I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Dig by John Preston
Published by Other Press on April 5, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Biographical, Historical, Historical Fiction
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A succinct and witty literary venture that tells the strange story of a priceless treasure discovered in East Anglia on the eve of World War II
In the long, hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, the widowed owner of the farm, has had her hunch confirmed that the mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find.
This fictional recreation of the famed Sutton Hoo dig follows three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure. As the war looms ever closer, engraved gold peeks through the soil, and each character searches for answers in the buried treasure. Their threads of love, loss, and aspiration weave a common awareness of the past as something that can never truly be left behind.
I had vaguely heard of the Sutton Hoo discovery when I requested this book. But I liked the synopsis of a retelling of an important historical discovery. Kindof like Indiana Jones in book form. Well The Dig was not Temple of Doom, but it was a fast, fun read that encompassed history and a little drama in a pre-war setting. A widow, Mrs. Petty and her young son live in Sutton Hoo surrounded by earthen mounds. On the verge of World War II she contacts with a freelance archeologist to find out what is inside. Uncovering much more than they thought, other organizations come to claim the find and to rule The Dig.
The plot of The Dig was very interesting. Based on real events, it supposed what might have been said and how the parties acted. The writing of John Preston was succinct and strong. He made a very dry situation enjoyable and intriguing. However, I was confused at some points as the various parties involved all blended together. The pacing was good; it followed a very specific time line. The world created was also good, as it was based on real locations. There was not a strong emotional tie in the storyline as it was more fact based and less focused on feelings. I enjoyed the characters as they were all strongly rooted in their ideals. However, a few of the archeologists seemed interchangeable.
I enjoyed The Dig and liked getting out of my usual reading categories. As not a huge history buff, some scenes were a little dry for my taste, but that did not hamper my enjoyment much. John Preston created an interesting take on a historical fiction and I would recommend. It was interesting to enter that time in such a specific way.
Favorite lines – There was also something intensely moving about its tenacious hold on survival. About the way in which it had resisted obliteration by transforming itself from one substance into another. From wood into sand. It was like a giant apparition lying there before us. I looked at Stuart and saw that he was just as affected.
Biggest cliché – We should totally dig up centauries old stuff. What could go wrong?
Have you read The Dig, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge