This is not a novel for those who long for poetically long flowery description. It is instead for those who want the raw adventure of a man who is truly extraordinary. An autobiography of a man found guilty of a manslaughter despite being innocent. He is then interned upon the islands off French Guiana, renowned for their inhospitality and staggeringly high fatality rate. A beautiful tattoo of a butterfly engraved on the chest of Henri Charriere, the author and the protagonist, gave him the name Papillon. The book takes us through the daring adventures of Papillon as he makes nine death-defying escapes from the penal settlements of French Guiana in eleven years. The failure only made him more resilient; he refused to accept his fate as a prisoner and defied all natural odds to make more impossible escapes, only to be recaptured!
It cannot be merely looked as the story of the struggle of a convict for freedom. It implores people at large to never lose hope while facing an adversity; win or lose, the way of the warrior is the only way to survive.