The Thornhills arrive in a harsh and alien land that they do not understand and begin a life that feels like a death sentence. But among the convicts, there is a rumour that freedom can be bought - that "unclaimed" land up the Hawkesbury River offers an opportunity to start afresh. When William claims a hundred acres for himself, he is shocked to find Aboriginal people already living on the river - and that other recent arrivals are finding their own ways to respond to them. Soon William, a man neither better nor worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life.
"A very fine, albeit terrifying writer." (Irish Times)
"Kate Grenville is a writer of extraordinary talent." (The New York Times)
"Grenville writes exactingly and with passion about the Australian landscape...The Secret River is a sad book, beautifully written and, at times, almost unbearable with the weight of loss." (Observer)