Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'. His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells "HHhH". All the characters in "HHhH" are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist 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, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
An astonishing, unforgettable novel: a thrilling Second World War assassination plot told with rare literary brilliance.
Winner of Publishers Publicity Circle Hardback Fiction Award 2013. Shortlisted for National Book Critics Circle Awards: Fiction 2013. Long-listed for Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013.
HHhH is a highly original piece of work, at once charming, moving, and gripping -- Martin Amis HHhH blew me away. Binet's style fuses it all together: a neutral, journalistic honesty sustained with a fiction writer's zeal and story-telling instincts. It's one of the best historical novels I've ever come across. -- Brett Easton Ellis Magnificent ... unsurpassable ... told with grace and elegance ... exerts a hypnotic sway over the reader ... something of a Greek tragedy and of the splendid thriller ... All the details have such persuasive force that they remain indelibly recorded in the memory of the reader -- Mario Vargas Llosa By the time I got to the last page of Binet's masterpiece, I had to close my eyes and rethink history. I'm rethinking it still -- Gary Shteyngart Laurent Binet has given a new dimension to the non-fiction novel by weaving his writerly anxieties about the genre into the narrative, but his story is no less compelling for that, and the climax is unforgettable -- David Lodge
HHhH is Laurent Binet's first novel. He lives and works in France. HHhH won the prestigious Prix Goncourt du premier roman and the Prix des Lecteurs du Livre de Poche.