Also By This Author
“Magnificent . . . an unflinching exploration of modern Australia’s origins. . . . Grenville’s psychological acuity, and the sheer gorgeousness of her descriptions of the territory being fought over, pulls us ever deeper into a time when one community’s opportunity spelled another’s doom.” New Yorker
The Secret River
978-1-84195-914-6 • $16.00 • Paperback • May 2007
“Just like Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang and Thomas Keneally’s The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith before that, [The Secret River] is a powerful illumination of the history that has shaped [Australia].” Vogue (Australia)
The Orange Prizewinning author Kate Grenville reaches back into her family’s history to craft an astounding new novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the dramatic and potent story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people.
London, 1806. William Thornhill, an illiterate Thames bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep feelings, steals a load of wood and, as a part of his quick sentence, is deported to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. In this new world of convicts and charlatans, Aborigines and arrivistes, Thornhill tries to pull his family into a position of power and comfort. When he rounds a bend in the Hawkesbury River and sees a gentle slope of land, he thinks he has found a way to do so, and a determination to make the place his own takes over. But, as uninhabited as the island appears at first, Australia is full of native people, and they do not take kindly to Thornhill’s theft of their home. The Secret River is the tale of Thornhill’s deep love for his small corner of the new world, and his slow realization that if he wants to grow old there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people.
In The Secret River Kate Grenville vividly re-creates the fears, the aspirations, and the confusion inherent in settler life. This is a brilliantly written book, an historical epic, and an interrogation of the monstrous choices pioneers once made between honor and death, between their old way of life and a strange new one, between going back home and forging an existence in a new country.