although Jamie is a girl and neither of them is 18 years old yet, they decide they can compete against older, stronger men who desperately want that $20,000 prize. Jamie and Jason are in love, but Hobbs underplays the mushy stuff and concentrates on the adventure, which is considerable. His writing is so realistic that readers will feel the mosquito bites, the icy water, the exhaustion of fighting the current. And they will identify with the teens' quest not only to win the prize, but to also prove themselves in a world where only the strong survive—but where the rewards to the winners are great. Thanks to Hobbs, the spell of the Yukon will reach out and grab another generation of would-be adventurers. 2001, HarperCollins, $15.95 and $15.89. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Donna Freedman
In this sequel to Jason's Gold, the Hawthorn brothers are now successful lumber mill owners/operators in Dawson City, Canada. Ethan, Jason's brother, is tricked into boxing match the former British champion. In a brutal fight, Ethan wins, but his new notoriety changes his attitude. Ethan eventually loses the lumber mill by drunkenly signing a document, which gives up his rightful ownership. Jason and his love, Jamie, decide to participate in a great race down the Yukon, the prize money to be used to buy back the mill. Their adventurous trip is full of danger from nature's forces, the river, and Donner, a contestant in the race who is the man who tricked Ethan into signing away the lumber mill. This is a wonderful romantic story, supported by Hobb's careful historical and background research. Down the Yukon depicts an accurate portrayal of this time in history, one to be enjoyed by readers of historical fiction. Genre: Adventure/Historical Fiction. 2001, HarperCollins, 193 pp., $15.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Edgar H. Thompson; Emory, Virginia
A sequel to Jason's Gold, this historical adventure story can stand alone for readers new to Hobbs. The novel is set in the Canadian Klondike of 1899. Sixteen-year-old Jason Hawthorn and his two older brothers work the family lumber mill in Dawson City, a gold rush town sprung from the swampland of the north. When Jason's brother Ethan loses their mill through a gambling debt to the unscrupulous fight promoter Cornelius Donner, Jason vows that he will find a way to buy the mill back. His opportunity comes when the Alaska Commercial Company announces a
— Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Will Hobbs' exciting adventure tale with historical roots in the 1800s Alaskan Gold Rush (HarperCollins, 2001) is a sequel to Jason's Gold (Morrow, 2001). After much of Dawson City is destroyed by fire, Jason Hawthorn's brothers lose their sawmill to a swindler named Donner. Jason, now 16, and Jamie, his girlfriend, decide to enter a perilous race to Nome in a canoe for a $20,000 prize which they plan to use to recapture the mill. There are 300 entrants, and their major opponent turns out to be Donner who sabotages their canoe. The race is very suspenseful with river travel, destruction of their canoe, grizzly bears, kayaking in the open ocean, a secret shortcut overland, and a shortage of food. An appended note from the author at the end of the story details which parts of the story are historically accurate. Actor Boyd Gaines' steady, but interesting voice contributes to the excitement of the novel. He uses slight voice variations to help listeners keep the characters straight. This suspenseful tale will hold the attention of listeners until the very end.-Sandra L. Doggett, Urbana High School, Ijamsville, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Association of Children's Literature
“Writing so realistic that readers will feel the mosquito bites, the icy water, the exhaustion of fighting the current.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“This well–told tale rushes forward with nonstop action.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The trouble started over a mongrel dog, small, mostly black, short-haired and shivering. Without the fur to keep itself warm or the size to pull a sled, it had no business being in the North. How an animal so unsuited to living in the shadow of the Arctic Circle ever made it all the way to the Klondike is anyone's guess.

The gold rush had dumped a legion of abandoned dogs in Dawson City. They were a noisy, thieving bunch generally ignored by the population, including me. I no longer had the heart for dogs. During my struggle to catch up with my brothers in Dawson City, I'd lost a magnificent husky, as fine an animal as ever drew breath.

His name was King. The two of us had clawed our way over the Chilkoot Pass late in the fall of '97, only to lose our race with freeze-up on the Yukon. On New Year's Eve, that's when I lost King. More than a year later I missed him nearly as much as I missed Jamie Dunavant, the raven-haired Canadian girl I'd met along the trail.

Jamie was performing thousands of miles south, bringing the Klondike to the big cities. She was famous. Jamie had first become a sensation right in Dawson City, on the stage of the Palace Grand Theater. "The Princess of Dawson," that's what the miners called her.

Man, oh man, how I missed her.

Jamie's theater, as I thought of the Palace Grand, is where I found myself on a Saturday evening in March of '99. Strange to think that an hour later, a chance encounter with a dog would steer my brothers and me onto the road to disaster. Abraham, Ethan, and I were marveling at moving pictures, the first we'd ever seen. New inventions reached "the San Francisco of the North"surprisingly fast.

After the moving pictures, the owner of the Palace Grand entertained the audience with one of his shooting demonstrations. Arizona Charlie's target was a glass ball that his underdressed wife held between her thumb and forefinger. From clear across the stage, time after time, the old frontiersman never missed.

As the crowd spilled out into the sub-zero chill of Dawson's Front Street, the excited talk produced a cloud of vapor that fell as frost all around us. With buildings just on one side of Front Street and the other side being the riverbank, I could see the jagged ice ridges out on the frozen Yukon all lit by moonlight. Breakup, I was thinking, was only two months and a couple of weeks away.

While my brothers were trading guesses about the workings of the motion-picture projector, I was picturing those few freckles on Jamie's nose, her smile, her hair black as a raven's wing. For the thousand-and-first time I was pondering whether she really would return to the Golden City as she'd vowed.

Back in the fall, with Jamie gone only a few months, I was certain I'd see her walk down the gangplank of the first steamboat up from the Pacific. The endless winter darkness, however, had all but snuffed out my optimism. By March, despite the increasing daylight and the promise of breakup on the Yukon, I had little hope. Sometimes I doubted whether Jamie Dunavant even remembered me.

It wasn't often that Ethan or I had an excuse to visit dance-hall row. Abraham had laid down the law concerning drinking, gambling, and dollar dances. We were going to live by the code that our long-dead father had taught us, so help us God.

So far we had, though I could tell that Ethan, who had a fun-loving streak as long as Abraham's was short, was chafing at the harness. He resented Abe always playing the patriarch. At twenty-five, Abraham was oldest by only two years, while Ethan was nothing if not a full-grown man, burly and bearded and well over two hundred pounds. At sixteen I'd come into my full strength, but I hadn't yet succeeded in wrestling him to the ground.

As we passed by the entrance of the Monte Carlo, the fateful mongrel was padding down the boardwalk in our direction. I noticed the dog pausing here and there to look up at passersby with half-hopeful, half-wary eyes. Its face was split down the middle, half white and half black. Otherwise it was black except for white paws. The mutt's skinny excuse for a tail was bent at the halfway mark, broken maybe by a slamming door.

Its gaze met Ethan's. The white side of the dog's face had an eye that was uncannily blue; the eye on the black side was brown.

Ethan slowed to a shuffle. "That animal's all ribs. Look how he's shivering, Jason."

"Nobody's going to skin him for a fur coat," I remarked.

A knot of men who'd just emerged from one of the saloons was joking about the weather warming up, which it had, from fifty degrees below zero to around twenty below. One of them, a tall, lanky man in a fur coat, reached out his leg to give the creature a swift kick. Kindhearted Ethan was noticing and gave the fellow a nudge to knock him off his balance and spare the animal a crippling injury.

In an instant, the tall man spun around, discarded his gloves, and roared, "The glubs er off!" His slurred speech left a spear of frost in front of his ruddy face. The accent sounded not quite English, Irish, or Canadian. I wondered if he was a Scot. The crowd moving along the boardwalk-prospectors and hired men from the creeks, doctors, lawyers, gamblers, bankers, dance-hall girls, actresses, shopkeepers, and clerks-fell back in a loose circle, anticipating a fight.

Down the Yukon. Copyright © by Will Hobbs. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author's eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada's Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

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Down the Yukon 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clean and wholesome. I read youth books for this reason. Researched fictional exploration story as advertised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tara Neal More than 1 year ago
a great story with all the ingredients
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Down the Yukon, a sequel to Jason¿s Gold and maybe better than the first of Jason¿s adventures. This book was written by Will Hobbs and has an adventurous and wilderness genre to it. The book, whose main characters are Jason, Jamie, and Burnt Paw 'a dog found by Jason¿s brother Ethan' is about Jason losing his sawmill due to his brothers fame. Jason joins a big race with his old friend Jamie Dunavant 'princess of Dawson' to win the prize money and get back the mill. Jason¿s brother Ethan gets famous in this book by winning a fight against the best boxer of the world, and he gets lost in his fame by gambling all his money and the mill away. Jamie also suffers some hard times when she loses her dad due to a heart attack. The whole city of Dawson goes up in flames because of a suspicious accident. Everything seems to be going wrong for Jason and Jamie until they meet up and go for the gold with nothing but themselves, a canoe, and their dog. The genre of this book would be adventurous, and Will Hobbs did a wonderful job with this story. This book is exciting, exhilarating, and overall awesome. The setting takes place in Alaska in the late 1800¿s. Will Jason and Jamie win the race, will Dawson City accept new fame and disaster, you¿ll have to find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this was an okay book. Some parts are good and some are bad. I thought it had a lot of action and some little boring parts. I had some parts I liked and some parts that I did not like at all. The book has a good story. I think that people will enjoy the book but to me it was a little boring. I need more action in the books I reed. But that is just me. Jason, Jamie, and Jason¿s dog, Burn paw, was in a contest the see whom could get to Nome, Alaska first. Jason had had another dog before that named king Jason and king got separated from each other. Jason still found it hard to think of all the times him and king had together. So he got Burn paw to take his place. Burn paw was a good dog but not the best dog. So anyway who ever won the race would get 14,000 dollars. That was a lot of money back in the 1800¿s. This took place in a simple day. Back in the day, that when you went up river four miles was a good day. It takes about one hour to do that one foot just to give you an idea of how slow big boats went. now the boat they went in got twelve miles per day. They took off from Nome and prepared for a very long and challenging journey to Nome Alaska. There would be many trials ahead on the rivers they would travel and they would hit them head on and beat all of them. Will Jason, Jamie, and Burn paw win? will they make it to the finish line alive? Time will only tell Till then read Down the Yukon by: Will Hobbs
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book Down the Yukon Abraham, Ethan, and Jason are all brothers that own the mill. Ethan got drunk and signed the mill over to Cornelius Donner. Jason wants to go to Nome and mine for gold so he can buy it back. He remembers that he promised Jamie (in the first book they became friends) he would wait for her to come back to Dawson City. When she arrives he tells her his plan. She suggests that they enter a race to Nome for a 1st place prize of 20,000 dollars. Jason, Jamie and Burnt Paw (a dog he saved in a fire) head down to Yukon and race towards Nome Alaska. On their trip, they encounter many roadblocks such as their boat getting trapped under a tree, their boat getting destroyed and so on. Cornelius Donner and his partner are suspected to be behind most of the accidents. This resulted in getting a different boat. They take a short cut and they head to cut across the ocean. In doing all this, it was a race to the finish between them and Mr. ¿nice guy¿. The outcome of this changes the last fifteen pages of the book. Who do you think won? I disliked that the book took place between 1899 ¿ 1901. There was nothing that made it seem old. Instead it should be 1994 ¿ 2001. I also disliked the first thirty-five pages. They were boring there should have been more action in it instead of talking about everyone. I liked the main idea of this book. The great race was a great main idea and that is why Will Hobbs is such a great author. Another thing I really liked is how Jason and Jamie were able to fulfill their dream of living off the Koukok River.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. I think this is one of the best books i have read. If any of u get a chance to read this book i would.
Guest More than 1 year ago