There were love affairs between island women and German soldiers, betrayals and black marketeering, individual acts of resistance, feats of courage and endurance. Every islander was faced with uncomfortable choices: where did patriotism end and self-preservation begin? What moral obligation did they have to the thousands of emaciated and ill-treated slave labourers the Nazis brought among them to build an impregnable ring of defences around the islands?
Madeleine Bunting was born in North Yorkshire. After studying history at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, she won a Knox postgraduate fellowship to study and teach history at Harvard University. She worked for an independent television production company joining the Guardian as a reporter in 1989. She became the newspaper's religious affairs correspondent in 1995.