'Prague Spring is a wonderfully atmospheric portrait of the city as well as a political and historical thriller with dashes of espionage. It is as brilliant as anything he has written, which is saying a lot' The Times
It's the summer of 1968, the year of love and hate, of Prague Spring and Cold War winter. Two English students, Ellie and James, set off to hitch-hike across Europe with no particular aim in mind but a continent, and themselves, to discover. Somewhere in southern Germany they decide, on a whim, to visit Czechoslovakia where Alexander Dubcek's 'socialism with a human face' is smiling on the world.
Meanwhile Sam Wareham, a first secretary at the British embassy in Prague, is observing developments in the country with a mixture of diplomatic cynicism and a young man's passion. In the company of Czech student Lenka Konecková, he finds a way into the world of Czechoslovak youth, its hopes and its ideas. It seems that, for the first time, nothing is off limits behind the Iron Curtain.
Yet the wheels of politics are grinding in the background. The Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev is making demands of Dubcek and the Red Army is massed on the borders. How will the looming disaster affect those fragile lives caught up in the invasion?
Mawer is a superb chronicler of past events in foreign countries, and Prague Spring is a wonderfully atmospheric portrait of the city as well as a political and historical thriller with dashes of espionage. It is as brilliant as anything he has written, which is saying a lot (Marcel Berlins The Times)
Mawer's novels are always rich in intelligence and insight and Prague Spring is no exception (Nick Rennison Sunday Times)
Masterly and chilling . . . it is very good indeed (Scotsman)
A cracking fictional tale set in a beautifully-researched (and very well-chosen) slice of history (Readers Digest)
Playing a neat cat-and-mouse game with the reader, [Mawer] gradually turns up the temperature of the novel, shaking us out of our comfort zones...a strong return to the Eastern European setting of his acclaimed novel The Glass Room...affecting and ultimately chilling (Kirkus Reviews)
Mawer brilliantly captures the differing shades of naïveté and world weariness that characterize the Czech response to the possibility of greater freedom...[a] smart and touching look at the folly and sweetness of the young (Booklist)
Prague Spring...plunges into the heady days of 1968: the pleasures of new freedoms, the hopes that were brutally crushed, and the politics, both behind the scenes and in the streets. All that you would want from a novel (Australian Book Review, Best Books of the Year)
About the Author
Simon Mawer was born in 1948 in England, and spent his childhood there, in Cyprus and in Malta. He then moved to Italy, where he and his family lived for more than thirty years, and taught at the British International School in Rome. He and his wife currently live in Hastings. Simon Mawer is the author of several novels including the Man Booker shortlisted The Glass Room, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky and Tightrope.