The wind moving the pampa grass like a tide, the careful tradition of breaking a horse, of a boy becoming a man by helping to break his first horse--it could only be northern Argentina, and the delineation is more than detail-deep in this story of a dangerous trek to maintain continuity and accept change. Martin, thirteen, is the boy who has just become a segundo, and his greatest hero--and chief frustration--is his uncle, Epifania, the domador and second-in-command on the ranch. A drought threatens the herd: Martin and the padron's two sons want to take the horses over the mountains to pasture in the south; the two older men resist--this has never been done successfully--then agree reluctantly. During the passage over rocky trails and snake-infested prairie, through a hailstorm and blasting winds, Marta, the mare Martin helped break, is often in danger and eventually bitten by a snake--he fears for her, he tends her, but always the herd comes first. And a rapprochement between Martin and his uncle comes also: the old man is still the leader, but he gives a little, and Martin grows a little. The style is rather stiff and deliberate--this isn't everybody's adventure--but two aspects, intertwined, linger with the reader: a sense of place, the sense of a unique shared experience. And there's enough horse lore for horse lovers.