ully Velez -- half Mexican Indian/half Spanish -- is 13 when he joins the expedition of 1769 headed by Fra Junipero Serra that set out from Mexico to California with the objective of Christianizing the North American Indians and establishing missions. Lully is in the tradition of the mischievous boy who matures under the kindly eye of a great priest. The progress of the journey to California is described with accurate detail and Lully's adventures require only a slight suspension of disbelief. If the characters never come to speaking life, at least they are not completely dead. The stereotypical fumblings of the boy who wished to be of service do not detract from the dominating figure of the legendary missionary.