A classic memoir of prison breaks and adventure – a bestselling phenomenon of the 1960s
Condemned for a murder he had not committed, Henri Charrière (nicknamed Papillon) was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. Forty-two days after his arrival he made his first break, travelling a thousand gruelling miles in an open boat. Recaptured, he went into solitary confinement and was sent eventually to Devil’s Island, a hell-hole of disease and brutality. No one had ever escaped from this notorious prison – no one until Papillon took to the shark-infested sea supported only by a makeshift coconut-sack raft. In thirteen years he made nine daring escapes, living through many fantastic adventures while on the run – including a sojourn with South American Indians whose women Papillon found welcomely free of European restraints…
Papillon is filled with tension, adventure and high excitement. It is also one of the most vivid stories of human endurance ever written.
Henri Charrière died in 1973 at the age of 66.
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Patrick O’Brian was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey–Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He lived for many years in south west France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.
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