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Summary

It is the Second World War and France has fallen. In their trusty fishing boat, Genevieve, armed with only a flame-thrower and limited ammunition, a small group of officers and men take a stand against the might of the German army. This is classic Shute: a thrilling adventure about the heroism of ordinary men that will keep you on the edge of your seat, cheering them on.

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).

©2012 Nevil Shute (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"A magnificent thrill; it is also a tale of character, for every member of the little ship's company is worth meeting. A book that should not be missed." ( Daily Telegraph)
"Mr. Shute's style is ideal for this kind of book. He revels in incident and he draws his people with loving care. Here, he's reminiscent of H.E. Bates at his best; that same ability to make you passionately interested in anything he's interested in, and to make the most outlandish happening seem credible his characters are so real." (Monica Dickens)
"Mr. Shute always has good things to offer...the power to convey the springs of heroic conduct in the lightest and least assuming of tones." ( Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about Most Secret

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  • R
  • 21-01-15

This is so good I could not put it down

What made the experience of listening to Most Secret the most enjoyable?

The story is so well written and follows events of the day. The characters and their part in the overall story really bring this book to life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rose and Simon are so well portrayed and the relationship between them is an enhancing factor of the story. Their backgrounds really come through the story line.

What about Roger May’s performance did you like?

His reading of the story and the various characters he produces has made this book so enjoyable. He understands Shute's storyline and the various twists and turns which he makes so enthralling.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The death of the rabbit and the contrast in the characters, Rose and the Wren, in their daily service life.

Any additional comments?

I once read other Shute novels, 'On the Beach' and 'A town Like Alice' and it makes me want to listen to more of his work.

7 people found this helpful

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Story & characters very engaging. wonderful reader

Would you listen to Most Secret again? Why?

Yes. Great story and very pleasant reader.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Martin, so English

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Everything was exciting and interesting. I am choosing the walk to the boat.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

6 people found this helpful

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An other matter fact story.

I started with Nevil Shute with A Town Like Alice. I really like his style of writing. It is factual, with out being emotional. However that does not stop you getting very involved in the story and hoping for a good end. However life does not always work that way.

5 people found this helpful

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This keeps you on the edge of your seat.

What made the experience of listening to Most Secret the most enjoyable?

This was the first Neville Shute Audio Book that I have listened to and it was completely unknown to me. I found it totally absorbing.

What did you like best about this story?

It was set in in the second world and was about a small French fishing boat used to attack the Germans in a fishing village in France but the emphasis was on the people, and their lives and relationships, that were involved in the plan

What about Roger May’s performance did you like?

He narrated the story in a slightly "old fashioned way" that was very much in keeping with the timeframe of the plot.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did not want to stop listening to it

Any additional comments?

I shall look for other Neville Shute Audio Books and other books narrated by Roger May

5 people found this helpful

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Good but not his best

Nevil Shute is a brilliant author .very authentic, pity a favourite character had to die

4 people found this helpful

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A credible story of true blue Englishmen and women in WW2

Having been alive during the period of the story I felt the author neither over or under stated the stiff upper lip leit motiv. Shute was a very popular author and his rendering of Brits was to his credit as an Aussie. I would not regret it if such stoic bravery remained the backbone of Britain to this day, perhaps it does. A gripping credible story of a single operation against Germans in Brittany showing how intelligence was a key to the Allies eventual success After D Day.

4 people found this helpful

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Rather boy's own

Although I enjoyed the story, as a woman I felt it was written for men with some detailed parts on specific actions that were somewhat boring. Reader was great though and it certainly immersed you in the lives of people during war time.

3 people found this helpful

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Everyone's gotta start somewhere...

I'm guessing this was his first book. far too full of peripheral detail for a pacy thriller, and not good enough to entertain through literature. Far too many back steps in continuity, and the search for realistic dialogue leaves everyone sounding hesitant... and that defeats an otherwise competent reader, because everyone ends up sounding the same. I only finished it because I was travelling... but it is interesting, because it shows how a writer develops, and it says a lot for Innes that I don't think he made the same error twice.

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Loved it

.. bit slow and ' boys own' a
story about noble but flawed fighting men during ww2....if only it were true . Nevertheless I loved it.

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Dangerous, Heroic, but laced with compassion

This story just got better and better - too hot to handle but impossible to ignore.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anniebligh
  • 05-02-13

Censored for 3 years

A most interesting earlier Shute. Written in 1942 and kept under wraps till the end of WW11. Britian (and the Commonwealth and Territories) were 'on their own' and I expect it was written to inspire hope.

In this story Britian is getting ready for a German Invasion, many European people had escaped to England to support the war effort, and the German Army was heading into Russia.The Air raids on London had started.

This is a story of a commando raid proposed by a couple of Navy blokes who really want to do more and are supported by a third man (Army Intellegence) who privately wants to give hope to the people of Brittany.

It is a good story and, although perhaps based on Shute's knowlege and experience to some extent, it is written as popular fiction.

While Nevil Shute is better known for his later stories, 'On The Beach' and 'A Town like Alice' , this one sits well along with his 'Pied Piper' as good war time stories about individuals.

13 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 19-08-13

I am a sucker for Neville Shute

If you could sum up Most Secret in three words, what would they be?

Best Shute Ever!

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Neville Shute is a master of plot. You can feel the tension the war engendered in the English people. He masterfully weaves together sub plots which converge with great dramatic tension.

What about Roger May’s performance did you like?

Wait, What? ONE person narrated this? Every character was so distinctly voiced that the "narrator" disappeared.

If you could take any character from Most Secret out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I heard ut awhile ago, and now don't remember the names. The young woman driver, though, seems very appealing.

Any additional comments?

Bravo!

9 people found this helpful

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  • BikeMeister
  • 11-02-13

Inimitable Nevil Shute Style

One of my favorite witers, Nevil Shute unfolds his story in an intelligent and unique manner. His historical and technical understanding and accuracy are superb as always.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Reed
  • 07-04-15

Neville Shute knew how to tell a story

I have to admit I I am a huge Neville Shute fan. Great literature? No. But he unselfconsciously tells compelling stories about decent, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This is not quite on par with the Pied Piper, and not even close to his utterly unforgettable masterpiece A
Town like Alice, but I thoroughly enjoyed it even the second time I listened to it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • MikeFarr
  • 04-06-19

Ordinary people, extraordinary times, no easy answers

No cliches, no magic, no superpowers, no ulterior moralizing. Shute manages interesting, real people making a noble go at life. The characters are so touching and personal you will find yourself being touched by something quite different from what someone else who is listening to it with you is.

The narration is astounding! The American, British, and French characters!

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  • Will
  • 28-03-14

Not recommended

Some of Nevil Shute's best work, including A Town Like Alice, Pied Piper and even Requiem for a Wren, opens our eyes to life in wartime in a quiet, devastating, and remarkably balanced way. But this book, written in the early years of WWII (finished in 1942 but censored until 1945), lacks the balance of hindsight and falls into overheated—literally, since it deals with the development and use of flamethrower guns—semi-propaganda. The narrative device of introducing each officer's backstory in turn is simplistic and unsatisfying, and their suffering, however sad, never seems to equate, for modern listeners, to the glee they take in raining acid death down on every German they can. Nuance is abandoned, not just by a weirdly bloodthirsty French priest, but even by the supposedly-objective narrator. Gruesome and flat, not recommended unless you want a cartoon look at how the English viewed the Germans in 1942.

8 people found this helpful

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  • jbjb
  • 22-09-20

Well read historical fiction

This book has a great story and is very well read. I love this unique setting and story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Twila C.
  • 15-08-20

One of my top Three Shute books

This story is just a great WWII story, made even better by the narrator. I’ve listened to it repeatedly, and the reasons are the glimpses it gives us of the mind of the occupied French, the conflict between loving what you do and the love of country, the motivations of individuals in a war, and the general inter workings of the British Navy. Above all the story is intriguing and well-crafted. Fully recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 10-09-19

Outstanding novel.

This is a terrific book, written by a master craftsman at the top of his game. And the narration is one of the best I have encountered - Roger May does an outstanding job of giving each character a subtly unique voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert E. Wakefield
  • 21-02-18

Shute does it again

Loved it. Shute is a master at taking ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and drawing you in to their performance. Enjoyed it very much. Thanks

1 person found this helpful