I first read a condensed version of this story years ago, and it haunted me. I had to learn what I was missing and was highly pleased recently to attain a copy of this complete book for my very own. McCaig writes in a very simplistic, to the point style which flows smoothly and quickly, telling a story of how an honest, hardworking farm man loses his newest stockdog in an unfortunate series of events which only seem to bring the two even closer together at the end. Nop's trials describe not only Border Collie stockdog trials--herding sheep and such for prizes--but the trials he must endure just surviving, wondering if he will ever see his master again or work again on his farm. It is intriguing to note that while you may occasionally "hear" what the dog's point of view is, he is speaking in his own dog language which humans may interpret or misinterpret as they will. A great read for any age, there are a few disturbing scenes described which may upset very young or particularly zealous animal lovers of any kind. Overall, this book deserves its place with all the other great animal stories like Watership Down, Tailchaser's Song, Firebringer, White Fang, The Black Stallion, and The Plague Dogs.