Publisher's synopsis

‘Bobby Wabalanginy never learned fear, not until he was pretty well a grown man. Sure, he grew up doing the Dead Man Dance, but with him it was a dance of life, a lively dance for people to do together…’

Told through the eyes of black and white, young and old, this is a story about a fledgling Western Australian community in the early 1800s known as the ‘friendly frontier’.

Poetic, warm-hearted and bold, it is a story which shows that first contact did not have to lead to war.

It is a story for our times.


  • Winner 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction
  • Winner 2011 Miles Franklin Award
  • Winner 2011 ALS Gold Medal
  • Winner 2011 Victorian Premiers Prize for Literature
  • Winner 2011 Victorian Premiers Prize for Fiction
  • Winner 2011 Kate Challis RAKA Award
  • Winner 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book – Regional Winner