The most feared man of the Nazi elite. Two Czechoslovakian patriots who are ready to risk their own lives to stop him. The most daring assassination of WW2.
“You are tasked with a mission of the utmost importance. As you know, Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich is one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany as of now. He’s efficient in his methods, ruthless, extremely intelligent, and can’t be underestimated. A man like him will give you only one chance to kill him; if you don’t use it, he’ll kill you and it won’t be a fast and merciful death.”
The Gestapo chief and the man, whom Hitler himself calls The Man with the Iron Heart, arrives in Prague and soon earns himself the name of The Hangman among its population. When the order comes from London calling the Czech resistance to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, they have to decide fast, what is stronger - self-preservation or heroic death in the name of freedom.
“We can’t die tonight. Fate wouldn’t allow us to die before we complete our mission. Heydrich’s appointment as the Protector has perverted the very sense of the word. He’s not the Protector; we are. We are coming to restore the correct order of things, how they should be. When the strong protect the weak, not when the strong bully everyone who goes against them into blind submission, or hangs them regardless of age, sex, class or origin. No, we can’t die. Otherwise, this whole world won’t make sense to me anymore.”
Based on true events, “Killing the Hangman” follows Josef Gabčík’s and Jan Kubiš’s training in Britain, their parachute drop into Czechoslovakia, and the eventual planning and carrying out of the assassination itself. It also provides an intimate glimpse into the life of Heydrich himself, his recent appointment, the infamous Wannsee Conference, and his eventual death.
It felt like yesterday that Jan saw him for the first time, his intended target. He saw it all again, playing in front of his eyes. Heydrich – tall, even sitting next to his driver, his face shielded with the shadow of his cap’s visor; only the mouth moved into a polite smile when he motions the driver to stop completely to allow an elderly couple to cross the street in front of the Mercedes. They bow their gratitude; the Protector nods with a languid grace and turns away. Jan clenches a gun, concealed in his pocket – Heydrich is hardly four steps away from him; it’s impossible to miss from such a short distance. And then, as though sensing Jan’s intense stare, Heydrich turns his head and looks him squarely in the eyes, his smile slowly transforming into an arrogant smirk as he shifts his gaze from Jan’s hand in his pocket back to his eyes, wide with fear. ‘Go ahead, boy. Shoot.’ Paralyzed with unthinkable terror, Jan swallows hard, moves his lips into a wary smile and, despising himself and his weakness, raises his arm in the Nazi salute. Heydrich doesn’t move, only looks down with a barely perceptible air of disappointment and soon turns away entirely as the driver picks up speed. Jan never told Jozef about having a gun on him that day. He never told him that he didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger. And now, sitting alone in his room, he wondered if he would be able to pull himself together and carry out the mission or hide behind Jozef’s back like a coward – again.
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Killing the Hangman.
Ellie Midwood is an award-winning, best-selling historical fiction writer. She's a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama.
Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.
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