An astonishing, unforgettable novel: a thrilling Second World War assassination plot told with rare literary brilliance.
We are in Prague, in 1942. Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent by London plan to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich – head of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'.
Heydrich works for Hitler's most powerful henchman, Heinrich Himmler, but in the SS they say 'HHhH': 'Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich' – Himmler's brain is called Heydrich.
All the characters in HHhH existed then or still exist now. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding story of the preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?
HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern. It is a moving, tense, and shattering work of fiction.
“Vividly recreates the assassination of Heydrich and its consequences”
John Le Carré, Telegraph
“Laurent Binet’s HHhH is hard to categorise. All is can say is that it has the same gravity-defying balance of weight and light as early Milan Kundera”
Janice Turner, The Times
“Utterly amazing ... likely to make you gasp, laugh and cry often within a few pages”
“A novel of great verve and originality… a heart-quickening climax and the undeserved satisfaction of feeling privy to what really happened”
“Binet provides both context and impressive detail on the eventual assassination of Heydrich”
Mark Perryman, Philosophy Footbal