Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!
It is still Tuesday, right? Oops! Later than anticipated, here is this week’s Top Ten
|Top Ten… Books in Escapology 101 |
Welcome to Escapology 101. On this course you will meet those heroes who could find their way out of a locked box, in a locked room, in a guarded encampment with naught but a butter knife; they could storm castles and fortresses, perform daring feats of rescue, and whip up disguises with nothing more than a washing up bottle and some sticky-backed plastic. Through tunnels, torture and restraints these are the people in whose steps you will follow. It matters not that many are fictional creations, for the most fascinating characters are all real. Prepare to be immersed in tales of the most daring, risky and seemingly impossible escapes in both fact and fiction… that is, if I’ve read them of course.
| 1. |
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
The Colditz Story by P.R. Reid
This is the book which first hooked me into military escape memoirs. The Colditz Story follows the story of Captain Patrick Reid and his fellow prisoners of war at Oflag IV-C, better known as Colditz. A seemingly impregnable fortress, over 300 men escaped her walls in her four year history as a prison. This memoir is written as a tale of adventure, of daring escapades, crafty deceptions and ultimately a battle of wits with the Germans.
| 2. |
Never underestimate the ingenuity of others
The Latter Days at Colditz by P.R. Reid
The Latter Days at Colditz details the lives of those left behind after Patrick Reid’s escape in 1942 and is just as absorbing as The Colditz Story. Fuelled by the successful ‘home runs’ of escapees, the prisoners of war make attempt after attempt at freedom, pushing their ingenuity to the limits and incurring the wrath of the German guards. The determination and resourcefulness of these men never ceases to amaze.
Even the simplest object can change your fate
Tunnelling to Freedom by John Fancy
John Fancy is the man with the butter knife. Tunnelling to freedom details Fancy’s daring and dangerous attempts at escape whilst a prisoner of war. It is a tale of inventiveness, determination and bravery, which conveys the unimaginable difficulties of the time with a good dose of dry humour. Armed with little more than his 10-inch butter knife, Fancy dug eight tunnels, some of which were 40 feet below ground level, in his many attempts at freedom.
| 4. |
Your innate talents may be the key to your success
The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Azkaban, the most closely guarded prison in the whole wizarding world, a place deemed impossible to escape from. Until we meet Sirius Black. The Prisoner of Azkaban has escapes and escapades by the bucketful and earns a worthy place on this syllabus. Of course it would help if you were an Animagus… or a Wizard.
Don’t be afraid to change course when opportunity knocks
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
No matter how long and how hard you’ve toiled for freedom, if an opportunity for escape arises, take it. A true literary classic, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most well known escape stories in fiction. This is a tale of injustice, of inner strength and retribution. In this exciting, suspenseful and often violent epic, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Breaking in is often just as important as breaking out
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Stumbling from one danger into another is all part of the course of being an adventurer. The Hobbit is a tale of hidden strength, of bravery and cunning, and a reminder that enemies come in many forms. From trolls and spiders, to elves and dragons, in Middle Earth we are never far from an escape story.
| 7. |
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future”
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Keeping one step ahead of the enemy, escaping the clutches of evil, and trusting in your friends and allies; The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of literature which no would be escapee should go without reading. Sometimes it’s necessary to trust in luck, and in the strength and goodness of those around you; sometimes that’s all it takes to find a way back home.
| 8. |
Be careful who you trust
Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe by John Nichol and Tony Rennell
Home Run is a collection of real life stories from the Second World War which showcases the bravery and determination of both the escapees and the civilians who went out of their way to help them. Whilst retaining some of the humour and excitement of escapee memoirs, Home Run also manages to convey the extreme sacrifice many were willing to make in order to secure the freedom of others. These are the people who set up lines of escape and safe houses; who took in complete strangers and risked their own lives and those of their family in order to stand up for freedom. This is a book about bravery, sacrifice, daring heroism and betrayal. Not everyone is going to make it home.
| 9. |
“You learn to escape the hard way”
The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
This list would be incomplete without The Great Escape. This tale, like many others, shows the bravery, determination and sheer bloody mindedness of the inmates of Stalag Luft III (John Fancy included) which led to the escape of 76 prisoners and which ultimately ended in tragedy for so many. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
| 10. |
“The important thing was that we were alive…”
Papillon by Henri Charrière
Papillon is the thrilling and dramatic memoir of Henri Charrière, a Frenchman, who in 1931 was wrongly convicted of murder and sent to Devil’s Island, a penal colony in French Guiana. Charrière’s tale spans fourteen years and details his adventures, daring escapes and his (often dramatic) life during his imprisonment. This is a book which at times may seem unbelievable, but one thing is for sure -Charrière escaped… and survived.
With all that reading under your belt you should now be prepared for any adventure which may result in capture, imprisonment and the subsequent attempts at escape. And if all else fails, make like Joe Abercrombie and fall, jump or be pushed off any ledge, balcony, window or precipice…. and you might just live to tell the tale.
What about you? Do you enjoy escape memoirs and literature? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!