Alongside Kundera's The Joke, The Axe was one of the most influential novels to appear in Czechoslovakia during the cultural awakening of the 1960s.
In late Sixties Czechoslovakia, communist ideology is failing. A disillusioned middle-aged journalist retreats from the politics of Prague to the Moravian countryside of his youth. There he rediscovers the complex relationship with his dead father, a communist crusader. But when the journalist is accused of disgracing his father and his proletariat background, he realizes that he, too, is a leader—and that the stakes are now reversed.