Mark and Delia Owens auctioned off almost everything they owned, and traveled to Botswana with little more than backpacks and binoculars. They hoped to get a grant for their field research, but for the meantime their funds were short. So, with their meager funds they purchased a third-hand Land Rover, some basic camping equipment and supplies and set out to find a location for their field study. Many of the sites they had in mind were inaccessible and others were unsuitable. A local hunter suggested Deception Valley, a fossilized riverbed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Here there were no roads, no people, and no source of water for miles, their camp was more than eight hours from the nearest settlement. The animals of this habitat were so unfamiliar with humans that their camp was treated like any other part of the desert.
The Oneness spent seven years in Deception Valley where they studied, one of the rarest and least known large carnivores, the brown hyena as well as the black-maned Kalahari lion. .
The main topic of the novel was that little was being done to protect the Kalahari habitat and its inhabitants, Mark and Delia make several suggestions to help conserve this ecosystem, but if something isn't done soon the ecosystem could be at risk, . .
One of the most important considerations for the conservation of Kalahari wildlife is the preservation of pans and fossilized riverbeds like Deception Valley. During the wet season nutritious grasses grow on these pans and riverbeds, these grasses are the primary food source of many ungulates during calving. The woodlands surrounding these areas are essential grazing areas for ungulates. These Ungulates attract predators, most of which are concentrated along dry river systems. During the seven years the Oneness were in deception valley three geological survey teams come to look for mineral deposits as minerals like uranium had been found in fossilized river beds in Australia.