Although I'd heard about Nevil Shute many decades ago, I had never read him before. This book was quite good, and I'll likely read something more from Shute. The writing is a bit spare and to the point, so doesn't flow smoothly is it might in the hands of a language master, such as Dickens. But Shute was an engineer by trade, so I can cut him slack.
The story takes place early in WWII, before the US enters the war. It is about a young RAF pilot who is part of a squadron who flies out over the English channel for reconnaissance and to protect England from German ships, in particular the German U-boats or submarines. The young man sinks a sub that he was pretty sure was German, but the Admiralty thinks he might have sunk a British sub that went missing the same day.
While his early flights and then the sub inquiry are going on, the young man begins a romance with a bar girl. They feel increasing comfort in each other's presence. After the inquiry into the sub sinking, the young man is transferred away. But after a few months, he returns to the area as a test pilot, and the romance resumes again. So, in a way, it's the story about how people try to continue with normal life during the very abnormal times that existed in Britain during WWII.
I've always been a sucker for old English books and movies of that period. I adore Vera Lynn songs. Interestingly, in my mind's eye, the action in this book took place in black and white, as would be the case were I watching the action in a movie theater of that time period. The lack of color didn't detract one iota from the story. That's just the way my mind works. I read Jane Austin in color because I've seen her portrayed in color. I read WWII stories and noire detective stories in black and white because that's the way I've seen them portrayed. Weird, huh?