Author(s): Nevil Shute
The story is opened by its initial narrator - an Anglican priest in the Bush Brotherhood named Roger Hargreaves - who describes his ordinary circumstances in a large parish of the Australian outback in 1953. As part of his duties, he has to minister to the dying and this brings him into contact with an aged, alcoholic, opium smoking, diseased, ex-pilot and ex-ringer named Stevie.Caught in Stevie's squalid cabin in a heavy rainy season, Hargreaves struggles with recurring malaria whilst on deathwatch for Stevie. As both men are in altered mental states the story shifts and Stevie becomes David 'Nigger' Anderson, a decorated member of the Royal Australian Air Force, telling his story to Hargreaves. But this is a story set 30 years in the future, in 1983.
Nevil Shute Norway was born on 17 January 1899 in Ealing, London.After attending the Dragon School and Shrewsbury School, he studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an aeronautical engineer and published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they went on to have 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 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).