On the hill (Na Kopci)

Some miracles are too good to be true.


In the summer of 2000, an Angel appeared to a ten-year-old girl named Marie Poláková. It happened in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest, on a hill.

Milan, a young journalist and student, is writing his Master thesis about this so-called “Vytoň Apparition” that turned the town into a pilgrimage site attracting thousands of visitors.

During his investigation, he encounters subtle but increasing inconsistencies: it seems that the apparition is problematic, and the Church never officially acknowledged it.

Marie herself, the girl who spoke with the angel and heard some secret from him, has long left Vytoň and does not want to relive her experience. She now works in a bar and does not seem to be religious.

Milan finds an old video of Maria attending the pilgrimage on the anniversary of the apparition. She appears frightened. It is also rumored the whole thing could have been just the pious wish of the local parish priest Rovenský trying to start a sect in the village.

We also follow the story of Helena, who leaves her job after experiencing a strongly traumatic event. She moves to Vytoň where she meets and befriends Milan and offers him to stay with her on his next visit to the village. After reading his thesis she thinks Marie made it up to cover up a far more terrifying experience. Milan finds such a theory ridiculous.

However, Helena decides to investigate further. We learn that she previously worked as a detective in a team specializing in crimes committed against children. Her investigation leads nowhere. However, Marie contacts Milan and after a wild night drive together, she confesses to him that the apparition is an unclear memory for her, which she cannot and does not want to interpret. She also adds that she made up her subsequent talks with the angel. Milan revisits his materials and comes across a photo of a familiar man, who looks like an angel. He is an amateur photographer, a physical education teacher, and the leader of a children’s camp that was held in Vytoň at the time of the apparition. Milan recognizes him. He met him at the beginning of the story when he asked him for old photos from the place of the apparition. His name is Jaroslav Tomášek.

When Milan shows the photo to Marie, the girl experiences a strong psychological shock and remembers that the man in the photo raped her.

Milan asks Helena for help. She warns him that according to the law, the offence is already time-barred. Milan does not give up. He decides to investigate on his own and confront Tomášek directly while hiddenly recording him. Tomášek confesses, but finds Milan’s recorder and beats him unconscious, crushing the recorder. Fortunately, school teachers intervene and call the police.

The police end up opening another sexual abuse case against Tomášek and also accuse him of bodily harm toward Milan. Some justice will be served even though the crime against Marie remains a secret. Marie thanks Milan for standing up for her.


RELEVANT DATA: On the Hill won the Jiří Marek Award for the best Czech detective novel. It fascinates with it’s disturbing and shocking theme. Author Jiří Březina is holder of two Jiří Marek Awards for the best Czech detective novel.

What the critics and readers have said:

“[…] an extraordinary story with detective elements that got under my skin!” Databazeknih

“It’s simply different, unusual and brilliantly written. The author is very talented!” Cbdb

“[…] the plot of the story flowed briskly, it was a good read, the dark moments of the story were nicely rendered. I could imagine it being made into a movie, great descriptions and dialogue in that regard.” Goodreads


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.


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