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Publisher's Summary

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 Petty, 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 though that this is no ordinary find.... 

And pretty soon the discovery leads to all kinds of jealousies and tensions. John Preston's recreation of the Sutton Hoo dig - the greatest Anglo-Saxon discovery ever in Britain - brilliantly and comically dramatises three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure.

©2020 John Preston (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about The Dig

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  • Andrea
  • 10-04-21

Loved it

I saw the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to read the book. It’s not often that one enjoys both the movie and the book but this was definitely the case for me. I don’t think it matters which way round you enjoy them. It’s a really interesting true story about an exciting archeological discovery.

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  • John Hayes
  • 06-02-21

Excellent listen

After watching the film I thought the audible would be a bit flat, but how how wrong was I?
It is a beautifully written book, transformed into a spectacular listen, different voice overs keep you entertained throughout and the story line is a never dull moment.
Personally, I found it is a welcome addition to the film.

4 people found this helpful

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  • S. Lancaster
  • 30-01-21

Beautifully read story of archaeology and loss.

The Dig is dramatises the famous Sutton Hoo excavation, imagining its impact on the finders.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-09-20

Extraordinary

A beautifully crafted tale about an extraordinary archaeological discovery in the shadow of looming war.

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  • Littlebricks
  • 28-02-21

Great story and film.

Enjoy this story about english history and the people who worked on the site. will visit the museum to see the treasure one day.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-02-21

Who Needs the Film Version?

This audiobook and its hardcopy should not be missed. I first read ‘The Dig’ several years ago, enjoyed it thoroughly and passed it on. The memory of it stayed with me, but inevitably merged with all things archaeological in newspapers, books and on TV. Then along came the film adaptation which I watched and enjoyed - to an extent, but felt it a compromise, and in some instances indelicate. So, I decided to buy another copy of the book, and audiobook as alteratives, and have been so pleased and rewarded that I did. The novel is written with 4 narrators and the audiobook deploys 4 voice actors. This is what makes the books so much better for me. There is more to learn and to enjoy about the characters from their view point and it reminds that this is a book of fiction and why fiction is fundamentally important. The narrations of Edith Pretty and Peggy Piggot are at the heart of this novel (as they should be) as this is about people first and foremost; an exploration of loss, disappointment, the wheel of time, and what of us we leave behind. The male narrations have their place, but the women make the book special. The audio book is very good, but I have to say I am not a fan of Simon Vance. His portrayal of Basil Brown is the least enjoyable of the four performers. Kate Reading shines out for me as Mrs Pretty in her convincing understanding and character understatement. Her description of her first impression of Basil Brown is a peach. Fiona Hardingham provides good voice contrast though equally able to reveal depth of feeling as well as disappointment and hesitant sense of worth. I thought long and hard about what seems something of an abrupt end to the book and it actually fits. It is no surprise and no loss that there are no narratives from the professional archaeologists. I am now ‘digged-up’ and what I hope will remain in me are the individual narratives of the four characters. (For those intrigued by the nightingale story, which is true, just Google for a wealth of information and clips.)

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  • Ovekat
  • 19-04-21

A Real Feel Good Story!

Having seen the film I decided to delve deeper into the story and I wasn't disappointed. I loved the extra detail and the subtle dialects. A fascinating story, well told, and a real feel good look back at life before the war. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • J. Mason
  • 10-04-21

Unfortunately dull

I was looking forward to listening to this and it was disappointing... So so dull, no real story, no depth of characters, no pace or excitement of finding such artifacts.
Very disappointing

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  • rosemary
  • 28-03-21

Not quite

Loved the book. Shame the film wasn't nearlyy
as good.
Great narration and compulsive listening.

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  • Julia
  • 14-03-21

Beautiful, gentle depiction of a real historical event

This is a lovely book to listen to, every narrator brings each of the characters to life. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s also puts the current day difficulties of lockdown into context, the generations before us had a far harder set of circumstances to deal with. Delighted to discover that the nightingale story is true as well!

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  • Karen M.
  • 12-03-21

Terrible

This book is torture. I am about 50 minutes into it and I just cannot listen to any more. It is excruciatingly boring as illustrated by this quote:
"But your feet Mrs Petty", said Mr Maynard unhappily. "I fear they will become muddy". "There's no need to worry Mr Maynard. As you can see I am wearing quite study shoes".
The lack of action and the recording of the most insignificant details are only bested by the incredibly irritating diction of the narrator.

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  • Helen Wilson
  • 22-02-21

So dull!

I find archaeology fascinating and the reviews for this book were good, but I had to give up on this recording. Slow, dull, and irritating. Once the dig leaves the early efforts of the amateurs, it’s too annoying to stick with. Awful characters, and dull dull dull.

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  • elizabeth b.
  • 19-01-21

Interesting

I bought this book because of the movie which comes out this month (feb 2021) it’s a reasonably interesting story but never draws you in emotionally. Won’t both with the film.