The new book by Simon Mawer is set in the summer of 1968, the year of hatred and love, the year of the Prague Spring and the Cold War. The protagonists, two English students Ellie and James, decide during their trip to discover Europe to visit Czechoslovakia, where Alexander Dubček’s “Socialism with a human face” reigns. Meanwhile, Sam Wareham, the first secretary of the British Embassy in Prague, observes the developments that the country is going through with a mixture of diplomatic cynicism and passion for young people. Together with a Czech student, Lenka Konečková, he comes into contact with the Czechoslovak youth, their ideas and hopes. It almost seems that for the first time nothing is really impossible, even if it is perceived that something will happen soon. The Soviet leader is making demands to Dubček and the Red Army is now on the border. How will the looming disaster affect the fragile lives involved in the invasion?

Simon Mawer,
Prague Spring,
Little Brown, 2018,
400 p.