The Dig

  • Author John Preston
  • Narrator various
  • Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
  • Run Time 6 hours and 49 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Historical fiction.

Listen to a sample

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

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.

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 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 dramatizes three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivaly flourished in equal measure.

© John Preston 2007 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Critics Review

  • ‘Very fine, engrossing, exquisitely original’

    Ian McEwan
  • ‘An enthralling story of love and loss, a real literary treasure. One of the most original novels of the year’

    Robert Harris
  • ‘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’

    Nigella Lawson
  • ‘A rich vein of dry humour runs throughout’

    Evening Standard
  • ‘Intriguing, tender and entertaining … easily Preston’s best’

  • ‘A delicate, quietly affecting human drama’

    Daily Mail

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