The first book of Emily Rodda's first hit series (befor the even bigger Deltora Quest) A hero story for the shy, wimpy, quiet kids. Rowan is the shy, and timid herder of the bukshah (milk producing animals that the people of Rin keep). One day the stream coming from the mountain stops running. An expedition sets off from Rin to investigate the cause. Seven people set off, six adults and Rowan, a 10 year old boy, who is seen as weak and a liability. But Rowan is the only person who can read the mysterious map that Sheba, the wise woman of the village gives him. A rather straightforward adventure, with a few riddles thrown in along the way. Kids love this book- my 10 year old son certainnly does.