Read An Old Captivity by Nevil Shute Online


Young pilot Donald Ross has little in common with the Oxford archaeologist who has employed him on an expedition to the Arctic—and still less with his beautiful but stubborn daughter, Alix. But once the three of them reach the treacherous shores of Greenland, in search of the ruins of early Viking settlements, their destinies are inextricably bound by the events that unfolYoung pilot Donald Ross has little in common with the Oxford archaeologist who has employed him on an expedition to the Arctic—and still less with his beautiful but stubborn daughter, Alix. But once the three of them reach the treacherous shores of Greenland, in search of the ruins of early Viking settlements, their destinies are inextricably bound by the events that unfold there....

Title : An Old Captivity
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781842322758
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

An Old Captivity Reviews

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-02-16 17:51

    This old yarn of a novel feels as though after a minimum of plotting and the occasion assisting sip of whisky and soda the author just typed and typed until the book was done.It opens with the framing device of a man listening to another man's story. Logically the point of view in the rest of the book until we reach the frame again should be the storytellers - but it isn't (at least not consistently). Slightly oddly the end of the story doesn't match up with the storytellers situation in the introductory chapter which is set some years after the events that he is going to describe. That's ok, the story is entertaining enough and a sip or two of your whisky and soda might help you get past this.The book was first published in 1940 with the action is set in the early 1930s. The attitudes displayed in the novel are very much of its time. The race theory underpinnings of colonialism are important, our storyteller, the aircraft pilot Donald Ross has an Irish mother and a Scottish father and his Celtic heritage is significant - the dreaming Celt has an important part to play. Ross has been employed by an Oxford Don by the name of Lockwood and is travelling with him and his daughter to Greenland with the intention of carrying out an aerial photographic survey of the area of the Norse Eastern settlement. At one stage the party are forced to stop by bad weather en route at an Inuit hut on the Greenland coast.The colonial situation of Greenland is clear and intended or not the colonial message is hard to miss. Ross has to radio the Danish Governor to ask permission to land which is granted on condition that they don't give weapons or alcohol to "the natives" and Ross advises the Don's daughter to slap the Inuit women if they bother her too much (Clearly he hasn't had the chance to read How to win friends and influence people). The Norse settlement to Greenland was of course a failure and this comes across as a warning to the reader (presumably the author assumes that Greenlanders won't be reading). The failure of the Norse colony is explained here as been due to the settlers having (gasp) "gone native". The occasional Inuit with European features demonstrates to them the frightful miscegenation that occurred when the Norse way of life was no longer possible after their abandonment by "the mother country". All that the colonists had needed to survive was "a square deal from the Mother country". In 1940 when this book was first published the British Empire still looked strong to uncritical eyes, but by 1965 when it was reprinted decolonisation was well underway, although possibly the ending looks forward to the USA replacing Britain in its role of providing the goods needed to preserve top down colonial regimes in unsuitable environments. Having arrived in Greenland our Celtic storyteller begins to dream. These dreams are brought on by the combination of fatigue and German-made sleeping pills. The pills are interesting, on the one hand the aeroplane is undoubtedly a technical symbol - the white man has the technology and so rules everywhere, the pill opens up the underworld, the chemist here a cross between a Jungian alchemist and a seer, yet we might conceive of the sleeping pill as no less a technical symbol than the aeroplane - the colonial domination of the primitive body by the means of technology, so a slightly mixed message. The rendering of Ross' fatigue and strain is I think the best part of the book. Because this is not the book to pass a stereotype by but rather prefers to embrace it with great affection the Oxford Don and his daughter are, obviously, hopeless impractical. So Ross has to plan the expedition, fly the plane and maintain it. Shute reminds us of Ross' concern about fuel levels, the weight of the plane and the fears of the deterioration of mechanical parts that leaves him awake at night, desperate for a sleeping pill. The weather determines when they can fly, the refuelling is arduous work and Ross gets less and less time to sleep.Over-strained, in Greenland and under the influence of the Germanic sleeping pills, Ross dreams. Maybe he taps into the collective unconscious or maybe he remembers a past life, in any case in his dreams he revisits the Norse settlement in the time of Erik the Red and Leif Erikson and if you are familiar with the Vinland Saga you can probably imagine how the book ends. Overall this is one of those irritating books were you get a sense of the author's skill, but are exposed to their clumsiness and unwillingness to be consistent. Very much of its time, it has some interest as a period piece.

  • Algernon
    2019-01-29 22:55

    [9/10] Nevil Shute does his storytelling trick once again. This is a straightforward tale of an archeological expedition to Greenland sometime between two world wars, three people in a small plane against a hostile environment even in the months os summer. And the story of two people from wildly different backgrounds coming to understand and care for each other.The author knows his stuff when it comes to early aviation and the level of detail both in the preparation of the journey and in the actual flight is astounding. Some readers might be turned off by the dry delivery of technical information, but for me it brings back memories of past favorites describing the expeditions of Nansen, Shackleton or Thor Heyerdahl. The world around us was already shrinking in the early 20th century, with few white spots left on the maps for the adventure oriented explorer. The merit of Nevil Shute here in An Old Captivity is to show that such an expedition relies not only on courage and determination, but most of all on careful planning, a lot of money, bureaucratic paper chases and endless hard work - checking and rechecking every detail, every bolt and nut that may mean the difference between life and death when the nearest settlement is hundreds of kilometers away.As usual for the author, all these technical details do not overshadow the human interest story , exploring the interplay between the three main characters : the dedicated pilot, the slightly clueless Oxford don and his opinionated daughter. With his characteristic delicate touch, Nevil Shute goes into the mind of each character, slowly overcoming shyness and distrust to gain respect and eventually the possibility of love.In another theme dear to the author, the scientific mind of the engineer is put to the test trying to unravel the mysteries of the psyche. A dream journey takes us back through the centuries to witness the life of a Norse settlement on what is possibly the most inhospitable island in the world, and the eventual discovery of the North American continent well in advance of Columbus. I have remarked on this spiritual journey both in Round the Bend and in The Rainbow and the Rose, two other books by Nevil Shute that I liked.

  • Nikki
    2019-01-19 15:34

    An Old Captivity is rather hard to pin down, in terms of genre. It's clumsy in places, too -- the frame story is okay to begin with, but then... doesn't really do anything. It doesn't match up properly with the rest of the story. That didn't bother me too much, though. I got really absorbed in all the concrete details of this book: the plane, Ross' efforts to get ready for the trip, his worries, his sleeplessness... the slow growing of understanding between him and Alix. Even the precise geography and the bits taken from sagas and so on.It's slow paced, and there isn't much magic in it, but there was enough to go round for me. Nevil Shute won me over.

  • Bob
    2019-01-20 20:41

    I enjoyed this book more than any I’ve read this year. I don't think have the ability explain why I like the book as much as I do. Perhaps it is Shute himself I like. To date I’ve read six of his books and all have been fantastic. Nevil Shute may simply be my favorite author. Shute writes about the hidden hero that can be found in everyday people. He gives us stories about ordinary men and women facing adversity. For the most part his characters rise to the occasion, but he shows us defeat as well.

  • Owen
    2019-01-30 15:44

    Nevil Shute's style will probably not please the modern reader much, and that is unfortunate. His love of detail and the pains he goes to make sure of what he is stating are characteristics that I enjoy in his texts. Sometimes, he goes to an almost ridiculous extent to flesh out the reality of his background, when it probably would not be missed. Yet just as he does this, you can see him entering a truly fictional world in which, whoops, his characters suddenly do resemble real people and his narrative suddenly comes to life. It might be the extra effort Donald Ross goes to get the wireless to work, something banal and silly like that, but we know, almost without realising it that Shute is suddenly expanding a fictional context to include the all too likely possibility of future danger, and we realise just how much care is being taken. The work is not sloppy; it is methodical and I admit, at times a little dry. Yet when Shute's work really fires, it is because of this attention to the right kind of detail."An Old Captivity" has long been one of my favourite Shute novels. In a way it's an experimental sort of book: it takes the long wide arc of a journey from Britain to Canada via Iceland and Greenland, as its background. The path of a small seaplane is traced with infinite pains to capture the solitariness and the arduous nature of the voyage. Its three passengers are linked together in interesting and diverse ways. Slowly, against the further background of the Icelandic sagas, the tale emerges and, as usual with Nevil Shute, it is not what we are expecting. Just when the clean, crisp, almost mechanical prose has us thinking one thing, Shute leaps off into a void composed of history and imagination. It's an extremely disciplined piece of writing and I hope you'll enjoy the ride.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-02 23:32

    Having recently read a series of disappointing, or just more challenging books, picking up another Nevil Shute novel was the reading equivalent of (or ideal compliment to) curling up in a favorite chair with tea and good music - at once calming and invigorating, familiar and new. A perfect relaxation read. This again features his great characters - earnest without being stiff, and good but not prim. An aging Oxford don wants to survey an area of Greenland for his archeological research. He knows that aviation should make it possible, but has no sense of the challenge it will pose - it is set in the first half of the last century and there is little infrastructure and less experience flying in such conditions. As the trip comes together, the novel explores how relatively ordinary people deal with fairly extraordinary adventure. Shute's anti-heroic depiction personalizes the adventure, and makes me feel like I could have been part of it. That, and the very appealing characters, make for pretty good escapism.

  • Robin_R
    2019-02-01 22:53

    It’s so nice to spend a few days immersed in another decent and kind world created by Nevil Shute!

  • Chris
    2019-01-21 22:37

    I'm not even sure I should call this fantasy, but whatever, my shelves don't claim to be an exhaustive list of categories. Ride-along time-travel In A Dream is SF for people who don't want to write SF; I probably shouldn't comment until I've read more Shute, but I get the feeling he thought SF had to have a certain plausible deniability and be separated hygienically by framing narratives in order to be respectable. (There's a really weird half of a framing narrative right at the beginning with an unnamed first-person narrator; after setting up that first-person intimacy and some questions one might expect the narrator to answer, it dives straight into the story of the actual characters and we never see the unnamed 'I' again, not even at the end.) The time-travel bit was weirdly unconnected to the contemporary bit, and there wasn't any tension or reconciliation between the two: all three main characters wondered if Ross (the one who had the time-travel dream) was nuts, but no one seems particularly bothered by it, and when they find out fairly definitively that his dream was true, they all just sort of shrug and go to New York rather than realising the implications. I think it would have been more successful if the parts had been more balanced in size, and if two characters, or even all three, had time-travelled too, so that the last section could have involved sharing impressions and arguing 'Did we? Or are we both nuts?', rather than Ross being all 'I had this really weird dream, it felt totally real' and the other two going 'Hmm. *side-eye*' for thirty pages.That said, it was totally absorbing, with a subtle but effective change of register for the Viking bit, and I loved the expedition to Greenland. Whatever else Shute has (and I should mention that it was published in 1940, with all that implies), he has a great deal of I-want-to-read-it-osity.

  • Elisabeth van Breda
    2019-02-01 22:39

    At first you may think it is boring but reading on you're brilliantly captivated in the story of a modern pilot who becomes an illness while everybody depends on him. During his illness he hallucinates he was in a previous life. All in all it makes you wonder...

  • wendy c
    2019-02-16 15:54

    I really enjoy Nevil Shute's books. Yes, some have dated a bit, but this writers love for his fellow man, his excellent writing, and his perception has always delighted me. This is a paranormal romance in it's way.

  • Larry Piper
    2019-02-06 20:44

    Donald Ross is a young man who learned flying in the military, then honed his craft flying about Canada, learning the intricacies of flying over the water and in remote places. He gets a job with an archeologist, Mr. Lockwood, who wants to investigate the possibility of Celtic settlements on Greenland. The operation is to be financed by Lockwood's rich, industrialist brother. There's a clinker, however, it seems that Lockwood's frumpy and prickly daughter, Alix, is to join the expedition. To Ross, that doesn't bode well, but he does need a job and likes the challenge. So, they head off. In Iceland, Ross begins having sleep problems. He procures a prescription of "propylin" (no idea what that might be). The first few nights, he sleeps like the dead and wakes up refreshed. But as the journey progresses, he begins having strange dreams. He begins reliving the life of some early settler to Greenland hundreds of years previously. Strangely, Alix seems to appear in the dreams as well. He even begins seeing "remembered" landmarks. Something like that. This being Nevil Shute, the book is chock full of nerdy technical details about planes and engines and flying into and out of sea landings and how to secure sea planes and so forth. Still, it's quite a good yarn, as are all Nevil Shute tales, albeit somewhat more mystical than most of his works. Truly a GoodRead.

  • Liz Barlow
    2019-01-24 17:31

    I have always been a fan of Neville Shute. He is an old style story teller. Protagonists are always competent, kind, responsible, technical men with a standard for high ethical and moral conduct. And these guys always, in their quiet and non deliberate way, manage to woo the socks the gal. And, there is always a very off beat twist in the plot that holds you to the end despite all the tedious technical detail he sometimes gets bogs down with. I give it 5 stars when it probably only warrants 3.5 because I find his books relaxing, romantic as well as fascinating. Men seems to enjoy them because they always have a technical aspect. They're my go-to books whenever I really need to get away.

  • Andrée
    2019-01-25 21:47

    Oh Nevil Shute captivated me decades ago.....this is reminiscent of 'In The Wet'It's dated for sure by the technology, the manners (dressing for dinner!) and the mores but the stories are so well written that it doesn't matter. Neither the stories nor the characters are glamorous but they're all decent, reliable and thoroughly likeable.There's always love and plenty of practical detail in equal measure. After reading one of his books I always feel that I too could moor a sea plane, fly over mountains, adjust my tappets and refuel - all without once cussing

  • Kevin Findley
    2019-02-01 23:29

    Around page 50, the book kicked itself into third and didn't let up for about a hundred pages. Despite that, the ending felt like a letdown. The resolution was imperfect at best and the energy just felt drained about ten pages before the actual finish. Still, a poor ending to a Shute book is only by comparison to his other works. Tracking down a copy is well worth your time and effort, so ...Read it!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-01-20 18:27

    Great Book!I don't want to give away the plot. Do we love the same person over and over? Can some of us remember more than others? See what you think as you read this wonderful work of fiction that is based on archaeological research.

  • Kathy Piselli
    2019-02-19 17:36

    Great writing, worth a read just to learn the fascinating story of the two young Scot slaves who colonized America with Leif Ericksson and to read how to fly in and out of Greenland. It has a fantasy element to it that sci-fi fans will like. Beyond that, an attention-keeping pilot's yarn.

  • Nick Wale
    2019-01-20 23:55


  • Gerald
    2019-02-07 23:33

    This was my third reading of this most entertaining novel. As you might expect, I thoroughly enjoyed it and very much recommend it to other interested readers. I will reuse my 2012 review (below) as my review for this reading.--------------------------------I returned once again to one of my favorite authors, Nevil Shute. Although I’d read this book before, at least 10 years ago or more, I eagerly got into it for this second reading. Donald Ross is a Scotsman who was raised by his aunt following the death of his parents. Funds were not available to send him to Oxford when it was his time to go to college. Instead he goes into the British Royal Air Force, becoming a very good pilot during his five-year period of service. After this he follows the jobs available to Canada performing innumerable seaplane jobs into the Canadian wilderness – flying in supplies, equipment, etc., for trappers, prospectors, hunting parties, and other with interests of varying sorts in northeast Canada. He became most accomplished in dealing with all the considerable factors that have to be taken into account in flying into such conditions, especially what it takes to keeping a seaplane properly maintained and flyable there. The terrible economic conditions of the 1930’s did not spare Canada. He soon found himself without a job and heading back to Scotland where conditions were marginally better. He applied for numerous flying jobs with no luck, then contacted a friend named Mr. Clarke at the Guild of Air Pilots about job possibilities indicating that he was getting desperate. After a couple of weeks, Mr. Clarke informed him of possible employment for an archeology Professor Lockwood at Oxford. He immediately set out to apply for the job. The professor had discovered information that convinced him there had been early Celtic explorers who had reached Greenland in about the 10th century. He proposed to make an expedition, with the backing of his very successful brother, to the ruins of an ancient settlement named Brattalid on the southwest tip of Greenland to begin an archeological dig and, more importantly, to make a photographic mapping survey of the entire area during his summer break from classes. He was seeking to employ a pilot for that purpose. Donald knew that he had the expertise needed for this job and agreed to accept it when offered in spite of the provision that the professor’s daughter would be an additional passenger. She was quite set against her father going due to his age and tried to get Donald to convince him that he should not do it. When all was settled, the expedition did get underway as planned with the pilot, the professor, and his daughter. They flew from Southampton, England, to their expedition base at Julianehaab, Greenland via Invergordon, Scotland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Angmagsalik, Greenland; and a very small nameless Eskimo village between Angmagsalik and Julianehaab where they had to make a weather-necessitated unplanned stop. Along the way they had to contend with both anticipated and unanticipated conditions and emergencies including having to land in ice fields, frequent very low-level fog conditions, a broken leg of a planned fourth member of the expedition who was to meet then by ship in Julianehaab. This is a very entertaining book as are all of Nevil Shute’s novels. I recommend it quite highly to those who enjoy a good adventure tale.[Book 70 of revised 2012 target 80 (Jan-10; Feb-11; Mar-9; Apr-8; May-7; Jun-8; Jul-7; Aug-9; Sep-1)]

  • Mike Harper
    2019-02-09 20:32

    I generally reserve five stars for books I'd recommend unreservedly to any well-read adult. This is an exception. The story here is old-fashioned and predictable, the characters not entirely convincing, and the writing is straightforward rather than brilliant. So why five stars?To start with, the story is told with precisely the right amount of detail. The reader is brought along on a hazardous voyage to the arctic in a 1930-vintage seaplane, and Ross, the central character, overcomes obstacle after obstacle with skill and hard work. A former pilot myself, I think the obstacles and Ross' responses are spot-on for the period, more exciting because they are so realistic. The story and the main character reminded me of Shute's Trustee From The Toolroom, one of my favorite books, but this is a better book, I think, because Shute, an aeronautical engineer, knew airplanes and pilots better than South Pacific adventurers.Another thing I liked was the muted love story. Whatever eroticism there may have been between Ross and Alix, it can only be guessed at; physical contact is limited to two kisses and some hand holding. A glimpse of Alix in a wet shirt is charged with as much erotic longing as any gynecologically correct four-page sex scene in a typical modern novel.

  • Scilla
    2019-01-23 20:36

    A man meets Donald Ross on a train which has been stopped in a remote place because of a train off the rails. Ross tells his story while they wait. Ross grew up in Scotland with his aunt who was a teacher. He went into the Royal Air Force, and then to Canada to fly float planes in remote northern areas. When that job ended he went back to Scotland and spent some time looking for a job. He hears from a friend about a job with Mr. Lockwood at Oxford for a photographic expedition to Greenland. Lockwood's daughter, Alix, is opposed to her father taking such a dangerous expedition, but finally agrees if she goes with him. Thus, Ross and Miss Lockwood begin the expedition as enemies. However, she soons becomes a valuable addition to the expedition. Ross picks up some sleeping pills in Iceland, which give him a good night's sleep, but he begins to have strange dreams, and after they get to the research site, he doesn't wake up one morning. During his long sleep he has a strange dream which appears to have much reality. The personalities of the participants and detail of the flights are very well done. I can't say much more without giving away the plot.

  • Tom Richards
    2019-02-04 16:42

    This is a good old-fashioned yarn of a story and one of my favorites by Nevil Shute. Today, elements of his tale would be categorized (in part) as magical realism. When he wrote it, the story would invariably be known as simple fiction.I've reread this countless times due to its many compelling layers. Who wouldn't want to fly with an intrepid pilot as he journeys to Greenland, back in the day when such a trip was a costly, dangerous affair? Who wouldn't want to become caught up in local Native folklore and culture? Who wouldn't want to step back in time to first discover Greenland and North America as did the Vikings?Who wouldn't want to fall in love with a woman who at first seems a complete crank, only to discover you've loved that same woman for hundreds of years?Shute is of an old school and of a different time. Women reading his narrative could find his views on the sexes backward and infuriating. However, if readers can immerse themselves in this simple tale, well told, while forgiving the author his contemporary maleness, you too can venture into ancient lands, and be caught up in an Old Captivity that will capture your imagination.

  • Sue
    2019-01-31 19:37

    Donald Ross accepts a job to serve as pilot for an Oxford don who wants to travel to Greenland on research of a lost civilization. Lockwood's daughter Alix goes along as well, much to Donald's initial regret as he views her as a spoiled brat. Alix is concerned about her father's health (although he seems fine) and both are very naïve about the rigors of the expedition. However, Alix proves herself to actually be very helpful as the trip progresses. The story is set in the 1930's and there are all sorts of aviation concerns that need to be addressed. They arrive in Greenland and begin the aviation survey when difficulty of another sort arises. Re-read in 2015. After reading this through, I went back and skimmed the first couple of pages again. Essentially the entire book is a recounting by Ross of the events to another gentleman one evening as they were on a train. The first few pages make more sense in light of the remainder of the book. Shute has done this with other books as well. The ending does leave me with a couple unanswered questions but it's a good read, as are all of his books.

  • Bethany
    2019-02-03 22:38

    Firstyl, I loved this book.Secondly, I think the synopsis is a bit misleading - "A young airman, an Oxford don and his beautiful daughter are on an expedition to the Arctic. This time-travel story tells how they are transported by explorers of another age: the Norsemen and their long ships of a thousand years before."Not only is she not descried as being beautiful ever (it's usually the opposite in fact) and the time travel part only takes up about 5% of the actual story.I think that a little more description of the time travelling/norse part would have been nice, but to be honest, I really don't think this book needs altering!I just couldn't stop reading this book even though it wasn't a a fast paced, edge of the seat kind of thriller/adventure tale.It was slow and steady but I was so interested!Things went wrong, things went right but it seemed a plausible kind of traavel diary!I have already loooked into other works by Mr. Shute and I am really looking forward to reading them in the future!

  • Al
    2019-02-04 18:27

    Starts out like a classic Nevil Shute novel--earnest, highly competent, decent young man sets out on a difficult, if not hazardous journey/quest, with the requisite innocent young woman in the picture, of course. Nobody does this better than Mr. Shute, and I had settled in for a nice ride when I suddenly realized that time and pages were passing quickly and no acute problems had arisen for our hero to solve. Not only that, there didn't seem to be time or space left for both the problems and their resolution. Then the plot took an unexpected turn, which I won't reveal other than to say I didn't like it. I felt like the book I started had disappeared and something different, and inferior, had taken its place. What was Mr. Shute thinking? But Shute is Shute, and most of the book is very good. Mr. Shute knows his aviation, and there is lots of very realistic detail -- perhaps a little too much aircraft maintenance -- about the challenges of Arctic flying in the thirties. Bottom line: not one of his best.

  • Lizzy
    2019-01-20 18:55

    I have really enjoyed all the Neville Shute books that I have read, this was did not disappoint but did not have the same level of finesse or as good a storyline as some of his other books. The majority of Nevil Shute's other books I have loved, this was I just liked.I did not feel the same level of connection with the characters and did think they were as well rounded or described in this book.I also found the ending of the book dissatisfying. It did not feel like closure or the end of the story, but more like a modern story which had been set up to be a Trilogy or such like. I felt that there were too many unanswered questions for my taste.I did however still enjoy the storyline and the descriptions it is just not one of my favourite Nevil Shute's. The other books are like old favourites which I want to read again and again. Once will be enough for this book I think.

  • Linda
    2019-01-19 16:48

    I remember reading this while in high school or college; it is a trifle dated but still a good read. Many of Shute’s books involve flying, and often involve flashback stories or a person’s existence in a prior life. This is the story of Donald Ross, who had been a pilot in Canada and done some arctic flying, who is engaged by Professor Lockwood to fly them to Greenland to take aerial photos of a possible archaeological site. The Professor is naïve in the extreme about what such an expedition would entail, as is his young and stubborn daughter who wishes to be included so she can look after her father’s interests. The expedition does take place, at some peril and a great deal more trouble than even Ross would have predicted, and with surprising results.

  • Roan
    2019-02-15 20:38

    I was very impressed by the story, which, although it contained elements of the supernatural, is so realistic that it reads like a memoir! It tells of a young pilot who is hired to fly an expedition into Greenland, and in the process takes a dream journey back in time in the footsteps of a young slave captured by the Vikings.It is a tribute to Nevil Shute's talent that there are no villains in this book, and yet I found myself reading far into the night, compelled to find out what happens. Its brilliant conclusion winds all the stories together so satisfactorily I had no objection to reading it over and over again!

  • Denise
    2019-02-12 20:51

    Such an old-fashioned novel, probably even old-fashioned for its time. Sort of Jules-Vernian, in a way, though completely different in tone. Three perfectly ordinary people go on an expedition, and in the midst of the perfectly ordinary minutiae of the daily trials, the weather, the health problems, the airplane maintenance, something completely out of the ordinary happens. Since I studied the Icelandic sagas in college, I had a pretty good idea where this was going, but I was quite happy to go along for the ride.

  • Pip Snort
    2019-02-14 16:43

    This was my first Nevil Shute novel, and I'm not sure why I have never read any before now. The writing is clear and articulate, the story was engaging. The technical detail was excellent and other than the odd use of a framing narrative at the beginning which was superfluous and incomplete, the book was well-rounded and neatly done. I enjoyed it very much. SPOILER: The use of the Vinland narrative and think link to the Scotch heritage of the protagonist was clever and well thought out.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-29 18:52

    Gosh darn it if I can figure out why I like Nevil Shute. By all means, this should be the dullest story ever created... but somehow Shute manages time after time to make the mundane captivating. The plot is technically boring beyond belief; the only really interesting part - the actual point of the book - is brief and almost at the very end. As for the characters, they are just very plain ordinary people. So why do I like it? It must be voodoo of a nefarious British sort.