‘I have just finished reading Gunnedah Hero and I have to say " I doffs me hat to you mate". I thoroughly enjoyed the read, Well done on a good, well written yarn.’ Reader age: 65
‘Clancy, what a great book. So typically Australian, a great bush story, mateship, of overcoming hardship, courage, love, and triumph. Never dull moment, and makes you want to read on with every chapter. Full of compassion, and warm hearted moments, the reader is not infrequently in tears filled with real emotion.’ Doctor Judith O’Malley-Ford – published author and MD.
‘I fell in love with Billie.’ Reader age: 30
‘Its a fast moving story..... ya can write a great story CT... I like the positive approach to the sense of strong positive relationships.’ Reader age: 21
I loved the story. ‘I found the plot believable and the characters authentic. The structure of parallel narrators works well, particularly because both boys are a similar age and have the same standards or principles. You have the very successful formula of the kids showing just how capable they are in the absence of adults, plus a few “baddies” to test or push them a little further.’ - Geri Coughlan – head librarian Trinity College.
‘WOW! What a story. I loved it.
It wasn’t a book I would normally pick up to read, but it was a book I couldn’t put down. Smokey was my fave, I found that I didn’t keep reading to see what was in the envelope, I kept reading because loved being on the journey with Smokey. I want the sequel now haha.
Fantastic, really. I came to work with bleary eyes on numerous occasions because I stayed up late to read, unable to put it down.
Tammy Lovett, Editor, Alexandra Standard, Yea Chronicle.’
‘Read Gunnedah Hero while I was away. I really appreciated the realism and the mammoth amount of research that must’ve gone into it. I also liked the way the book alternates between current day and 1910. Using naming the foal as a common thread throughout the current-day story was a master stroke. As Gunnie would say, love ya work. Wishing you every success with it.’ Vicki Tyley – author.
‘Thank you for the great read, fantastic book enjoyed the story amongst the few tears.' It's your fault I have not done any work for a few day's. A good job the boss is away, hahahaha. Keep up the good work.’ Reader age: 54
‘I like the voice of the book, sounds like you, short simple clean sentence structure, and you set the scene early, and define some of the intrigue..... What's going to happen next, I wonder.’ Reader age: 28.
Clancy also has 17 young readers, 9-17 years-of-age, who read his work before it is published, and complete a simple questionnaire. They are boys and girls, Muslims, Aborigines, Christians and Jews. All 17 have read this story and loved it.
I would love to hear from you if you have read the book. Tell us your opinion.
Here is the synopsis and review again.
SYNOPSIS: Fourteen-year-old Gunnedah ‘Gunnie’ Danson is despondent because he has an assignment on the drought. As a ‘Townie’ he knows nothing about the effects of this blight on the rural industry; but that is about to change. When he returns home from school he receives a surprise gift. His late grandfather has left him a box containing a manuscript. It was written by Gunnie’s great-great-grandfather, Smokey ‘Gun’ Danson after his journey up the long paddock as a fourteen-year-old drover; during a harsh drought in 1910. At the back of the manuscript is an envelope. It’s NOT to be opened until Gunnie has read the entire story.
Gunnie spends the weekend at Wiralee Station – a cattle station that’s been in the family since 1848. There, he reads the awesome manuscript and learns of Smokey’s adventurous journey. But while he is at Wiralee, he learns more than he expected – Wiralee is again under threat but for a different reason. Will the contents of the mysterious envelope save it?
The story is set in the Australian bush and parallels the lives of two boys – Gunnie, a present day lad of 14, and his great-great-grandfather, Smokey, at the same age. The story is based around a manuscript left to the present day lad that tells the story of his great-great-grandfather’s heroic journey to save the family’s cattle property during the 1910 drought. To do this he must take the property’s cattle on a trek up the long paddock. (For townies, that is the road verge – in times of drought cattlemen took their cattle on a long trek up the main road looking for places to feed them).
The property that Smokey saved is still in the family, and Gunnie goes there to read the manuscript. During the stay, he learns that the property is again under threat, but this time from a different source. Gunnie finds an envelope in the back of the manuscript that is not to be opened until after he has read the story. This envelope holds the key to save the property from this new threat.
Some of the adversity Smokey faces would be daunting for adults, but with guts and determination, he picks himself up, dusts himself off, and continues with his allotted task. The life lessons that his example sets for the young readers will stick with them and, hopefully, help them to deal with their own setbacks. It is cleverly written and is a heart warming and enjoyable read that will appeal to more than the child and young adult audience it is targeting. I became totally lost in the bush setting and the lives of the two main protagonists and felt like I was there with them.