Hello, my name is Christopher Chance and this is my book SATAN’S ARENA, which is the final book in the Carabanchel trilogy. Satan’s arena is the name I use collectively for prisons because every prison is Satan’s arena. It’s also the name for my Michelin Guide for prominent French and Spanish jails, which are still reminiscent of pre-French revolution times, and I actually sometimes thought I had a bit part in Les Miserables and Papillon.
I’ll tell you a bit about two of these prisons in France. The Douai Dungeon ( the name the inmates gave it says it all) was the penultimate prison where the guillotine executions took place. The prison officers are total lunatics. They think and dress like legionnaires and it’s obvious to me that the reason for this being they failed the entrance exam for the police or the army.
The other most famous prison in the whole of France is Fresnes, south of Paris. Fresnes was taken over by the Gestapo in WW2 and as a result many, many resistance fighters lost their lives in that place; and our SOE operative Odette (famous heroine) was tortured nigh on to death before being sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.
I really don’t want to dwell on these two terrible places. So…
I’m often asked, why do I write about such gruesome stuff. Well I advise people who may have PTSD, or suffer from being in war zones and other horrible places, that this is therapeutic. Write it down, get it off your chest. It works for me, so I’m assuming it works for them – it works for anybody if it works for me.