A boy (Arrak) who lives in a hunter-gatherer society takes part in the coming of age/rite of passage of his society
His mother (Athien) is dead - he lives with his father, older brother (Akkan) and older sister (Enier)
His older brother has teased him about how long it has taken him to reach this point in his life - his father (Ennek), however, understands that it is more important to do this at the time that is right for him
He has spent two years preparing his own weapons (a bone knife, a stone axe, a short bow and five arrows)
The boys begin with a week of preparation - fasting and meditation; then they spend 3 weeks alone in the forest
If they come across each other they are allowed to nod in greeting but not to speak
Arrak comes across one of the other boys who is trapped by a rockfall and frees him in silence - have they broken the rules of the rite? do they tell anyone? are there adult men keeping watch and how do they react? how does their life continue?