I’ve just finished reading HHhH, by Laurent Binet. An excellent novel based on an thrilling, and true story.

It tells the story of the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, Operation Anthropoid, in Prague during the second world war. Not a person I had heard of before reading the book, he was responsible for many terrible crimes and one of the main architects of the Holocaust.

Much of the book discusses his rise to power within Nazi Germany and how he ended up becoming the “Protector” of annexed Czechoslovakia. It was whilst in this post he became the target of an assassination attempt organised by Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London, with the help of the British.

The book then introduces the assassins, the heroes, Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, as well as the many others who risked their lives for the mission.

It’s a great story that needed to be told1. Understandably, it’s very dark and tragic in places, but the bravery of the resistance fighters and ordinary Czechs really shines through.

The way the book is written is also very interesting. It’s full of his own thoughts, questions and humour, inserted alongside the story. There may have been a couple of times when it was a bit much, but overall I feel it made the story more personal, more lifelike, and reminded you that this is a real story of incredible courage and monstrous crimes.

Definitely worth reading.

Cover image of Heydrich’s car after the assassination attempt: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1972-039-44 / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons.

  1. Of course, the story has been told before. But never like this. [return]