Ben Macintryre has cornered the market writing gripping tales of wartime heroism and moustachioed derring-do that read as compulsively as the best thrillers. Now he takes on the extraordinary story of Colditz. The myth of hardy British prisoners of war spending months plotting to escape from the impenetrable hilltop castle in Nazi Germany is only a tiny part of a more interesting story, he says, and is ripe for the retelling. The irony was that in believing Colditz was impossible to escape from, the Germans gathered together the worst-offending POWs, including Douglas Bader, under the same roof, and escape attempts occurred almost daily. Bringing new material and fresh insights, Macintyre paints a superb portrait of a pre-war micro-society with all its inherent racism, snobbery and rigid class structures operating within the castle walls, not to mention rampant but covert homosexuality. How did the men cope with their confinement and what else did they get up to apart from trying to escape?