An Officer and A Spy – Robert Harris

An Officer and a Spy - Robert Harris

An Officer and a Spy – Robert Harris

I’ve been reading a bit of crime/thriller this year – like this one or this one. I was given this one for my birthday.

Here is the blurb …

Robert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage.
Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that “proved” Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus’s guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.
Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness––a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower–richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally best-selling novels.

I found this quite slow at first – it took me a long time to get into it, but eventually I was gripped and didn’t want to stop until I knew what had happened. The pace is slow and not particularly dramatic – although there is a shooting in the street  – but the story is fascinating. Traitors, spies, secret meetings, fabricated evidence and murder.

I don’t know anything about the ‘Dreyfus Affair’, so I can’t comment on the veracity of the story, but from what I’ve read in other reviews it is true to the story.

More reviews …

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