Sunday Times no 1 bestseller Damien Lewis to headline Dorchester Literary Festival

Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author and SAS WW2 expert Damien Lewis will be speaking at the Dorchester Literary Festival on October 17.

Hailing from Dorset himself, Damien is keen to share the research and stories behind SAS Great Escapes 2 to his home crowd.

His latest book SAS Great Escapes 2 shares six daring stories of SAS escapes. With SAS Great Escapes 2 set between 1942 and 1944, Damien’s thorough and in-depth research reveals richly detailed and previously untold stories of SAS escapes. Take the story of Herbert Castelow, a prominent member of the SAS who stood before the Nazi soldiers hiding ‘in plain sight’, unable to speak French, and working in a local French butchers shop before making his escape – to them no more than a mute butcher’s assistant.

In another instance, 200 SAS soldiers took part in a so-called ‘suicide mission’ that saw SAS medic Malcolm Pleydell facing a 1000 mile escape across the Sahara. Hunted all the way and inundated with injured men, this escape became a test not just of skill but of a deeper moral jeopardy as Pleydell had to decide which of his comrades he must leave behind.

In researching his stories, Damien worked closely with the families of these heroes, often resulting in further personal research. Inspired by Damien’s research, Avril Castelow, daughter of Herbert Castelow returned to the village in France where her father had been hidden by the French Resistance and met Michel LeDuc, the head of the local French Resistance and the butcher who saved him and others who protected him.

Avril Castelow

Avril will be at Dorchester Literary Festival with Damien where he will be discussing these fascinating stories in SAS Great Escapes 2 and more in greater depth.

For tickets visit

SAS Great Escapes 2 by Damien Lewis is published by Quercus at £20.

//picture credits Damien Lewis author photo 2019// Millard Photography

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