Highliners are the elite of the fishing world, the skippers and crews who make the biggest catches—salmon, king crab, halibut, shrimp—and deliver them first to the bustling canneries of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. For these men—and for their women—the safe eight-hour day does not exist. It never will. Some fishermen get rich, many die broke. But they find a special joy in their work that can never be matched by the easier world of the landsman.
Set amongst the tumult of the early 1980s, Raiders follows the struggles of the Alaskan fishermen as they regain control of their fishing grounds from the fleets of foreign companies who have been plundering their bays. But such companies aren’t deterred, and instead they contract American boats to catch the fish for them. In order to keep his family afloat, he swears, Hank signs on with a Japanese firm. Shunned as a traitor by his peers, Hank keeps on fishing.
Long before Hank Crawford arrived in the waters of Ketchikan, his partners and compatriots were already in love with its shores. Following the final, crushing moments of World War II, Japanese officer Kiyoshi Tsurifune, Sergeant Jones Henry, and Resistance fighter Swede Scorden struggle to regain normalcy and any contact with the shimmering, fish-filled sea. Lost honor, fallen friends, their cultural identities gone in the wake of a nuclear blast - these fishermen-turned-soldiers have a long way to go till they regain the waters in which they feel most at home.
William McCloskey’s best-selling novel Highliners established him as an authority on the dangers and hardships of the Alaskan fishing industry. Now in an epic sequel, Breakers returns to Kodiak to chart the fortunes of McCloskey’s beloved characters as they make their living from the sea.