I'm quite sure I've read over a thousand books during the last 40 odd years. I've no doubt this is the best book I've ever read in my life. I have now read it three times, once at the age of 12, again at the age of 30, and most recently at the age of 43. Each time the book was fantastic and enthralling. Papillon is wrongly charged with the murder of a pimp, gets convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment, and shipped out to the Hell hole of Devil's Island in French Guiana. Papillon befriends several fellow cons, including a master fraudster named Degas, and makes numerous thrilling escape attempts through the inhospitable swamps and jungles. He has a nerve-shredding encounter with a group of lepers, who take a liking to him, and assist him in one of his escapes. He finds a tropical island paradise where he befriends a tribe's leader, and becomes involved with one of the local women. What is most gripping, is his depiction of his hatred for the men responsible for his imprisonment. He fantasises about what he will do to his prosecutor if he ever finds him. He paces his small cell back and forth, over and over again, countless times, his sheer frustration and desperation about the unfairness of what has happened to him, leaps out at you from each page, you feel that you are sat there right next to him on his bed, it is really that involving. This book has been about for close to 50 years now and it is truly a masterpiece. A film based on the book was made in the 1970's with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, which was a decent stab at translating the book onto the big screen, but simply nowhere near as good as the novel. I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is constantly gripping and moving, and from the first to last page, you find yourself rooting for Papillon and hoping that his life will turn out okay.