Dave Duncan has a characteristically light touch, and a way with characters. He puts it to good use in this brief coming-of-age historical novel. Ivor faces difficulties, overcomes them, and learns about himself and the world.
There are no surprises here – if you’ve ever read a young man’s coming-of-age story, you know what’s coming. The Scots historical setting is interesting, if a little on the Wikipedia side. Mostly what works is Duncan’s trademark earnest, capable young character, bravely facing difficulty.
The story is short – 70 pages or so, but it works well for what there is. I’m not strongly driven to get what appear to be a couple of follow-ups, but the omnibus, Ivor of Glenbroch, might work well. As a standalone, this works as a slim YA story.
All in all, a pleasant, undemanding YA historical novel.