A WW II POW escape saga--from the German point-of-view. Kurt von Stuerzbecher is a flying ace whose career is nearing its most exalted moments when he is informed by Goering that he must stay out of the air and devote himself to a special, morale-boosting project: a mass escape of German prisoners from the British POW camp at Skiddaw, near the Irish Sea. Stuerzbecher masterminds a plot called Operation Hammer--but then he is himself captured by the British when he takes a forbidden flight and is shot down over the channel. Stripping himself of all insignia of rank, the 36-year-old general masquerades as an oberleutnant, is interrogated at length, and is then shipped to the very camp upon which the great escape plot is waiting to be hatched. And when Stuerzbecher arrives, he is drafted into the twelve-man escape team that has already started digging a tunnel under the chapel. Meanwhile, Goering can't bear to tell Hitler that Stuerzbecher has been captured and orders the SS to engineer an escape scheme. Christian Ecke, a former high-ranking officer of great skill, but now fallen into alcoholism, is recruited to lead the breakout team and redeem himself in the act. And so Ecke arrives by U-boat just as the dozen POWs break out and start scurrying through the British countryside. Absorbing psychological moments as well as high adventure in the vein of The Eagle Has Landed.