The water in the stream has dwindling to nothing -- the villagers must find the cause before they all die of thirst. Rowan thinks he knows, he hears an odd roaring in the distance in the evening. But he's shy and quiet and no one listens to him.
When a strange witch's message suggest the need for a adventuring group to investigate, six are selected. Six of their strongest, bravest men and woman, and Rowan -- not because he is brave, but because he is the only one who can read the witch's magical map.
Rhyming coded verses from the map that only Rowan can read, warn the group of obstacles such as halls of enormous spiders, daeth-calls from a misty marsh, and other obstacles as the group heads toward the mountain's frozen summit.
By the time Rowan and those who are left reach their destination, they will all have learned lessons in fear and courage.
The adults and Rowan change in this book. The adults see their mistakes; Rowan -- having oft been called a coward -- is overjoyed to realize he wants to be brave. This story is a fairly short and fast read, and probably suitable for 7-year-olds and up. However, beware that later books in the series become darker and more graphic. Rowan of Rin is tightly plotted and well-interspersed with both realistic and fantasy elements. Rodda's descriptive style ranges from poetic to sparse, and, if you read closely, you might see her hints of the adventures to come.
Review by D.