Publication Date: 06/08/2020 ISBN: 9780241240649 Category:

Operation Morthor

Ravi Somaiya

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 06/08/2020 ISBN: 9780241240649 Category:




‘One of the mysteries I’ve long been fascinated by, and I am so grateful that Ravi Somaiya has cracked it open so brilliantly’ David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon


For nearly sixty years, the circumstances surrounding the death of renowned diplomat Dag Hammarskjoeld have remained one of the Cold War’s most tightly guarded secrets. Now, with exclusive evidence, investigative journalist Ravi Somaiya finally uncovers the truth.

In 1961 the Congo was in crisis, fragmented and at war with itself. The streets of Leopoldville, the capital, were crawling with CIA operatives, MI6 agents and Soviet infiltrators. Belgian colonialists, Rhodesian white supremacists and corporate mercenaries massed in the south of the country. The chaos conspired to make it one of the most dangerous places on earth.

UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjoeld, the man John F. Kennedy called ‘the greatest statesman of our century’ flew into the maelstrom. He was an idealist. The Congo’s best hope for peace and independence. But en route to a diplomatic summit to reunite the country, Hammarskjoeld’s plane mysteriously disappeared. Soon afterward he was discovered dead in the smoking wreckage, an Ace of Spades playing card placed on his body.

A riveting work of investigative journalism based on new evidence, recently revealed first-hand accounts, and groundbreaking interviews, Operation Morthor reveals the plot behind one of the longest-standing murder mysteries of the Cold War, with dark implications for governments and corporations alike.

Publisher Review

‘What caused the 1961 plane crash that killed UN Secretary-General Hammarskjoeld, who was attempting at the time to end a war in the Congo? Though the official accounts identified either pilot error or accident as having been responsible, investigative journalist Somaiya lays out the evidence suggesting foul play in his impressive debut. An eye-opening account’ — Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review ‘Ravi Somaiya’s brilliant unwrapping of the mystery surrounding Hammarskjold’s death will convert the reader into an avid investigator the moment they pick up this book! A compelling read – filled with revelations and written in a style that’s clean and fast-paced, Operation Morthor also raises key questions before governments who still act suspiciously: why? What are you hiding exactly?’ — Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN Human Rights Chief (2014-2018) ‘Operation Morthor is one of the most gripping nonfiction books I’ve read in a very long time, a real-life thriller about the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the UN, in 1961. Somaiya is one of the country’s best journalists, and he’s used his prodigious reporting and researching skills to dig up some truly startling new information about the plane crash in the Congo that killed Hammarskjold and spawned an almost never-ending series of conspiracy theories. Somaiya does a masterful job sifting the evidence and building a case of murder. This is a fabulous page turner. I highly recommend it’ — Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence ‘Operation Morthor is as exciting as the best spy novels, with the enormous advantage of being completely true. Ravi Somaiya masterfully teases out the tangled strands of a Cold War mystery in a place where nothing and no one are quite what they seem. The result is a gripping book by a gifted writer and a dogged investigator’ — Mitchell Zuckoff, author of 13 Hours

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations
  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible