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No Highway

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  976 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
 Theodore Honey is a shy, inconspicuous engineer whose eccentric interests are frowned upon in aviation circles. When a passenger plane crashes in Newfoundland under unexplained circumstances, Honey is determined to prove his unorthodox theory about what went wrong to his superiors, before more lives are lost. But while flying to the crash scene to investigate, Honey disco ...more
ebook, 300 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1948)
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Aug 26, 2010 Jenne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Nevil Shute, how are you so fascinating?
His books are always about these sort of greyish people who eventually triumph in the end because of their deep-down decency and competence.
There's usually a whole lot of technical details about airplanes.
And just when you're really getting into it, you get slapped in the face by attitudes of half a century ago.
And despite all this, they are addictive as all hell.

In this one, there's a genius engineer named Mr. Honey (not kidding) who is also a crackp
Ian Laird
Sep 28, 2015 Ian Laird rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“…this aircraft is in a very dangerous condition. It’s got a very serious fatigue trouble in the tailplane. You must turn back to England at once.”
-Theodore Honey, p57

Not a bad way to begin a story- with an aeroplane about to fall out of the sky. If you heard someone say here is a novel centred on metal fatigue, that might not have been so compelling, but metal fatigue which might kick in at any moment and have a devastating effect on a select group of passengers whom we have got to know quite w
Jul 12, 2011 heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper
Oh, Nevil Shute. I do so adore your unabashed authorial self-insertion. I haven't read all Nevil Shute, or even the majority, but the ones I have read, I have strong opinions about.

In this one, Shute is himself twice, both in the narrator (a young manager at an aeronautics company) and the main character, a weedy, pathetic, but brilliant "boffin".

The novel opens with the young manager, Scott, talking about his job managing a bunch of brilliant but mildly eccentric scientists at a safety facilit
Stephen Hayes
It's interesting to re-read a book after a long time, and see whether your opinion of it has changed. I first read [authoer:Aldous Huxley]'s Brave New World when I was about 17, and found it very exciting and stimulating. I re-read it when I was 57, and after 40 years found it rather flat and dull. I've just finished reading No Highway after a gap of about 60 years, and found it as good as when I first read it.

It was interesting to see what I remembered and what I had forgotten. I was about 13
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
No Highway builds an absorbing, suspenseful story around the unlikely basis of scientific research—which takes on a much stronger immediacy when it casts doubt on the safety of an airplane. The trouble is, the theory suggesting the aircraft are unsafe comes from Theodore Honey, an untidy, eccentric scientist whom few take seriously. One of his superiors, the book's narrator Dennis Scott, believes he may be right, but convincing higher officials poses a difficult problem. When Honey is sent to Ca ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird one. Fundamentally, there's a good yarn here but it is clothed in some very old-fashioned views about gender; about social status and about families. It made for slightly uncomfortable reading, even though I have lived through the era in which is was set and I therefore understand how things were then and how times have changed.
I would not therefore recommend the book very strongly.
Vikas Datta
Sep 30, 2016 Vikas Datta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully engrossing with deft characterisation and dramatic moments galore..
Sep 01, 2013 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic, chosen randomly off a high bookshelf late on Saturday night. I hadn't thought that I had read No Highway before and I was after a fresh read but I must have read it once many many moons ago as the sequence in the cockpit at Gander was familiar. I couldn't remember anything from the story at all and so thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

No Highway is part-romance, part-thriller and part-scientific whodunnit, all aspects that are skillfully woven together. As I have commented before, I
I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's a curious mixture of the gripping and the absolutely mundane. The gripping part involves a search by a bunch of engineers to prove that the tail wing of a new passenger plane contains a latent design flaw (which admittedly doesn't sound that gripping, but in Nevil Shute's hands becomes so) while the mundane part concerns pretty much everything else, specifically a horrendous domestic drama involving a cast of insipid female characters straight out of a Cholmo ...more
Because I have an interest in things aviation I was drawn towards this story, which at its heart deals with the serious issue of metal fatigue in aircraft. This story is really a parallel of the real-world when the deHavilland Comet (England's first jet passenger aircraft following WW2) which promised so much, experienced a string of disastrous metal fatigue problems with the airframe of the Comet and more than 100 lives were lost through these disasters. The main characters in this story are ba ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
Free download available at Faded Page.

The movie based on this book is available at YouTube
Jul 29, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, contains everything from (slightly dubious) science and engineering to pseudoscience and superstitions. Brilliant read.
Amy Heap
I didn't like this nearly so much as other Nevil Shute books I have read. It is the story of a piece of research into airplanes, that becomes very practical when one crashes. Lots of technical detail, blustering males and women who think their best contribution might be cooking, cleaning and picking out clothes for a clever man.
Tom Burkhalter
May 16, 2017 Tom Burkhalter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is still good

I read this book for the first time over 40 years ago. It's still a good read, which is unusual given the way one's tastes change over time. Anyone who enjoys aviation stories will enjoy this one.
Roslyn Page
Mar 05, 2017 Roslyn Page rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-books
Borrowed from Michel Dignaud
3.7 Very good. While it is till about airplanes and flying I found it more interesting than Round the Bend. I has all the hallmarks of Shute. Good characterisation and story telling.
May 04, 2017 Chrisl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, canada, 1940s
Not one of Shute's best ... but the main character was interesting.
Derek Collett
The premise of this book is excellent; the execution is another matter entirely.

Using a new nuclear theory, boffin Theodore Honey calculates that the tailplane in a newly introduced passenger aircraft is likely to fail from metal fatigue after about 1440 hours in the air. His boss at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, Dr Scott, sensibly issues an edict stating that no Reindeer aircraft should fly more than 700 hours until Honey's theory has either been proven correct or found wanti
Mar 17, 2014 Scilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book! Dennis Scott has taken charge of the Structural department of the Royal
I reread this book between Oct 31 and Nov 2, 2016. I had forgotten how good it is!

Dr. Scott, the narrator, is a supervisor at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, where research is done on aircraft. His wife, Shirley taught music and drawing at the local school, and became interested in a student, Elspeth Honey, whose father worked for Dennis. Scott looks into Honey's research which involved fatigue in the
Nov 24, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, england
Dennis Scott is manager of an office of engineers working on various aeronautical concerns. One of these men, Theodore Honey, is investigating fatigue failure in the tail portion of the Reindeer - a fleet of British Trans-Atlantic planes. It is his belief that the tail will show evidence of fatigue failure at 1440 hours of service. Getting others to believe him is difficult. If only they had concrete evidence. Then they receive word of a crash in Canada attributed to pilot error but the plane h ...more
Aug 08, 2013 Ugh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the premise of this - enough to overcome my initial balking at the rather hideous font. It's the 40s. A new model of plane has crashed, with the investigation finding that it was pilot error. But one lone - unfortunately quite possibly crackpot - scientist thinks that a structural instability with its origins in nuclear theory may have been at fault, and there are more of these planes in the skies...

And the premise gets even more gripping about 70 pages in (I won't spoil it for you). But
Jul 09, 2007 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how good this one was. My favorite scene was the meeting when all the proper British types let fly at one another over the matter of the possibility of fatigue fractures in the tailplane of the fictional Reindeer aircraft. It reminded me of many a contentious meeting I've seen while working to put new machinery into commission in mills and plants around the world. I was very proud of our narrator for standing by his employee Mr. Honey even when he did something so crazy as lifting ...more
Dec 05, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
To continue with a sailing analogy, I know the reading doldrums when I hit them. And I was right in them, desperate for a breeze. I could have gone for Le Carre, but I need a decent book for holiday, and he could supply it. What I was looking for was a novel with plot, characters and a level of intelligence, and that's difficult to find these days. So hark back to the past. Greene I'd already tried, so who else? Who wrote The Caine Mutiny? I couldn't remember. James Clavel? Sorry, the gripping h ...more
Robert Laviano
Dec 18, 2016 Robert Laviano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story and well written but not as convincing as some of his other books.
Movie with James Stewart, No Highway in the Sky.
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 1948 and the title was taken from the poem "The Wanderer" by John Masefield. The poem is quoted 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." Written in the first person, the plot revolves around the development of modern aeroplanes and the author's background as one of the pioneers of aircraft design certainly provides the details and the seemingly realist ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oldies
Theodore Honey, a shy, nervous widower with a young daughter, is totally wrapped up in his research on metal fatigue in airplanes at a Royal Aircraft establishment in England. A new line of planes called “Reindeer” has begun commercial trans-Atlantic flights, and one has crashed in Labrador. Honey’s research suggests that other Reindeers will suffer the same fate after a certain number of hours of flight time. When he is sent to Labrador to examine the wreckage, Honey discovers that the Reindee ...more
Kristina Svensson
It is tricky to rate this book. Since I actually finished it, the storytelling can't be completely crap. But compared to other novels by Nevil Shute it is a bit bland.
The typical Nevil Shute ingredients are present: friendship, how a rather ordinary - if not outright dull man - will rise to challenges when faced with difficulties and turn out to be a hero. There is also a bit of romance involved and as usual the beautiful heroine goes through quite some troubles in order to assist the ugly but
Jun 10, 2008 Curtiss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novel about the crisis faced in commercial aviation with the discovery of metal fatigue. Made into a jolly-good movie starring Jimmy Stewart Marlena Deitrich, and Glynnis Johns.

The hero is an eccentric scientist/engineer researching vibration-induced metal fatigue using the tail assembly from one of the latest model jet airliners, which happen to be currently in-service. When one of them crashes after flying approximately the same number of hours he predicted for spar failure, he is sent to inv
Sep 10, 2013 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good yarn spun by Nevil Shute. Here, his narrator is a middle manager in Britain's post WW II government air safety bureaucracy who discovers, almost by accident, that a popular aircraft in wide use for international flights may have a fatal structural flaw which threatens every one of the many planes in use. He sets out, with virtually no evidence, to persuade the reluctant government, airline and aircraft manufacturer that the planes must be grounded before disaster strikes. As always ...more
A.E. Rawson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Nevil Shute Norway was a popular British novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer.

He used Nevil Shute as his pen name, and his full name in his engineering career, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.

He lived in Australia for the ten years before his death.
More about Nevil Shute...

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