Leaving Protection /
# of Reserves:
YA F Hobbs Will
In at CP (Corporate Parkway)
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 2004
Gr. 7-12. Sixteen-year-old Robbie Daniels hopes to earn money for college by working on a fishing trawler in southeastern Alaska during the king salmon season. He has no luck finding a job until he encounters Tor Torsen. Robbie soon discovers that in addition to fishing, Torsen hopes to find plaques that early Russian explorers buried in the late eighteenth century as they lay claim to Alaska. Torsen plans to sell the plaques illegally, until he and Robbie are caught in a huge storm. Hobbs blends details about salmon fishing in the 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. ((Reviewed March 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
Alaskan native Robbie Daniels signs on with crotchety fisherman Tor Torsen for the salmon season, not realizing the old man also wants his help hunting for items buried by eighteenth-century Russian explorers and now worth a fortune. Robbie, who can't quite trust his employer's intentions, is a sympathetic narrator in this often exciting and colorfully detailed novel. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2004 March #2
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 dénouement. 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) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2004 October
This fascinating page-turner is set off the Alaskan shores and tells the story of Robbie Daniels, a teenager wishing to fish for king salmon, and Tor Torsen, one of the best salmon trolling boat fishermen. As Robbie learns and struggles with the challenges of fishing and life during a season of king salmon fishing, a mystery begins to unravel. Torsen found an old Russian trunk with a former Russian leader's journal. The leader had written about several Russian Possession Plates buried along the coast. Torsen had found two of the plates previously and planned on finding another during this fishing season. As he and Robbie find the buried Russian Possession Plate, a storm hits and Torsen is washed overboard. At the last moment, Torsen warns Robbie of an incoming wave and saves Robbie's life while losing his own. Robbie makes it through the storm and eventually home at which point Torsen's daughter turns the plates over to a museum. Aside from an action-packed, fast-moving plot, Leaving Protection is also filled with bits of information about the history of Alaska and salmon fishing, making this a worthwhile read. Highly Recommended. Stephanie L. Dobson, Library Media Specialist, Beckham Combs Elementary School, Vest, Kentucky © 2004 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
PW Review 2004 April #2
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.
SLJ Reviews 2004 April
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.
VOYA Reviews 2004 October
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.-Tim Brennan 2Q 3P M J Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.
St. Charles City-County Library District
St. Charles County, Missouri