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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



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

    Steve Hawke

    Steve Hawke grew up in Melbourne but found his way to the Northern Territory and then to the Kimberley as a nineteen-year-old in 1978. Captivated by the country, the history and the people, he stayed for almost fifteen years working for Aboriginal communities and organisations. He now lives in the hills outside Perth, but continues his strong association with the Kimberley, returning most years. His writings on the Kimberley include Noonkanbah: Whose Land, Whose Law (1989), the children’s novel Barefoot Kids (2007), the play Jandamarra that premiered at the Perth International Arts Festival in 2008 and toured the Kimberley in 2011, and A Town Is Born: The Fitzroy Crossing Story (2013). The Valley is his first novel for adults. Read more