Books - Review


Showing all books by: Nevil Shute

No Highway
The one where the strange Mr Honey discovers a fatigue problem in the tail spar of the Reindeer, and they have to prove it, and find the tail of the crashed one in the forests of Labrador.
Very good - excellent story and some aero engineering! And some weird spiritualistic stuff although this didn't annoy me so much this time round.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1948
Read: December 7th 2003

A Town Like Alice
Jean Paget get shoved around Malaya during WWII by the Japanese, meets Joe, who gets 'crucified' for stealing food for them. After the war they meet up again, eventually, and Jean heads off to kangaroo-land to set up a crocodile shoes factory, ice-cream parlour, and, indeed most of a small town.
Great - really good story!
Score: 7.5
Published: 1949
Read: August 15th 2004

Slide Rule
His autobiography including building the R100, setting up Airspeed, and a bit on writing his novels.
Excellent, some really interesting aeronautical engineering history, shame there wasn't more about his writing, as he only mentions this as a bit of a side issue.
Score: 8
Published: 1954
Read: January 17th 2008

An Old Captivity
Out of work seaplane pilot Ross applies for a job with an expedition to Greenland, expecting fun and adventure, but discovers he will be organising and flying an academic archaeological survey expedition for Prof. Lockwood and his initially frosty but later lovely daughter Alix. Ross has to do all the work on the trip so he gets very tired and stressed and overdoes things with his sleeping pills. Then one night, as they sleep in their camp, (which the eskimoes have warned them is haunted by ancient spirits) Ross fails to wake up for 36 hours, and instead lives a dream of ancient Norse/Scottish settlers...
Pretty enjoyable, lots of great details on how to operate a seaplane in icy/foggy northern waters in the 1940's, and even the weird mystical dream bit doesn't seem out of place. Read this through in one day, having to stay up to 1.00am to finish it.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1940
Read: June 4th 2008

On the Beach
In a post nuclear holocaust world the Northern hemisphere has wiped itself out and life only survives in the south. Mainly Australia in fact. A surviving American submarine has pitched up in Melbourne, and, together with an Australian liaison officer, it goes off on a trip to see if anyone is still alive in the north. Meanwhile those still living in Australia have to come to terms with the fact that they will all die in September too - as the winds bring the radiation further and further south.
Not bad, but not enough action really, to compare well with his other novels. Everyone coped rather too well with their impending doom too. Sad though - quite moving.
Score: 6.5
Published: 1957
Read: July 8th 2008

Trustee from the Tool Room
Keith Stewart lives a quiet life designing and making miniature engineering models and writing about them for a magazine. But his life gets uprooted when his sister and her husband are killed in a yachting accident and he becomes the trustee for his young niece. Aided by engineer-modelling friends who admire his magazine articles he travels the world to try and regain his niece's lost inheritance.
Great, really lovely story. And the heroes are engineers of course. Quiet and unassuming heroes naturally - this is a Nevil Shute novel. Except the American ones, who are loaded and slightly more brash.
Score: 8.5
Published: 1960
Read: February 14th 2014

Pastoral
A love story set at an RAF bomber command airfield in 1943. Peter flies a Wellington bomber over Germany and Gervase is a WAAF radio operator - they meet after Peter catches a huge pike in the local river and brings it back to the base.
Great story, some excellent flying sequences but also lots of daily life on an airfield at war.
Score: 8
Published: 1944
Read: November 24th 2020