Simon Mawer’s most recent novel is set in Czechoslovakia and takes place in 1968 when most of its citizens want freedom, yet Russian troops are invading the city of Prague. Mawer presents the reader with two intersecting stories. English college students James Borthwick and Eleanor Pike are hitchhiking their way through Europe. Originally their final destination was to be Italy, but they flip a coin, heads wins and they arrive in Prague instead. Sam Wareham, First Secretary of the British Embassy in Prague becomes involved in a love affair with Lenka, a Czech student who is protesting the Russian invasion and working for her country’s freedom. These four main characters come to rely on each other in ways they never would have expected.
Prague Spring is historically accurate with real political figures and their actions interspersed throughout the narrative. Simon Mawer writes a good story, although Sam and Lenko’s love story evolved too quickly for me to find it believable.