Through a series of mishaps, Henry Warren, a recently divorced City financier, ends up in hospital in a Northern town ruined by the closure of its shipyard. Moved by the fate of the town's inhabitants, Warren risks his fortune and reputation to save the shipyard and restore the town to its former prosperity. In seeking to change the fate of the town, he radically changes his own.
Nevil Shute (1899-1960) was an English novelist and aeronautical engineer who served in the British military in both world wars and spent his later years in Australia. The author of 24 published novels and novellas, his best-known books include Pied Piper, A Town Like Alice, and especially On the Beach, set in a fictional post-atomic-war Australia.