A brilliantly realised account of the most famous archeological dig in British history, now a major motion picture starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James.
'Exquisitely original' Ian MacEwan
'An enthralling story of love and loss' Robert Harris
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 farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find...
John Preston's recreation of the Sutton Hoo dig - the greatest Anglo-Saxon discovery ever in Britain - brilliantly and comically dramatizes three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure.
'A tale of rivalry, loss and thwarted love so absorbing that I read right through lunchtime one day, and it's not often I miss a meal' Nigella Lawson
'A delicate evocation of a vanished era' Sunday Times
John Preston is a former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was the Sunday Telegraph's television critic and one of its chief feature writers. His novel, The Dig, based on the 1939 archaeological excavation at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, has been filmed starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James. His first nonfiction book, A Very English Scandal, was published to great acclaim in 2016 and turned into BAFTA-winning BBC drama series. His latest book, Fall, tells the story of the rise and fall of the politician and business magnate Robert Maxwell.
'Very fine, engrossing, exquisitely original'
'An enthralling story of love and loss, a real literary treasure. One of the most original novels of the year'
'You don't need to be in archaeology - this is a tale of rivalry, loss and thwarted love. It's so absorbing that I read right through lunchtime one day, and it's not often I miss a meal'
'A rich vein of dry humour runs throughout'
'Intriguing, tender and entertaining ... easily Preston's best'
'A delicate, quietly affecting human drama'
'A moving novel that coheres wonderfully as it progresses'
'A delicate evocation of a vanished era'
Wonderful, evocative. From this simple tale of dirt, Preston has produced the finest gold. He keeps an iron grip on the reader's attention
'Beautifully written...there is a true and wonderful ending to the story'
Mail on Sunday - Bill Wyman
'Wistful and poignant. A masterpiece in Chekhovian understatement'
Times Literary Supplement
'Exciting, evocative and beautifully written. A treasure in itself'
Griff Rhys Jones
'Shimmers with longing and regret . . . Preston writes with economical grace . . . He has written a kind of universal chamber piece, small in detail, beautifully made and liable to linger on
in the heart and the mind. It is something utterly unfamiliar, and quite wonderful'
The New York Times Book Review - Michael Pye