The Nenetses, the last reindeer breeders of the Great North, live in northern Siberia. Edik is fourteen years old and goes to school in the small village of Antipayouta. During his spring vacation, Edik goes home to see his parents who live in a vast ice desert – the tundra. In this universe, dominated by the cold and frighteningly violent winds, Edik must learn about the difficult life of a reindeer breeder. If he proves worthy of his ancestors, he will take his place among the men.
Four thousand kilometers away, in southern Siberia, in the heart of the Altaï, live the camel breeders of Bactriane. The last few summers have been too hot, and it’s become more and more difficult to find enough green pastures to feed their entire herd during the winter. Natsag, the head of the family, has decided that, with the help of the spirits, this is the year he will choose which of his two grandchildren, Altagan or Dsolbo, should take charge of half of the herd. The boy he chooses will thus gain his independence and will be recognized in the Mongol world as a true man.
From the north to the south of the huge expanse of Siberia, people have kept their roots and perpetuated their ancient culture of nomadic animal breeders. Edik, Altagan and Dsolbo, children of the steppes and of the tundra, all lovers of dry and often hostile lands, will have to retain the teachings of their elders in their hearts if they are to become true men.