Commander Malcolm Stevenson, a rich middle-aged man, finds his lonely life turned upside down when he falls in love with a pretty dance hostess. His involvement with Mollie "Sixpence" Gordon will lead to the exposure of a conspiracy to sabotage the British General Election, but Stevenson’s dogged pursuit of the criminals will throw his life and the lives of those he cares about into grave danger.
Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was a popular British-Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He studied at Balliol College, Oxford, and published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons, but after the conflict he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death on 12 January 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), No Highway (1948), A Town Like Alice (1950) and On the Beach (1957).
"The English novel's only down-to-earth romantic...there is a quality of golden light that hangs over his books. That comes, I think, from his sense of order and from his own vast, undemonstrative solicitude" (John Ezard, Guardian)
"A first-class storyteller, and his narrative is extraordinarily convincing." (J. B. Priestley)
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Mildly entertaining story
I chose this because I liked the reader and I liked the Pied Piper. If you are considering your first Nevil Shute novel I would recommend Pied Piper in preference. Lonely Road is a pleasant enough listen.. It feels very dated, told in the first person, the narrator being a wealthy businessman who talks exactly like Prince Charles and every time he drives anywhere he talks about how the joy of travelling in a "motor car". I guess they didn't have drink drive laws in those days or he would surely have been in jail. One of the most striking things about the book is the treatment of women, which is so sexist that, even allowing for when it was written, I couldn't help but cringe.
One thing is curious. There is an important event near the end (don't worry I won't reveal it), which is entirely glossed over so that the outcome is only released as a short aside a week later. It is not confusing - you can work it out easily enough - but it is very strange. I half wondered if there was a chapter missing.