Cover notes are not always an accurate guide, but in this case they are. This novel, probably Gunn's best-known, is indeed 'packed with telling incident and thrilling adventure'.
The story focuses on Finn, a living symbol of Scotland's heroic past, as he grows through boyhood to maturity and fulfilment, bringing hope to his widowed mother and to the coastal communities of Caithness and Sutherland.
Finn is not "whiter than white": he delights in the challenges of life and on occasions is dangerously impetuous; but he displays the kind of male strength that leaves room for tenderness and sacrificial love. As a boy, he undertakes a walk of marathon proportions in order to seek help when cholera strikes his village, and later risks his life in the face of sea and storm in attempting to rescue his fellow fishermen.
Look out for the thrilling voyage to Stornoway, and if you have an atlas, find a large-scale map of northern Scotland - a pity the book does not contain one!
If you can wait, read "Butcher's Broom" first, however, because it serves as an invaluable guide to the historical background. If, like me, you go on to read Gunn's other novels, you will not be disappointed.