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3.23  ·  Rating Details ·  229 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Archaeologist David Norfolk is searching for a 400-year-old Portuguese shipwreck off the coast of New South Wales. Such a find would rewrite the history of Australia. But instead he unearths the body of a man murdered fifty years earlier, and begins to unravel a more personal kind of history. An elderly recluse, dying in a nearby shack, seems to know something of the corps ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published 2009 by Faber and Faber (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30)
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A man searches for the Portuguese ship that theoretically discovered Australia and finds himself sucked into a dying man's sadistic flashback. Bradley blends academic and theoretical history with archaeology, high angst, and wartime drama. The writing style jars and is generally discordant - it's hard to read. The words cut and rub sand in the wounds, and tell a story of the hardest love and the perpetuity of the disappointing politics of academia. Its emotions run high and hard and well-express ...more
Terri Kempton
Apr 18, 2011 Terri Kempton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wrack was a wreck. The only moderately interesting bits were stolen directly from The English Patient (and he even quotes Ondaatje, in case you were confused about his source). It's a cruel book: just as the male lead is put on hold, strung along, and left with nothing - we are strung along, left with nothing, thinking, "wow, that's 4 hours I'll never get back."
Suzanne Moore
Aug 10, 2009 Suzanne Moore rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia
David, an Australian archeologist, is searching for evidence of a Portuguese ship that was rumored to have been lost centuries earlier on a quest to discover Australia. What he finds is the remains of a body over 50 years old. He later meets Kurt, an old man, suffering in the final stages of cancer. Believing that this man holds the secret to the body and knows about the ship as well, he convinces a friend, Claire, to help him care for the dying man. While probing for information, he learns that ...more
Joyce Clark
The first thing to say about this book is there are no quotation marks! As a former proof reader, I found this quite bizarre and took some getting used to. Other than that the story is quite good, especially if you're interested in history as there lot of passages about the basis for the story (the possibility a Portuguese ship landed on Australia first).
Feb 15, 2011 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this was going to be about 19th century ships and fun. Instead it's an archeologist trying to find a 15th century ship. Sometimes the first chapter can be misleading. An easy 1-day beach read: typical floaty prose, love interest, etc. Standard average novel
Feb 01, 2016 Polack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A silly attempt at a best-seller list novel. Romance fiction at its most banal.
Jan 04, 2010 Renee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
so - so . predictable .
Feb 07, 2009 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious story involving miserable and unlikeable characters.
Jan 30, 2017 Maddy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jul 05, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read with with my Sunday bookclub, most of whom did not like it. I was slow to warm to it, but ended up really liking the story and style. Having said that, it was an ambitous first novel and it perhaps doesn't quite pull it off. At times Bradley's writing is very wordy and over the top but at others, it is mesmerising.
The basic story is quite conventional: a love triangle set againt a backdrop of professional jealousies and obsession. Bradley takes the possibility of a lost Portuguese ship bur
Jan 14, 2011 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, romance

Perante a sinopse deste livro pensei que iria que o autor iria, de facto, centrar-se mais no naufrágio da caravela portuguesa do século XVI na costa australiana, mas tal não foi o facto, o que me decepcionou um bocadinho. A estória centra-se sobretudo na investigação de David Norfolk, um arqueólogo que procura encontrar certezas absolutas em que foram os portugueses o primeiro povo a descobrir a Austrália e que na sua procura incessante encontra sepultado na areia de uma praia praticamente deser
Lara Monroe
Sep 10, 2016 Lara Monroe rated it did not like it
A complete wreck.

This book had no beginning. It was drudgery. There is a story of man and his love. The story of an old man. The story of navigators from centuries prior and then the story of random author comments. All four happen randomly. All four are boring.

This book was horrendous.

The middle began to speed up and you could tell it was written by a more confident writer and it was edited far more. The story became more engrossing.

Then, the author ruined it. In this building story, he kept
Katie Grainger
Jul 22, 2011 Katie Grainger rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly interesting it is difficult to define what genre this book falls into. It has elements of of a number of genre's but they mesh together quite well. This book follows the story of David Norfolk, archaeologist searching for proof that Australia was discovered earlier than previously thought. While searching for the shipwreck which could provide the evidence David needs, he finds a body. An old man in a shack by the dig site may be able to provide the answers David needs. W ...more
Contrived, melodramatic, pretentious, and frankly not very good. The ending in particular is quite stilted and unoriginal. Reminds me of the same genre as Jay Parini's work: historical fiction by smug nineties intellectuals that are not quite half as good or intelligent as they seem to think they are. Props for the research on Portuguese exploration and cartography, but it hasn't really been incorporated into the main plot except by "telling rather than showing", so it largely just seems to be p ...more
Christine Ly
I don't really enjoy the book to be honest. I had a few minor problems with it:
- There were no speech marks! I had no idea that the characters were speaking to one another until I read the "he says" or "Claire said" part then I'll have to read over what the character said to get an idea on what's going on.
- Wasn't thrilled with the amount of intimate moments that Kurt had with Veronica. I really didn't enjoy having to read it.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on this book because I had to analyse it for
Ms Tlaskal
Aug 08, 2014 Ms Tlaskal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in a night as it is on the HSC list for the new area of study - Discovery. I very much enjoyed the fluid mix of history, mystery and romance. I liked the metaphor of maps and discovery not only for our vast mysterious continent of Australia but also as a guide to some place even stranger- the human heart. I wouldn't call it truly crime, nor history nor romance but it is a voyage in Bradley's ship of dreams that is well worth taking.
Jan 28, 2015 Harvard rated it it was ok
I felt like there was a lot of emotion but not a lot of gravity to this book. Perhaps the novel's premise was hard to believe, or the melodramatic plot, or the strange focus on clavicles during sex scenes but yeah. I left it feeling like I didn't really care. The twist at the end also didn't have enough time to have its ramifications explored
Apr 25, 2013 Relyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: more cerebral readers than I
Recommended to Relyn by: Sibella Court
Shelves: abandoned
I wanted to like this book so much. It sounded great and has a wonderful title. Plus, I discovered it in a picture in the book Etc. by the amazing Sibella Court. Wrack looked so gorgeous in her photograph that I tracked it down. The reality of it was that it is too research based for me. I want more plot in my stories. That's it really, in the end, I am mostly about the story.
Mar 01, 2014 R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Hmmmmmmm, this was one of those books I picked up because of the cover blurbs and finished, only because of some latent OCD characteristics. In the editing process, some thought should have been given to pages of rather dry information that did not help the plot progress or add to the enjoyment of the novel.
Oct 01, 2013 Andreia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Deveras enganador. Se pensam que irão encontrar uma intrincada história sobre a descoberta da Austrália pelos Portugueses, desenganem-se! O pano de fundo realmente é este mas o que vamos vendo é o envolvimento das três personagens principais numa viagem ao passado de um deles e pouco mais... Não convence.
Alan Pottinger
Jun 19, 2014 Alan Pottinger rated it liked it
Reasonably undemanding read - although this chaps failure to use speech marks annoyed me greatly - did the Portuguese discover Australia? Do I care? I'm not convinced I'd read another James Bradley though.
Nov 25, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard the first time I went to read this book. I don't think I was in the right frame of mind, but then I went and picked it up again 6 months to a year later and loved it. I always tell my kids to always try a book again, because sometimes we are are just not in the mood.
Aug 15, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story of loss and obsession, which weaves together historical possibilities with fictional characters that spans hundreds of years. I demolished it in a weekend, it was so engaging. Somewhat nihilistic, but really about the dangers of living in the past.
Aug 05, 2007 Lowry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging story, I liked the aspects of history and expectation. The writing style of no quotation markes drove me up a wall, though, and the fact that the supposedly incoherent murmerings of an old man are written in beautifully poignant prose.
Isabel Mansfield
Aug 08, 2012 Isabel Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Read
An interesting book about obsession and mystery.
Wilma Rebstock
Jul 30, 2011 Wilma Rebstock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was wonderfully read by Humphrey Bower on Audible; I enjoyed the reading more than the book, however.
Mar 01, 2011 Caro rated it liked it
A bit odd, a bit sad but there was something catching.
Margaret M.
I am not a fan of historical fiction, but this novel incorporated history into the story and it was very well done.
Sep 23, 2015 Rhiannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
can't wait to teach this book next term.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James is the author of four novels: the critically acclaimed climate change narrative, Clade (Hamish Hamilton 2015), The Resurrectionist (Picador 2006), which explores the murky world of underground anatomists in Victorian England and was featured as one of Richard and Jud
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