10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Bill R. Moore
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, let it be known that this is not a book you'll want to read unless, a) you are a huge fan of Arthur C. Clarke, or b) you are interested in such subjects as underwaters archaeology, shipwrecks, sunken treasure, etc. This book chronicles an expedition to the Great Basses Reef off the coast of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in the early 1960's, of which Arthur C. Clarke was a member. As it turns out, they came upon a sunken treasure ship, and recovered it. It was the first one ever found in the Indian Ocean, and, indeed, one of the few period in the last century. Clarke's writing, as always, is entertaining and witty, and keeps you reading, as the story is actually quite exciting (and has the added novelty of being true.) However, it does get quite dry and bland at times, as when Clarke devotes entire pages to legal esoteria and extracts from other people's writings and speeches. Obviously, it is not one of his major books, but neither is it meant to be. As a documentary, it is quite great. It reveals a major side of Clarke that many people are probably not even aware of. It also has many autobiographical ancedotes that fans will enjoy (it talks of when Clarke first felt the symptoms of his polio, for instance.) Also, there are over 100 great photographs in this book, including 16 pages of color ones. In the end, you will read this book if you are an Arthur C. Clarke fan, or if you are inherently interested in its subject matter. Otherwise, pick up Childhood's End.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Eric J. Anderson
- Published on Amazon.com
I found this book in the basement, and am getting near the finish now. Clarke may be better at writing non-fiction than fiction. I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Treasure of the Great Reef is an account of the excavation of a sunken treasure ship found on the Great Basses reefs on the south coast of Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). There were cannon and other artifacts, but mostly silver. It was discovered by Clarke's diving partner and co-author, Mike Wilson, quite accidentally during a pleasure dive Mike was taking with the two sons of one of Mike's friends.
This is a fun true-life adventure, and while there is nothing so fantastic in it as Pirates of the Carribbean or 2001, life is sometimes stranger than fiction. Clarke himself was unable to do much of the excavation work, being quite weak from a neurological injury -- some doctors thought polio, and some thought head trauma. The expedition was financed by... this is crazy... filming a hit adventure movie, the first Technicolor feature film ever made in Ceylon for the Ceylonese.
This book is highly readable, interesting, informative. It certainly beats 95% of the fluff that passes for fiction. If you like entertaining writing about true life adventures, this is a promising possibility. If you already like Arthur Clarke's science fiction, it is a no-brainer, because this book is better. It is informative and light-hearted. A very pleasurable diversion.