What follows is the story of two British officers whose spirit the Japanese try to break. Yet out of all the violence and misery strange bonds are forged between prisoners - and their gaolers. In a battle for survival that becomes a battle of contrasting wills and philosophies as the intensity of the men's relationships develop.
Laurens van der Post was born in Africa in 1906. Most of his adult life was spent his time divided between Africa and England. His professions of writer and farmer were interrupted by ten years in the army, behind enemy lines in Abyssinia, the Western Desert and the Far East where he was taken prisoner by the Japanese while commanding a small guerrilla unit. He went straight from prison back to active service in Java. He was awarded the CBE for his services in the field.