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Publisher's Summary

Eight hundred women and children begin a 1,200-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end, only 30 will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.
©1950 William Morrow & Co, Inc. (P)1990 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By John S on 05-13-14

Classic and still entertaining

Although this was written in 1950 shortly after WWII, it still a great story. It is really so much a war novel, but a love story. The writing is excellent as well as the narration. It does start a little slow but picks up the pace. It will be enjoyed by both men and women. Another book I found very similar was the Potato Factory which is another great book set in Australia and England.

I would also recommend this to Teens, especially girls since the major character and heroine is a woman. Jean Paget shows both courage, wisdom, and dedication. English by birth she is captured in Malaysia during WWII as must march hundreds of miles with other women as prisoners of the Japanese Army. This part of the war (malaysia) is often overlooked because it involved the British more than America. It was also a mini series at one time. I remember seeing it on TV a decade or so ago. Another similar book set in the same time period is Empire of the Sun , which is another great read.

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32 of 32 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Deborah on 03-27-12

A Story of Courage and Commitment

Initially, I was totally captivated by this story of Jean Padgett, a young English woman working in Malaya who became a Japanese prisoner of war. The hardships that the women and children endured during their trek to one nonexistent prison camp after another and the alternating kindness and inhumanity of their captors kept me reading (well, listening; this was an audiobook) at a rapid pace. Under such an unlikely circumstances, one wouldn't expect to fall in love, but we do sense that it is happening to Jean when she means a resourceful Australian named Joe Harmon. But the war intervenes . . .

The novel opens with the narrator, a solicitor, tracking down Jean to tell her that she has just come into an inheritance, and it is to Noah that Jean tells her story. After hearing all she endured, he could hardly be more surprised when Jean tells him her plans for the money: to return to Malaya.

I won't spoil the book by telling what happens next, but there are quite a few surprises in store. I have to admit that the last third of the novel--the part that reflects the title--was somewhat less interesting to me. Still, this is one of those books whose title was familiar but about which I knew nothing, and overall, it was worthwhile.

Very well read by Neil Hunt. He does the accents well and isn't roo heavy-handed in reading the female roles.

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful

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