Pied Piper – Neville Shute

6 Mar

Started – 3/3/12

Finished – 3/3/12

Format – Kindle e-book


Challenges – BCF Reading Circle March

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge


Synopsis – Elderly John Howard goes off to the Jura in France on a fishing trip, except this is no ordinary time. Germany is at war with Europe. Friends at his hotel ask him to take their children back to England with him to safety as Germany is poised to invade France. Their harrowing journey begins by train and then proceeds on foot.


My Thoughts – i read this book as part of the reading circle over on the BCF. I hadn’t heard of the author (shame on me!) or this book before i read it, so it was nice to start something new to me. This book is set during my favourite time period, the second world war, so for me this was a great big plus before i even got far into it.


This book tells the story of John Howard, who goes on holiday in France during the second world war. We dont find out the reason for this sudden trip until further on in the book. He spends a while in france, and then once the German occupation starts suddenly he decides that he is better off going back to England. He makes plans to go back and a couple asks him to take their children back with him. This is where it all starts with the ‘pied piper’ aspect of the story. I dont want to spoil it for others that havent yet read the book, but all i will say is these are not the only children that needs his help to get back to England.


I really enjoyed the story, i felt it was really powerful and it made me think not just how horrible it must have been not only for adults, but for children too. I did think though, if the same thing happened in this day and age, an older man travelling with a group of children, all relative strangers to each other, than maybe the authorities wouldnt have been so forgiving.


I didnt like the treatment of one of the children by some of the locals, this was a little bit harrowing to read and i felt that this was really cruel treatment.


Also for me the ending was a little bit ‘happily ever after’ for me, with where all the children ended up, i couldnt see the parents letting them go off to live in a completely different country.


This book is very good, a brilliant war story, but on top of that a lovely show of human emotion and that kindness sometimes overrules everything.


Rating –  4.5/5


2 Responses to “Pied Piper – Neville Shute”

  1. Claire 'Word by Word' March 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    I read one of his books ‘A Town Like Alice’ many years ago and remember it was excellent, a wonderful writer.

    • shelovestoread March 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      I’ve added that one to my wishlist tonight, having looked up other books by him, i hope i enjoy it as much as this one 🙂

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