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The Breaking Wave is one of Nevil Shute’s most poignant and psychologically suspenseful novels, set in the years just after World War II.
Sidelined by a wartime injury, fighter pilot Alan Duncan reluctantly returns to his parents' remote sheep station in Australia to take the place of his brother Bill, who died a hero in the war. But his homecoming is marred by the suicide of his parents' parlor maid, of whom they were very fond. Alan soon realizes that the dead young woman is not the person she pretended to be. Upon discovering that she had served in the Royal Navy and participated along with his brother in the secret build-up to the Normandy invasion, Alan sets out to piece together the tragic events and the lonely burden of guilt that unravelled one woman’s life. In the process of finding the answer to the mystery, he realizes how much he had in common with this woman he never knew and how “a war can go on killing people long after it's all over.”
“An unadulterated delight. . . . Only in the final pages is the riddle of Janet Prentice's death solved. And at the last Shute leaves us with his own message of compassion tinged with bitterness.” —The New York Times
“A novelist of intelligent and engaging quality, deservedly popular. . . . Nevil Shute was, in brief, the sort of novelist who genuinely touches the imagination and feeling.” —The Times (London)