James Bradley’s Wrack is a book which leads you astray from the outset. The blurb, the prologue, the first chapter, all point you in entirely the wrong direction and unfortunately, I don’t think it was deliberate.
When I picked it up, I thought I was reading the adventures of archaeologist David, but it soon became apparent that this wasn’t the case. David’s life was no more than a place setting, interleafed within the true story. Now I don’t object to this tactic, it can work really well, but the problem I had was James Bradley seemed entirely undecided which tale he preferred, so instead of venturing into the past and learning one story, he straddled the fence.
First, we had the present and all of the baggage being dragged along, and then the past. Neither held the upper hand and I think this diluted the power of both tales significantly, but this wasn’t the killer for me.
No that belonged to the fact that none of the characters were likable or relatable. It was like watching a movie where everyone is a villain, so I couldn’t emphasize with any of it.
Now I do like to find a positive and I guess in this one it was the actual true story which underlined the book. This was presented as an offshoot but it did appear as if James Bradley had researched his facts.
I would hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. It wasn’t like I hated reading it, more that I didn’t see the point of why I had read it when I finished.