Almost everyone in the world has died from Radiation poisoning after a massive nuclear war. Pockets of people still remain in the Southern Hemisphere, but the cloud of radiation is coming their direction. This novel centers on a small town in southern Australia, where everyone is trying to live as normal a life as possible while knowing that they will die in a few months. Dwight Towers is an American nuclear submarine captain, now in Melbourne, but still harboring magical thoughts about returning to his wife and children in Connecticut. Peter Holmes, a local naval officer who has been furloughed for months, becomes Dwight’s liaison officer for two reconnaissance missions in the sub. Peter introduces Dwight to Moira, with the intent that she will cheer him up and keep him company until the inevitable end comes. Shute published this book in 1957, but it takes place 5 years in the future, prophetically in roughly the same timeframe as the Cuban missile crisis. The characters in the book cope with their impending doom in myriad ways-- some in apparent denial, while others prefer to go out with a bang. The dialog is severely dated, which keeps it from sounding authentic, but the author treats each of his characters with such loving care that their individual stories are triumphant and heart-breaking at the same time. I had some obvious questions, such as why didn’t they build and stock underground fallout shelters, but somehow that possibility didn’t come up. Also, I found the title to be a bit mystifying. All that aside, I tend to forget the plots of books fairly quickly, but I have a feeling that this one will stick with me.