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The Valley

Written by Steve Hawke


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A murder in the remote bush in 1916 sparks a chain of events that will haunt a family for generations. Hidden in the refuge of a secret valley, their tiny community lives unknown to the world. When, a century later, Broome schoolboy Dancer falls foul of the local bikie gang, he and his father head up the Gibb River Road. Here, in a maze of rugged ranges and remote communities, Dancer begins to unravel the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Milly Rider, the mother he never knew. But the valley hides its secrets well. As Dancer learns the ways of his mother’s country, he uncovers a precious inheritance – one not even those closest to Milly expected to find.


'A sweeping epic of a novel ... The Valley is also imbued with a strong and authentic sense of place ... The Kimberley really comes alive in this novel, and if you haven’t been, it’ll make you want to go there. A big-hearted and sensitively told story, The Valley is a tale of love and loss, of family and the importance of owning your past and finding your identity. A highly recommended read.' Better Reading

'The Valley, is a tender and sensitive novel ... Hawke’s deep knowledge of the area and its history provides a sense of authenticity to the story, and his sympathetic characters endear themselves to the reader ... Like Kim Scott’s Taboo, this is a story of survival, laced with great sadness, but also a gentle humour. It is a good story, well told.' Books+Publishing

'... the intricate relationships between family members are worked out with delicacy and care ... a powerful and often tragic family saga.' Sydney Morning Herald

'The Valley deftly disentangles the accumulated driftwood of secrets, lies and fragmentary memory to reveal the redemptive power of coming to terms with our past. Steve Hawke draws us into a world that is respectfully and honestly grounded in decades of living in the Kimberley and working with Aboriginal communities, and in his own unique voice and humanity.' Stephen Kinnane

'Steve Hawke ... handles the Kimberley as surefootedly as a native son but with the observant eye of the outsider he was when he arrived there in the 1970s ... The story is subtle and told with a restraint that adds to its power. There is hardly a bad sentence or a false note: a remarkable achievement by a novelist old enough to know universal truths.' Herald Sun

'The Valley is a generous and heartwarming story that is beautifully written, bringing the characters and country to vivid life.' WritingWA

'... there's real pleasure to be had in Hawke's descriptions ... his exploration of the Bunuba people's culture and their country makes for an interesting ride.' Adelaide Advertiser

'... there is something astonishingly truthful about this story ... The Valley is extremely rewarding reading.' Good Reading

'... rich and evocative ... breathtaking'. Australian Book Review

'masterful storytelling as powerful as the Fitzroy River in flood.' The Weekend West

'The Valley, a masterfully told epic of the Kimberley, reflects [Hawke's] deep understanding of an area few Australians know much about.' Have a Go News

'You want to find out, you need to know, you really do. Because by now Dancer, Andy, Two Bob and all the rest of them have, through the occult science of good writing, got under your skin. If the structure of the story is complicated to begin with, the quality of the writing is natural and seamless ... The quiet drama of the narrative is enough.' Westerly

'Set in the Kimberley, this riveting, multi-generational tale evokes people and country with clarity ... The Valley couldn't have been written without [Hawke's] reverence for country. The story's built upon those colossal cornerstones of humanity: love, longing, betrayal and grief – but it's shaded a uniquely Kimberley hue ... Hawke's dialogue is dexterously constructed, true to the rhythms of the Kimberley and distinctly Australian.' National Indigenous Times


ISBN 9781925591187 (Paperback)
Formats B+ Format (208 x 140mm) (Paperback)
Categories ebooks
Father's Day 2021
Publisher Fremantle Press
Edition 1st
Publication Year 2018
Pages 256
Rights World
  • Steve hawke web size

    Steve Hawke

    Steve Hawke grew up in Melbourne, then lived in the Kimberley for many years, before settling in the Perth hills. His first adult novel, The Valley, was published in 2018. Out of Time is his second novel. He has also written the stage play Jandamarra (2008 and 2011), the libretto for the dramatic cantata Jandamarra: Sing For The Country (2014 and 2019) and the children’s novel Barefoot Kids (2007). His non-fiction writing includes Noonkanbah: Whose Land, Whose Law (1989), the biography Polly Farmer (1994) and A Town Is Born: The Fitzroy Crossing Story (2013). Read more