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Summary

Theodore Honey is a shy, inconspicuous aircraft engineer whose eccentric interests in quantum mechanics and spiritualism are frowned upon in aviation circles. But when a passenger plane crashes in unexplained circumstances, Honey must convince his superiors that his unorthodox theories are correct before more lives are lost.

The title, No Highway, is taken from the poem "The Wanderer" by John Masefield, which Shute quotes at the start of the book:

"Therefore, go forth, companion: when you find

No Highway more, no track, all being blind,

The way to go shall glimmer in the mind."

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

"Mr Shute is a storyteller in the tradition of R.L Stevenson and Kipling." ( Evening News)
“No Highway is a novel which engages the heart and grips the mind." ( Evening Standard)

What listeners say about No Highway

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Read this in school 45yrs ago.

Brilliant story read at school 45 years ago prompted me to create a career in aviation. Saw the film too.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

An old story with present relevance

Nevil Shute was one of the great story tellers of the last century, the essence of his tale is still relevant as we see the Dreamliner grounded for modifications shortly after entering service. If you have never read this book give yourself a treat and do so - if you have read it try listening to it - you will find it fresh as ever.

4 people found this helpful

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A captivating story.

I find the Author a gentle writer, however my children find him tedious. I was surprised at this, but they liked a "Town Like Alice", I don't know whether it was because they have seen the film.
The characters are varied and the hero is the sort of man, who is written off as a nerd/boffin. The story shows that even though we don't always understand a person, it doesn't mean we ignore them.
I don't wish to give away the story, but it is well worth listening too.

2 people found this helpful

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Worth getting past the first hour

I almost gave up after an hour as I hadn’t got into it. It started so dryly, with lots of technical plot and not too much characterisation. I thought maybe it was a biographical account rather than a story.

But then it gradually drew me in as I got to care about the characters who were wonderful. Shute has such a gentle way of writing. Simple, real. I was totally absorbed in their world and couldn’t put it down. Lovely.

2 people found this helpful

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Remarkable

This is truly fascinating, being someone who knows nothing about aeroplanes I was captured by each explanation and navigational course, the inside knowledge adds a whole new dimension. Of course the romance finds a way in, and again one is drawn in. I am an avid reader, and Nevill as I now fondly call him,is up there with the very best, for he throughly deserves it.

2 people found this helpful

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Superb in every respect

Other condensed versions of this novel do not do it justice.As a retired metallurgist I particularly appreciate its merits.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story but dated gender roles

Excellent story set in early 1950s showing the difficulties of communications before mobile phones in the investigation of air accidents. A recent listen to Neville Shute' s autobiography 'Slide Rule' gave the story added meaning as it sets out the author's expertise. Although dated, the story hangs together well and sets a good pace. Ben Elton's reading is enjoyable although a couple of accents get mangled occasionally.

1 person found this helpful

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No Highway

A very enjoyable story, as all Nevil Shute stories seem to be. The narration was excellent

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Curate's egg

Good in parts in that from a technical point of view it was interesting but a weak story that was not really believable.

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Flawed reading of a great classic

Surely one of the greatest mid-20th century novels but the narration unfortunately included wrong emphases and occasional errors

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  • Doug
  • 10-12-12

Fine writing keeps this story fresh

This novel became a movie with Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich - ignore that. The movie didn't work well. The movie was awful, and I never realized it was based on a Shute novel. Ben Elliot's great vocal characterizations bring the subjects to life. Shute writes on a subject he knows - aircraft engineering - but it's the character clashes, especially those in the decision making meeting rooms, that make this piece sparkle. Great surprise alliances when people are speaking bluntly - I love a good scene like that - it's as good as any courtroom scene written in the past generation. Shute probably doesn't get his due for anything other than "On The Beach."

14 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher J. Ward
  • 18-03-13

In many respects, a pioneer work.

Be warned that this is an old book and the author has been dead for some while. I like it because of my interest in aeronautical matters and especially the problems of metal fatigue in early jet airliners. The film made in black and white has not stood the test of time but the plot of this story is really quite good as an obsessed and driven man tries to prove he is correct before more disasters occur. I am extraordinarily pleased that audible.com has secured rights to a number of old books. My paperback copy of the book fell apart years ago but as someone who was born to fly and loves the experience, Nevile Shute did a very good job given the time. There is some congruence with Michael Crighton's Airframe and the technological differences are considerable. Well worth a read.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Bond James Bond
  • 01-08-16

Excellent!

Another great story from Shute! I've noticed a pattern in his stories, someone with a small place in life keeps chugging along, and when they find a difficulty, people they didn't know were friends come and help, and the difficulty is solved, with a good ending. This is another one of those, well written, well narrated.

5 people found this helpful

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  • June
  • 03-02-13

One of Nevil Shute's best

Where does No Highway rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 25%

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dr. Scott for his overall understanding

Which character – as performed by Ben Elliot – was your favorite?

Dr.Scott

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

No

Any additional comments?

Very enjoyable. Highly recommended for the older reader

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ralph Wayne Bagnall
  • 23-06-16

Fiction Becomes Fact

What made the experience of listening to No Highway the most enjoyable?

The history AFTER the fictional story. No Highway was published in 1948 a full year before the first flight of the DeHaviland Comet. The Comet was the first commercial passenger jet, and like the fictional Reindeer in the book, was supposed to get England into the trans-Atlantic jet passenger service before anyone else.

The real Comet ACTUALLY HAD structural metal fatigue failures that caused crashes and required extensive testing at Farnborough to identify. On the real Comet the failures were around the cabin windows as opposed to the tail plane on the fictional Reindeer, but the parallels between the story and the actual history are amazing.

In No Highway, the "fix" was easy and inexpensive and England got to lead the world in jet transport. Unfortunately, the problems with the real Comet were unfixable on existing aircraft and the redesign took long enough for US manufacturers and airlines to unseat England in the lead for air service.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked Dr. Scott, the narrator. He had both vision and conviction.

Which character – as performed by Ben Elliot – was your favorite?

Same

3 people found this helpful

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  • John Balme
  • 24-02-17

A wonderful book

I was sceptical that this book could work on Audible. I was very wrong. This is a wonderful performance. I grew up in England during the Comet fatigue crisis so this book resonates strongly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jim Crowhurst
  • 19-11-20

Excellent Story Line

As usual, Nevil Shute comes through again. You can not guess the end of his books. His imagination out wits you everytime.

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  • Brian E. Nelson
  • 16-03-18

Meaningful across the ages.

As fresh today as when it was written. Modern life oriented problems. With the matter of scientific knowledge clearlly cent with love...

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  • Chromo Domo
  • 22-04-17

Smart is always sexy

Wonderful characters who are genuine. Need I say more?
ANd it would help if you understood aeroplanes and material science