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Nevil Shute Norway was born in 1899 in Ealing, London. He studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. Following his childhood passion, he entered the fledgling aircraft industry as an aeronautical engineer working to develop airships and, later, airplanes. In his spare time he began writing and he published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926, using the name Nevil Shute to protect his engineering career. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they had two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death in 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), A Town Like Alice (1950), and On the Beach (1957).
"An unadulterated delight. . . . Only in the final pages is the riddle of Janet Prentice's death solved. And at the last Shute leaves us with his own message of compassion tinged with bitterness." --The New York Times "A novelist of intelligent and engaging quality, deservedly popular.... Nevil Shute was, in brief, the sort of novelist who genuinely touches the imagination and feeling." --The Times (London)