High in the Tuscan hills above Florence, an elaborate medieval
castle, converted to a POW camp on Mussolini's personal orders,
holds one of the most illustrious groups of prisoners in the
history of warfare. The dozen or so British and Commonwealth senior
officers includes three knights of the realm and two VCs. The
youngest of them is 48, the oldest 63. One is missing a hand and an
eye. Another suffers with a gammy hip. Against insuperable odds,
these extraordinary middle-aged POWs plan a series of daring escape
attempts, culminating in a complex tunnel deep beneath the castle.
One rainswept night in March 1943, six men will burst from the
earth beyond the castle's curtain wall and slip away. By assorted
means, the three Brits, two New Zealanders and a half-Belgian
aristocrat will attempt to make it to neutral Switzerland, over 200
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