A Cage of Eagles

A Cage Of EaglesA Cage of Eagles A Cage of Eagles A Cage Of Eagles

 

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1st Publication date March 1987 United Kingdom Methuen

Hardback Publication date October 1990 Severn House Publishers  ISBN 0727841319

Paperback Publication date 1990 Mandarin ISBN 0749300361    256pp 178 x 111mm

From book cover

The locals call it Hush Hush Hall. The British Army calls it No. 1 POW Camp (Officers) Grizedale Hall. British Intelligence call it their Cage of Eagles. It is the biggest concentration of German prisoner-of-war talent in wartime England. Gathered together are airmen, navigators, radio operators, and U-boatmen. Over 100 skilled and determined men with one thought uppermost in their mind -- escape.

A Cage of Eagles is a strange story that casts the British in the unfamiliar roles of guard and hunter.




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The locals call it Hush Hush Hall. The British Army calls it No. 1 POW Camp (Officers) Grizedale Hall. British Intelligence call it their Cage of Eagles.

It is the biggest concentration of German prisoner-of-war talent in wartime Britain. Gathered together are airmen, navigators, radio operators, and U-boatmen. Over one hundred skilled and determined men with one thought uppermost in their mind -- escape.

But all that changes when U-boat ace Otto Kruger takes over as senior German officer. With ice-cool, deadly efficiency he turns the camp into a clearing house for sending vital intelligence back to the Fatherland.

The battle of wits between Kruger and his captors draws together such diverse characters as Ian Fleming and Beatrix Potter in an explosive story that has the British in the unfamiliar roles of guards and hunters. It is a battle that the Germans fight with fortitude, grim determination ...and humor.


Dave's comment

This is a book that I liked a lot. To me it reads like a screenplay and if it could be made for a reasonable cost, e.g.. Getting a good location it would make a good TV movie or a short mini series. This is a book that could have a sequel as there appears to be a furtile ground for far more attempts to escape and far more humor.

Author James Follett comments

" From the novel's foreword: "

In 1979 I wrote a novel, U-700 (US title: The Wotan Warhead), which was based on the circumstances surrounding the surrender to the RAF in 1941 of a German U-boat and the subsequent `trial' of the U-boat's first officer by his fellow prisoner of war officers at Grizedale Hall in the Lake District. Research for the book produced an astonishing flood of accounts from former POWs, guards, and even London `Cage' interrogators.

The useful material was very useful indeed, but it was outweighed by the mass of fascinating material that had no bearing on the subject I was concerned with. Stumbling on such a motherlode of exciting material and not being able to use it rankled considerably. I had prospected for emeralds -- and found them, but I had also stumbled upon gold. For example, try as hard as I could, there was no logical way I could work into U-700 the amazing story of two escaping Luftwaffe officers who stole an RAF aircraft. It simply refused to fit. Nor could I use any of the material relating to the remarkable lengths that the senior German officer at Grizedale Hall went to in his attempts to warn the German High Command of the existence of `Huff Duff' -- seaborne high-frequency radio direction finding.

The obvious solution was to write another book. This novel is not a sequel to U-700, although there are unavoidable parallels with that earlier novel simply because the settings and some characters are the same. In U-700 I described the `trial' of a U-boat officer for cowardice. A similar kangaroo court-martial is covered in this book. Both events took place; both ended in a tragedy that still haunts those involved to this day.

I am indebted to the many individuals who provided such a wealth of material but particular thanks are due to Alan Graydon for supplying me with a detailed account of the time when, to use his own words he `gave two Luftwaffe escapees an RAF trainer'.

Having lived with the strange story of Grizedale Hall for so many years, I was also grateful for being allowed to pick over the sad ruins of the hall (it was demolished by the Forestry Commission in 1957) so that I could build some of its slate blocks into the walls of my house.

Strange to think that part of the original fabric of the `Cage of Eagles' is now standing in a Surrey village. " James Follett

 

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