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A world beyond hope. A girl with a secret. One chance for survival. The Passage meets Mad Max in this stunning debut.


‘Dystopian tale-telling at its absolute best. A worthy successor to The Chrysalids and Riddley Walker.’ David Hunt

'The ravaged land and the intense, visceral voice of the Orphan make this an extraordinary and compelling read.' Isobelle Carmody

‘A brilliantly chilling post-apocalyptic world, evoked in a voice of spare, compelling beauty . . . every moment of the story is gripping and immediate. An all-around great novel.’ Sandra Newman

'Leaves you feeling like you’ve woken from a feverish dream.' Adrian J Walker

‘There were a heat. Air hotter’n blud. She felt it bakin her skin as she moved. There weren't nothin certain but one thing ­– the Reckoner were coming.’

Outback Australia. Hundreds of years from now. After the end. A girl races across the desert pursued by the reckoner, scavenged spoils held close. In a blasted landscape of abandoned mines and the crumbling bones of civilisation, she survives by picking over the dead past. She trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption and disease. An outpost whose only purpose is survival ­– refuge from the creatures that hunt beyond.

Sold then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission, carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present.

Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?

In a post-apocalyptic future, survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian outback. Living rough in the remnants of our ruined world, an orphan with her own brutal past must decide if what’s left of humanity is worth saving.


a believable and alarming post-apocalyptic future in the Australian outback

Andrew Nette, Australian Book Review

original, striking

George Williams, Weekend Australian

home-grown dystopia that is both haunting and vicious

Andromeda Spaceways

Definitely worth reading.

Stefen Brazulaitis, Books+Publishing

a distinctive story of bravery, resilience and self-sacrifice in a vicious, haunting future.

Ashley Kalagian Blunt, Newtown Review of Books

that must-read, high-calibre Australian sci fi/dystopian novel you’ve been waiting for.

David O'Brien, Glam Adelaide

Fans of dystopian stories will love this world.

John Affleck, Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

insightful, engaging and thought-provoking

Gloria Demillo, Tharunka

This is a book that deserves to become an Australian classic

Mischa's Library

an excellently written debut novel, and a compelling take on the post-apocalyptic genre.

Georgia Coldebella, RMITV

Challenging, thrilling . . . A satisfying exploration of desperation and imagined future myths.

Publishers Weekly

The ravaged land and the intense, visceral voice of the Orphan make this an extraordinary and compelling read.

Isobelle Carmody

Dystopian tale-telling at its absolute best. A worthy successor to The Chrysalids and Riddley Walker.

David Hunt

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    May 29, 2017

    Bantam Australia

    288 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 29, 2017

    Random House Australia

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks


There were a heat. Air hotter’n blud. Baked her skin as she moved. Dint carry much. Evrythin she had weighed against how far itd have to go. Count it. No ship, that were gone down a hole. No swag bar sum rounds that might help her get it back, the rest of it cast off an down the same hole. A bottle, drymeat, tea and a billy, four heavy rounds, scope, watercatcher, skully and wrap. Coat, boots, shirt an strides, more dust than cloth, woulda stood up on their own if she let em. Flint. Long knife. The shimmer come off the top of the cracked clay in the gully, always ahead, never gettin any closer. No seasons in the desert no more. Blud weight, blud money. It were a dead mans jacket she wore but that werent sayin much. Once and soon enough her boots was gunna be on sumwun elses feet. If they ever found her that was. She dint need no talent for seein the signs nor the scope to tell her that soon enough she was gunna be with the dust and dead and gone and on the wind. The System were near, she could feel the colour of it comin closer, but she figgered she werent gunna make it this time.

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