On a November morning in 1943, an escaped POW comes within a day’s march of Allied lines after journeying hundreds of miles on foot through war-torn Italy. The young man is starving and hypothermic, and the German 10th Army stands between him and freedom.
The POW is Ian Busst, a sapper in the Royal Australian Engineers. Years later, 96-year-old Busst can still recall his wartime experiences in incredible detail, from the sound of a strafing Messerschmitt to the appalling vision of his two mates blown apart by a high-calibre bomb.
Busst’s odyssey took him through the dark days of the Battle of Britain and fighting in the Western Desert. Captured near Tobruk during a daring night mission ahead of the German advance into Libya, he was sent to the prison camps of Italy and eventually to the dreaded Campo 57. Subjected to appalling conditions, Busst – known as ‘Mad Bugger’ to his mates – became obsessed with one objective: escape.
This is a thriller set amid the great battlefields and prison camps of the Second World War. Tom Trumble brings to life one man’s extraordinary story of high adventure, courage, resilience and, above all, mateship.