Leaving Protection

Leaving Protection

4.4 5
by Will Hobbs

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Raised in the island world of southeast Alaska, sixteen-year-old Robbie Daniels jumps at the chance to work as a deckhand on a salmon troller captained by legendary fisherman Tor Torsen. Catching king salmon from dawn till dusk, Robbie is living his dream -- until he discovers his mysterious captain's dark secret. Tor is illegally searching the coastline for


Raised in the island world of southeast Alaska, sixteen-year-old Robbie Daniels jumps at the chance to work as a deckhand on a salmon troller captained by legendary fisherman Tor Torsen. Catching king salmon from dawn till dusk, Robbie is living his dream -- until he discovers his mysterious captain's dark secret. Tor is illegally searching the coastline for historic metal plaques buried by early Russian explorers. When Robbie learns the value of these hidden treasures, he fears he may know too much tosurvive. Tor's wrath and a violent storm at sea put Robbie's courage and wits to the ultimate test.

Editorial Reviews

Hobbs blends details about salmon fishing in dangerous waters off Alaska as well as a few well-placed pieces of Russian history into a taut, exciting novel. At the center of the story is Torsen, who comes across as ambiguous and complex, never a black-and-white villain, despite his illegal acts. The first-person narration adds immediacy, especially in the final chapters, which describe the storm in action-packed detail.
Publishers Weekly
Hobbs's (Far North) nautical thriller brims with detail about the fishing life and weaves in historical facts as well. Sixteen-year-old Robbie leaves his family and their self-sufficient but poverty-bound home in Port Protection, Alaska, with hopes of becoming a deckhand on a salmon troller. Times are tough and the king salmon season brief, so Robbie cannot afford to be picky about any offers. He ends up aboard the Storm Petrel with the gruff Tor, a "highliner" (successful fisherman) who has worked alone for as long as anyone can remember. But Robbie soon learns that while the captain is indeed interested in catching salmon, he is secretly even more interested in a series of antique Russian plaques that were buried around the periphery of Alaska to claim the land hundreds of years before. An over-long history lesson in the middle of the novel puts a temporary brake on the narrative impetus, but the pace picks up again when Tor's conflicted nature reveals itself more clearly. On the one hand, he is a sympathetic victim of circumstance; on the other, he appears willing to act ruthlessly to protect his own interests. Or could Robbie be misreading Tor entirely? Robbie's doubts build to a climactic finale involving a dramatic and fateful storm at sea, grippingly rendered. Fans of maritime tales will relish the atmosphere and the bursts of action. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This story follows young Robbie Daniels of Port Protection, Alaska, as he somehow hustles his way onto the boat of Tor Torsen, one of the most successful and cantankerous fisherman in Southeast Alaska. Tor, of course, has a secret, and when Robbie finds out, he fears that his knowledge might cost him his life. The problem here, though, is that all of the tension is contrived. Tor never once does anything overtly harmful to Robbie other than working him like a dog, which is actually quite realistic for this line of work. Even so, Robbie is almost obsessed with the idea that Tor might try to take his life, yet the reader never feels that this threat is real and the core of the story never really takes root as a result. A catchy title and Hobbs's name on the cover are not enough to make this book stand out from the crowd. This favored writer clearly knows life on a salmon troller when the big fish are running, but overall this effort is very predictable and offers little to the reader aside from a few spurts of action along with some tidbits of local history. Hobbs fans will certainly read and enjoy it enough, but for the rest it is sadly a middling yarn with little real drama and no surprises. VOYA CODES: 2Q 3P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, HarperCollins, 192p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Tim Brennan
Born in a floathouse on the back bay of Port Protection, Alaska, 16-year-old Robbie McDaniel needs to earn money. He hops a ride to the fishing village of Craig in hopes of finding work as a deck hand on a fishing boat. After finding no opportunities, he finds a job with Tor Torgensen on The Storm Petrel. At first, they are highly successful at catching King Salmon, the most lucrative of the fish in season. Then a lull sets in, and Robbie finds out that, in addition to fishing, Tor is also searching for plaques buried by Nikolai Rezanov of the Russian-American Company who intended to claim parts of Alaska for Russia. When not fishing, Tor is an antique dealer, and he has come into possession of Rezanov's journal, which details where the plaques were buried. The plaques are valuable, and by finding and selling them, Tor can secure his retirement. During the fishing lull, Tor becomes obsessed with the search for the plaques, and Robbie worries that Tor may not go back to port. In the end, an intense change in the weather and the accompanying storm push the story in roller-coaster fashion to the exciting conclusion. Stylistically, Hobbs wastes no words, and the intensity created by the tight word choice convinces me that fishing for King Salmon could be the highlight of anyone's life. As usual, Hobbs integrates the results of the meticulous, historical research that he always does and, as a result, enhances the narrative flow. Robbie as a responsible young adult decision-maker is an excellent role model for young adults. This is a fine book in the Hobbs tradition. 2004, HarperCollins Children's Books, 192 pp. Ages young adult. Reviewer: Edgar H. Thompson
Children's Literature
Sixteen-year-old Robbie leaves his Alaskan island home of Port Protection hoping to realize his dream of fishing for big king salmon during their annual run. At the last minute, he luckily lands a job with Tor, a crusty, mysterious and legendary fishing captain who usually fishes alone. Tor's back injury leads to Robbie's having to do the majority of the fishing, cleaning and storing of their exceedingly large catch. Tor, however, is out to catch more than salmon; he has come upon an old Russian map detailing the locations of historic plaques buried in the late 18th and early 19th centuries along the Pacific shore to stake Russia's claims to the land. He has been systematically uncovering them and intends to sell them rather than turning them over to museums. Robbie begins to fear that he will be expendable after helping Tor realize his dual goals. This is an exciting adventure tale, although a non-fisher might tire of some of the minutely detailed descriptions of salmon fishing. Hobbs does a good job of weaving in history and current issues concerning salmon fishing. Tor is well realized; he is at times friendly, critical, withdrawn, demanding. The first person narrative makes Robbie's story more immediate. The rising storm, both within and around the trawler, builds to an exciting climax; although, the ending is softened with a somewhat sappy denouement. This will have appeal mostly for boys looking for a good outdoor adventure book. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 10 to 14.
—Peg Glisson
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2004: Robbie has been raised in tiny Port Protection, Alaska, but now that he's 16 he's eager to leave home to work on a salmon troller, both to make money for his family and for the thrill of catching the huge King salmon. A big, stern Norwegian named Tor takes him on as a deckhand, and the two head out into the Gulf of Alaska to catch as many Kings as they can during the short season. But Tor has more on his mind than fish: he's also hunting for historic and valuable "possession plaques" buried long ago by Russian explorers in an attempt to lay claim to Alaska. Does Robbie's knowledge of the plaques put him in danger from this moody man? A terrible storm at sea comes up (of course), and Robbie must fight for his life. Hobbs, author of Jason's Gold, The Maze, and other adventure tales for YAs, based this novel in part on his own experience gaffing salmon as a deckhand in Alaska (described in an afterword), and the details, excitement, and danger of the fishing ring true. The information on the history of Russians in Alaska is intriguing, too. A sea story and more, this will appeal to boys primarily; Williwaw!, by Tom Bodett, is another Alaskan adventure on the water, while Lucy the Giant, by Sherri Smith, about a teenaged girl on a crabbing boat in Alaska, is a good bet for girls. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, HarperTrophy, 178p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Having grown up in Port Protection on Prince of Wales Island in southeastern Alaska, 16-year-old Robbie is no stranger to fishing. Now that he's old enough to work as a deckhand, he hops a puddle jumper to a nearby town to pursue his dream of catching big kings on a commercial troller. He barely manages to secure a last-minute position before the short-lived, but storied summer salmon season begins, and he is initially very grateful to be the lone hand working under Tor, a moody and mysterious skipper who supplements his dwindling fishing income by selling antiques. His enthusiasm wanes when he learns that Tor is, in fact, pillaging the coastline of historical artifacts by systematically digging up a series of extremely valuable plaques left by early Russian explorers. Not only does Robbie question the captain's ethics, but he also begins to suspect that he may have learned a bit too much about the man's activities, and that Tor will not allow him to return home alive to betray his secret. All of the questions are sorted out in an exciting fashion by a sudden storm. Readers who appreciate straightforward outdoor fiction laced with bracing action and heady suspense will enjoy this book. They'll also learn a great deal about this rugged region, its history, and the present-day threats to Alaskan salmon fishing and the livelihoods of those who have depended upon it for generations.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Though Protection is Robbie's Alaskan port where his family works at subsistence fishing, he leaves his safe childhood when he becomes the mysterious Tor's deckhand. Known for a successful salmon fishing business but not his discovery of historical treasures buried along the Alaskan coast, Tor barely reveals himself. Either the silence scares Robbie into fearing for his life, because he knows about Tor's secrets, or Hobbs has insufficiently villainized Tor, but the only proven danger is slippery decks and high winds. None of the characters are convincing and most of the text is problematic. First-person narrator Robbie flips from present to past tense, using the present to explain fishing and past tense to describe his adventure, most of which is slow and laborious. Light characterization, in combination with slow text, harms the reading experience, until the final monster storm, when past and present meld together into a fiery pitch with a sugary denouement. In a final word, Hobbs provides background information and further reading suggestions. For patient fishing enthusiasts who are willing to wait for a final thrill. (Fiction. 9-12)
Children's Literature - Karen McCoy
Robbie Daniels' dream is to leave Port Protection, Alaska to work on a salmon troller. But he wants a lot more than a glass fishing float for his younger sister Matty—he seeks the experience, money, and glory that come with being on a real commercial boat at the height of king salmon season. When he crawls aboard the Storm Petrel, he hopes to find just that—but ends up getting more than he bargained for in the form of burly highliner fisherman Tor Torsen. Amid Torsen's brutish mood swings, Robbie stumbles upon Russian plaques and relics that Torsen has secretly collected. When his anger at Robbie's discovery subsides, Torsen provides him with a wealth of historical information regarding the relationship between Russians and Alaskan natives. But when Torsen is not regaling him with stories, the man's boorish nature has Robbie planning an escape off the Storm Petrel, and back home to Port Protection and his family. But as they hit a threatening storm, Robbie begins to realize that not everything is as it seems, and that Torsen's motives for selling the plaques may lie less in profit making and more in the king salmon fishing industry's changes. Charlie Thurston provides good narration with distinct, believable characters. Though the dialogue and storytelling between Tor and Robbie tends to slow the plot a bit, the historical content will be useful for students interested in how the Russian colonization of Alaska changed the course of its history. Reviewer: Karen McCoy

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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455 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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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Leaving Protection 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! The reviews said that this should be for an teenager, but i ead this book when i was11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should have been a good 'discussion' book since it was assigned as a sixth grade reading and review project. Unfortunately, schools seem to be assigning reading materials that are too advanced for the 'average' student. Most student browse the story and fail to comprehend the more hidden substance. Would recommend to a slightly older group of readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robbie Daniels just turned sixteen and he is anxious to find a fisherman who would hire him to be a deckhand for King Season. He finds a job for a fisherman named Tor Torsen. Before Tor hired him Robbie sneaked on his boat and found an old Russian plague. When Robbie and Tor went out to sea for the King Season, they caught fish after fish. For always went from a good mood to a bad mood. Then one day Tor told Robbie about the Russian plague. He said that they were really hard to find and that they were worth a lot of money. He also mentioned he had a way to find them. Now Robbie isn¿t sure why Tor hired him. He didn¿t know if it was just because he saw the plague or he really wanted the help. Now Robbie has to watch his back and make it through the season. I really liked this book because it has a lot of mystery and adventure in it. Some parts of it were really hard to understand because it had a lot of history in it. I had a really good ending and it kept you guessing through out the entire book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book I am recommending is Leaving Protection by Will Hobbs. I had to choose from a list of books as my eighth grade summer reading requirements. Leaving protection was the only guy book on the list. I lucked out because Leaving Protection is a book about a sixteen year old boy named Robbie who lived on a house boat with his poor family and liked to fish. The book takes place in a major fishing area in Alaska were he is trying to get a job for his family. Robbie gets a job as first mate with captain Tor Torsen. Robbie gets a forth of the money for catching fish, but that money can still add up to be a lot of money, But early one morning when they were fishing Robbie catches Tor Torsen looking for Historic Plaques. I would recommend this book to any teenage boy who likes the outdoors. This is the reason why I liked the book, because I like fishing. The book is mostly based around fishing. This book can also be recommended to adult men. A lot of grown men might like this book under one circumstance they must like and know about fishing. This is why I recommended this book.