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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: HUNTING THE HANGMAN, Howard Linskey

'It screams its authenticity at the reader from the outset'



Bestselling author Howard Linskey’s fifteen year fascination with the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the holocaust, has produced a meticulously researched, historically accurate thriller with a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle has Landed.

2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the 'Blond Beast’. In Prague he was known as the Hangman. Hitler, who called him 'The Man with the Iron Heart', considered Heydrich to be his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the ‘Final Solution’ to the Jewish question: the systematic murder of eleven million people.

In 1942 two men were trained by the British SOE to parachute back into their native Czech territory to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life was one of the single most dramatic events of the Second World War, with horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people.

Hunting the Hangman is a tale of courage, resilience and betrayal with a devastating finale. Based on true events, the story reads like a classic World War Two thriller and is the subject of two big-budget Hollywood films that coincide with the anniversary of Operation Anthropoid.


I love thrillers, and I love historical non-fiction, but I admit I am often uncomfortable when the two blur, and someone writes a fictional version of actual events featuring the people really involved. Their inaccuracies and inconsistencies worry at me, and I find myself fretting that readers will believe the fiction as they would a factual book.

However, in the case of Hunting The Hangman, I must applaud the incredible amount of research that has clearly gone into this book. Historically accurate, it screams its authenticity at the reader from the outset.

There is no glorifying or trivializing events. Instead, there is simply great writing and research, weaving together to tell this incredible, fictionalized account of a true story.

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