The Deep Field
Sceptre, $29.95 hb, 386 pp
Anyone can write a book, a cynic once remarked, but bringing off the second is a devil of a task. Most novelists at the outset of their careers would agree, I think – especially these days when a market-driven publishing industry often demands that authors of successful first novels should come up with more of the same ASAP.
I was a trifle apprehensive, therefore, when James Bradley’s second novel arrived. Two years ago, Bradley achieved considerable success with Wrack, a fine, atmospheric work that stood out from the ruck of run-of-the-mill first novels. As it turns out, I had little cause to be uneasy. With this much more substantial second work of fiction Bradley confirms that Wrack was no mere flash in the pan.