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The New Jersey and Cape Cod chapters of the Nevil Shute Society held a joint meeting on October 4th
and 5th 2003 at the Osterville, Cape Cod home of Art and Joan Cornell. After a fine dinner at the Wimpy's in Osterville we convened at Art's house to discuss the book "An Old Captivity"
whose closing action takes place a hefty stone's throw away from their house.
US First Edition DustJacket
click here for a summary of the book's plot
click here for an illustrated extract from the book
click here for the three page review
from Julian Smith's fine Nevil shute Biography
Art had smugly requested that each person bring along "an artifact pertinent to the story" knowing
full well that he had the ultimate item in the form of a famous stone (albeit miraculously moved
by presumably tectonic plate movement over the last millenuium from its original setting to Arts'
garden (see the photo at the foot of this page for the reason for saying this!!)
John Fowles produced a pair of suitable items that he and Susan had brought with them
A discussion of the book followed including the point made by Susan Fowles that in the book Shute
had described the female interest as a bitch this was initially disputed but after some debate it
was confirmed that all editions on display contained this most uncharacteristic Shute word.
Art described how he had tried to pinpoint the actual location for the final scene of the
novel reasoning that Shute's detailed descriptions had led him to conclude that Nevil must have
visited the area. Art had been unable to get any information on a Shute visit from local archives
but then gave a fascinating analysis with the aid of a local navigation map of the coastline around
Cotuit Bay and Shute's geographical markers in the story leading to his conclusion that the shore that the travellers landed on must have been nearby Prince Cove)
Art finally announced that thanks to the generosity of Cape Cod member Joe Accrocco, an excursion to this cove had been arranged for the following morning on Joe's 30-foot Cabin Cruiser "Sea Maiden".
Aerial view of Prince Cove (not taken by the author!!)............................... and Art pointing out our route on his map
a map of the excursion from Eel River to Prince Cove...............and a satellite view (not taken by the author either!!!)
This duly took place on a fine sunny morning after Art and Joan had treated us to a sumptious Cape Cod
breakfast. On the menu was French toast a la Cape Cod with an assortment of sausages and cranberry butter.
Joe has a mooring at Eel River and we were soon speeding towards Prince Cove and looking enviously at the grand mansions dotting the shore especially on Osterville Grand Island.
Art and Joan Cornell, while digging in their Cape Cod
garden near the site of the seaplane landing in An Old
Captivity, were delighted to come upon the Haki/Hekja
stone described by Nevil Shute in An Old Captivity.Art
remarked that the inscription on the stone was as
clear as if had been carved the day before!!
In fact a close scrutiny of the Viking voyage map clearly shows that their travels stopped at Newfoundland, which means that (surprise surprise) Shute invented the entire Cape Cod episode and moreover that Art's treasured artifact must be a fake!!!
So sorry Art
Finally at the gathering Cape Cod/Conecticut Shutist Arne Reil described a strange discussion board
It might well be this very peculiar one that I found:-
Carolina Navy site
although quite what the Bard has to do with that page is beyond my limited comprehension!!
(hover your mouse pointer over this link to see what I mean!!)