Dalibor Vácha (b. 1980) is a Czech historian and author of fourteen best-selling novels. His prose is mostly dedicated to the great wars of the 20th century, and individual human destinies within them. He focuses primarily on the histories of daily life in the Czechoslovak Legions, as well as of the interwar period. He does not forget the fantastic, however, and he has written a post-apocalyptic novel.
January 2020, 312 pages
Available material: English sample
The story of three heroes who, without hesitation, gave their lives for the liberation of Czechoslovakia
M+B+M. Josef Mašín, Josef Balabán, Jan Morávek. The Three Kings of the Nazi occupation era. Indisputable heroes who did not hesitate to give their lives for the liberation of Czechoslovakia. And yet they were also ordinary people with ordinary desires: they longed for love, they wanted families, and they dreamed of experiencing one calm evening free from fear of whoever might come knocking on the door of the “conspiracy apartment”…
Vácha’s novel follows these three great figures of Czechoslovak history and their resistance activities from 1939 until their very ends. They spent day after day on the line between life and death, navigating a world where one’s enemy could be waiting around each corner, where a close friend could abruptly switch into a traitor. The author captures the gloomy, claustrophobic atmosphere of occupation: terror on the deserted streets of Prague, a world where no one knew when the Gestapo might appear to issue arrests, or orders to stand against the wall…
“This is not a game,” Balabán growled. Calm down, man, calm down, you can’t scare them off, you can’t be too pushy. It is strange that they are still alive and free. Dammit. Dammit. Calm down. You’re not angry at these two, no, you’re thinking about those other two, who are supposed to meet you later. They’re the ones you’re bringing bad news to… Is it really bad? Why are they still staring at me like that? “Well, gentlemen, we’ll work together, then. We have proven ourselves to one another,” he smiled an encouraging smile. He spoke the way he always did. He wanted to organize, to build the great structure of anti-Nazi resistance; that was his plan, the goal he would sacrifice anything for.