This is the first volume in the planned five volume set. I'm afraid much of what I've said about volume two applies also to this one, only more so. In fact a great deal of the content is also found in volume two, though this first effort has more to say about the actual recovery of the wreck. It is a book about archaeology for archaeologists. That may seem harsh (or perhaps not, if you are one!), but I have the impression there is no great interest in the ship as she once was at all.
The only illustrations of the 'complete' ship are rather poor reproductions of the crude picture from the contemporary Anthony Role. The 'History of the Mary Rose' occupies just 20 pages and the 'Description of the Mary Rose' is a description of the wreck, not the ship. There are numerous wreck pictures, but they reveal little unless you have a vivid imagination. For example, we are told that there were three deck cabins and that the one for the carpenter was 'under the sterncasle'- but where, exactly, and what did it look like? There is an attempt to describe it in some detail, but a picture would be worth a thousand words.
I thought the object of archaeology was to enable us to understand how the objects recovered really were in appearance, layout and utility,- in effect, to re- creat the past- but apparently not. This book is all about the work of the Mary Rose Trust, and, as noted above, there is a great deal about the recovery operation- which really occupies pages 21 to 89 of 148. After page 148 come details of 171 historical sources: these are listed chronologically and some of them are quite interesting, but they are not linked together to 'make a good read'.
The Trust can be very proud of its achievements, but this is not a book for the general reader, nor for those interested in Tudor warships in the context of their own time. Frankly, anyone who isn't 'into' archaeology as a science will find this work, carefully detailed as it is, deadly dull to read.