Most Secret, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


In their trusty fishing boat Genevieve, armed with a flame thrower and limited ammunition, a small group of officers and men take a stand against the might of the German army after the fall of France in World War II.

This is classic Shute: at once a thrilling adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and a heartbreaking tale of the ravages of war.




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GoodThis is one of Shute’s boat novels (he really, really likes boats and airplanes, especially airplanes) set in WW2 with a cast of characters who all want revenge against the Germans for one reason or another. An Englishman raised in France is put in charge of a boat of Free French, Danish and odd English characters in a series of daring raids on the French Coast. Since it’s Shute you know it’s not going to end well although it was a better ending for some of the characters than I expected. It’s a bit of a slow burner as Shute spends over half the book setting up the characters, and plot. He also uses an interesting technique which serves to distance you from the action as the narrator stays in Britain whilst the action happens and then there’s a report of how the action went followed by a personal account by one of the men. It’s a bit odd and I’m not sure it worked all that well. Still this is a WW2 adventure story that ticks all the Shute boxes - engineering as hero, affection for transport (in this case boat), romantic involvement, manly men, action, pathos, a downbeat ending. Shute is one of my go to authors who seems to be consistently good but is a bit of a comfort read. Although this is perhaps not the best place to start with his catalogue.Overall – Stiff upper lips and derring do in one of Shute’s boat novels

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