Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Review

So Disdained

"So Disdained/The Mysterious Aviator"
A review by Bob Locher

'So Disdained', published in the United States as 'The Mysterious Aviator' was the second of nevil Shute's books to be published.

Late one rainy night in 1927 Peter Moran, a country estate manager, is driving across rural Sussex and picks up a bedraggled pedestrian. He is startled to find that his passenger is an old wartime comrade from the Royal Flying Corps. It quickly develops that the man has crash landed a long distance bomber after a strange and rather treasonable mission.

Moran's friend suffers an attack of malaria, and while recovering under Moran's care, tells everything, including how his loyalties became divided and what caused him to seek employment as an aviator in post-revolutionary Russia.

Moran and the young mistress of the estate, the love interest in the story, become involved in trying to right a series of wrongs. Unexpected events test Moran's loyalty as well, and culminate in a desperate race across France and into Fascist Italy.

This is clearly an early work of Shute's, and is not without flaws. Yet, it holds the reader's interest. Dedicated fans of Nevil Shute are treated to an early rendering of the master's work, and see his talents as a story teller taking shape. There is an interesting undertone of social unrest in the background further developed in some of Shute's later works.