1987. Two Italian prisoners escape prison in a rubbish lorry. Parting company, Carlo heads for Milan, while Filippo treks north over the mountains.
When Carlo is killed in a shoot-out during a bank robbery – and under deeply suspicious circumstances – a massive manhunt is launched. Frightened for his own safety, Filippo flees to Paris, where he's assisted by Italian political exiles and finds work as a security guard. Long, lonely hours lead him to recall a story told to him by Carlo in – the explosive account of a former leader of the Red Brigades – and Filippo begins to devote his evenings to writing it down. His landlady, Cristina, finds him a publisher and the book becomes an instant bestseller.
Carefully coached by his publishers, Filippo steadfastly refuses to admit that the book is anything other than fiction, but the public don't believe him. Nor do the police.
Trapped by fate and his own efforts to evade the truth, Filippo must accept that his assumed identity carries far greater risks than his own.
As the tension builds, ex-journalist Lisa – Carlo's one-time lover – becomes convinced that his death was no accident. It's not long before her investigations begin to expose a complex trail of corruption and political manoeuvres, with potentially fatal consequences.
'This is not a conventional crime novel, but an interesting study of paranoia, both political and personal, which raises many questions about the value and morality of violent political action but provides tantalisingly few concrete answers' Shots
'Manotti may have politics at heart, but she also creates vivid and complex characters, with whom she says she "lives" during the writing of a book, exploring their personalities and tics and quirks. This results in fiction that satisfies on both an emotional and thematic level. Escape may be one of her most intensely character-led books yet' Scottish Herald
'Manotti’s satire provides a particularly vivid portrait of the Italian left, with the secret campaign against them by the right and by the government omnipresent but mostly offstage. Her displacement from the subject, as a French author and historian (her academic specialty is 19th-century economic history), gives Escape a satirical distance from the contentious subject, but the comedy effectively highlights her portrait of the violence with which the revolutionaries and the counterrevolutionaries assaulted one another' LA Review of Books