Noel, a lawyer searches for a young girl who is going to get an inheritance. When he finds her she tells her story and what a story it is. She was brought up in Mayalsia, came back to Britain then returned to Malaysia to work as a steno just about the time of the outbreak of WWII. There were parties every night and it was a fantastic time.
Then the Japanese invaded and Jean was caught up-country unprepared. The Japanese had no idea what to do with these women and no commander wanted to take charge of them so they walked and walked. They walked thousands of miles. The conditions, of course were deplorable. Many died. The women were forced to watch the torture of a person who had helped them. Finally when their only guard dies they remain for the rest of the war in a small town helping with the planting of the rice.
Jean wishes to help the town who helped the women with some of her inheritance. What she learns in this small town then changes her life forever.
This is a very readable book with delightful characters. Nevil Shute has a way of pulling one into the story. Although written in 1950 the story still is interesting and keeps the reader's attention.
First Line: "James MacFadden died in 1905 when he was forty-seven years old; he was riding in the Driffield Point-to-Point"