Edward Coke used to be an army officer, but he is in prison now. Every day is exactly the same for him. It is winter now and Coke and all the other men get up at six, when it is still cold and dark. They have breakfast at six thirty. Work begins at seven thirty. Some of the men work in the prison factory, where they make mail-bags, but Coke often works in the fields outside.
The men have lunch at twelve. Lunch lasts an hour and then the men go back to work again. Dinner is at six. Coke usually goes to the prison library after dinner and reads until 9.30. The lights go out at ten. The day is long, hard, and boring and every man has a lot of time to think. They usually think about why they are there. Coke does. He always thinks about two men.
One of the men is called Eric Masters. He used to be an army officer, just like Coke. Coke knows that Masters has a lot of money now. The second man's name is Hugo. That is all Coke knows about him. Masters knows where and who Hugo is, but Coke doesn't. Every night Coke lies in bed and thinks about Eric Masters and Hugo. There is another thing he thinks about, too. Escaping. He wants to escape and find Masters, and then the other man. Coke is in prison for something he did not do.