Condemned for a murder he had not committed, henri charriere (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 suffered a solitary confinement and was sent eventually to devils 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 charriere died in 1973 at the age of 66 author biography: patrick obrian 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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