The Honorable Barbarian focuses on the adventures of Kerin, part of a family of clock makers; he is sent off on a long and hazardous journey to find out the secrets of the Kuromonian clock escapement. De Camp has the marvelous ability to make daydreams come to life. The adventures of Kerin are like a marvelous daydream that has been given life and disciplined into the form of a novel. It is a coming-of-age tale in which Kerin grows from irresponsible boyhood to manhood. In the process, he learns to be open minded, respectful of other people's customs, and responsible. His adventures are populated by fairies, magicians of many kinds, eccentric characters, and the woman he befriends and falls in love with. The Honorable Barbarian is an example of de Camp's ability to have fun with words and story; the novel is humorous throughout.