Fifteen-year-old Mark Redford becomes an apprentice to a gunsmith and the excitement of learning the trade carries Mark ecstatically through this book. Unfortunately, there is not enough romance, excitement, or even plain, ordinary plot to carry a reader. The most thrilling moment in the book is when Mark completes his-first gun. Shooting matches, a serious injury to Mark's dog, and a split between Mark and his best friend (later resolved when Mark realizes the immaturity of harboring a grudge) are merely subplots and incidents in search of a plot. The most interesting and best-written parts of the book are the passages on gunsmithing. But these are hardly enough to sustain a novel.