"Seven hearts the journey make. Seven ways the hearts will break." The wise woman's warning rings in Rowan's head as he and six companions set out to climb the forbidden Mountain that towers over their village, Rin. The stream Rin depends on has stopped flowing, and these seven are seeking the source of the problem. But no one who has tried to climb the Mountain has ever returned. Legend has it that there is a dragon at the top; every morning and evening the people hear its roar. Rowan is terrified. In a village where people pride themselves on being hardy and brave, Rowan has always been timid and shy. He is teased by the other children and belittled by the adults, who whisper that he will never be the man his father was. This dangerous journey is Rowan's chance to step out of his father's shadow and earn the respect of the village. But, frightened by the perils that lie ahead, Rowan isn't even thinking about this possibility. He's just wondering if he can survive.