Reimagining the Sutton Hoo dig, the greatest Anglo-Saxon archaeological discovery on British soil, John Preston brilliantly dramatizes three months of intense activity on a small estate when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure.
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, a widowed farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As an archaeological dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find, and the discovery leads to a host of jealousies and tensions.
Elegantly crafted with great tenderness and a poignant attention to detail, The Dig is more than a novel about archaeology. At its very core, this is a novel about the traces of life we all leave behind.
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- Ruth Bain