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An Officer and a Spy [Kindle Edition]

Robert Harris
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,241 customer reviews)

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Book Description

IN THE HUNT FOR A SPY, HE EXPOSED A CONSPIRACY. The winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2014, this is a gripping historical thriller from Robert Harris – Sunday Times bestselling author of Fatherland and The Ghost.

Paris, 1895: an army officer, Georges Picquart, watches a convicted spy, Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of a baying crowd.

Dreyfus is exiled for life to Devil's Island; Picquart is promoted to run the intelligence unit that tracked him down.

But when Picquart discovers that secrets are still being handed over to the Germans, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption that threatens not just his honour but his life...

Product Description


"Many readers prize him as our supreme exponent of the "literary" thriller. His novels are not difficult -- they are whizzing page-turners... They also combine masterly suspense and mystery with historical insight and political shrewdness. His latest novel is no exception: it is a cracking read from start to finish... It offers a bravura display of Harris's fictional skills. The first is sureness of historical touch. In both general and specific terms the period comes alive... There is no need to wait for the film: it can scarcely be more exciting than the book." --"Sunday Times""Harris is committed to the belief that you can get at a truth as a novelist that you can't as an historian... and he does give us the look, sensations, sounds and smells as no historian could... it is informative, accomplished and highly enjoyable." --"Evening Standard""The Dreyfus Affair... has now been brilliantly retold by Robert Harris... This is a book about spies and their deceits and the unreasonable demands that are made of them by their hard-to-please political governors. It is 1895 with a strong undercurrent of 2003... The real subject then is espionage and the broader, mutually manipulative relationship between the intelligence "community" and the political class... Along the way, Harris gives us plenty of espionage tradecraft. The eavesdropping, the handwriting analysis, the forgery." --"The Times"

Book Description

IN THE HUNT FOR A SPY, HE EXPOSED A CONSPIRACY. The winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2014, this is a gripping historical thriller from Robert Harris – Sunday Times bestselling author of Fatherland and The Ghost.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1700 KB
  • Print Length: 500 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0091944554
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,241 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Robert Harris is the author Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost - all of which were worldwide bestsellers. His work has been translated into thirty-three languages. He was born in Nottingham in 1957 and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He worked as a reporter on the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before becoming Political Editor of the Observer in 1987, and then a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He lives near Hungerford in Berkshire with his wife and their four children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
176 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate! 27 Sept. 2013
I have long been a fan of Robert Harris and was pleased to be given this novel as a birthday present. I devoured it in a couple of (longish) sittings. I recall studying the Dreyfus affair at school but these were hazy recollections at best. Having read the novel I am now seeking out a good non-fiction book on the topic so that I have a better appreciation of how well Robert Harris has integrated fact with fiction. The novel is revelatory in terms of demonstrating through fiction the lengths governments will go to in order to conceal the truth. Dreyfus was, to put it succintly, fitted up. As the author has shown in previous novels he is adept at (a) evoking a period setting, (b) creating well rounded characters like the central protaganist here, Colonel Georges Picquar, through whose eyes the story unfolds, and (c) making political machinations seem totally believable (and you only have to look at some of the more recent political scandals in the UK to draw certain parallels to those in this novel). The author's prose style is as fluent as ever, plotting is handled superbly, and the whole story rattles along. What really shines through the fiction is the author's obvious fascination with this famous French scandal. Highly recommended.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant return to top form for Robert Harris 26 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I have always enjoyed Robert Harris's books immensely, although I did feel he had "gone off the boil" a bit with his later ones. I did not particularly enjoy the two Roman ones, and felt that both The Ghost and The Fear Index were inferior to his earlier, cracking thrillers based around real events. My husband pre-ordered this book and read it obssessively on holiday, and I snatched it from him the minute he'd finished it.

We'd both read the various reviews, which served to act as a reminder about the politics and progression of L'Affaire Dreyfus - like most reviewers, we had a reasonable idea of the episode in outline, rather than the detail. One thing I was unaware of was quite how long it dragged on and how the French General Staff perpetrated almost any untruths rather than admit they were wrong. It did seem to resonate with some current affairs, but it was truly anchored in the late 19th Century, and did not attempt to view it in the light of the 21st. It was still breathtaking in its outrage, however and totally absorbing. The huge cast of characters were so well defined and described and the appalling dirty tricks were as thrilling as any fiction - and at times almost more extreme than could reasonably be imagined. The fact that Dreyfus was not a particularly likeable character, and his defendant Picquart admitted to not caring for him personally, made it all the more astonishing that Picquart was prepared to risk his career in his cause.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction in one of its best editions 21 Feb. 2014
By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER
“An Officer and a Spy” written by Robert Harris who attracted worldwide public attention with his novel ‘Fatherland’, is a great historical fiction, which tells the less known story of Dreyfus affair that at the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century divided France and led it to the brink of civil war.

The novel main character Georges Picquart works in French Army Statistical Section, he’s smart recently promoted leader of the counterespionage intelligence unit responsible for Dreyfus exposure as German spy that organized his trial. Alfred Dreyfus was a young Jewish officer, who due to treason conviction was sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, while his rank was humiliatingly taken away from him in front of mob crowd of twenty thousand persons which shouted “Death to the Jew!”

Georges Picquart will begin to explore some clues that have emerged in this case, recognizing from the start that things are not exactly like they were presented by government and that obviously something or someone else is behind the accusations that Dreyfus was exposed to and due to which his life was ruined. He will start suspecting that there is still a spy in the French military and that wrong man was accused.

The story is incredibly realistic and reader will many times ask herself/himself if all those things could really happen to this unfortunate man, but to the novel main character as well, who only tries to get to the truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Zapryan
Robert Harris is famous for a number of historical novels, the only one of which I'd previously read being the bestselling Fatherland - a detective story that takes place in an alternate historical setting in which Nazi Germany has won the Second World War. Fatherland is an exciting, well-written novel that I immensely enjoyed reading but I have to say that An Officer and a Spy is even better as it gives Harris the opportunity to fully utilise his amazing ability to create fascinating characters and illustrate complex historical events in an interesting but at the same time informative way.

An Officer and a Spy is told through the viewpoint of Marie-Georges Picquart, a French officer who is involved with the investigation of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery officer of the French Army from the region of Alsace who was convicted on charges of treason in 1894. Early on in the novel Harris deploys his ability to use metaphor and crisp prose to create an excellent sense of place, which I believe the following passage clearly demonstrates:

"The police line bulged, tautened and then burst apart, releasing a flood of protesters, who poured across the pavement and spread along the railings. Dreyfus stopped, turned and faced them, raised him arms and said something. But he had his back tomorrow and I couldn't hear his words, only the familiar taunts of "Judas!", "Traitor!" and "Death to the Jew" that were thrown back in his face.
An instant later the order was given for the parade to march past. The stamp of boots seemed to shake the ground. Bugles were blown. Drums beat time. As the band struck up "Sambre-et-Meuse" it started to snow. I felt a great sense of release. I believe we all did. Spontaneously we turned to one another and shook hands.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this book incredible story
Published 16 hours ago by Lily
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
Not the sort of book that I normally read. I found that the story drew one into it. Both the intrigue of the military and of the main character's personal life contributed to the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by 3 legs
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent approach
I would recommend this to anyone interested in this particular period of history. It is an excellent introduction to the subject, and a very interesting one.
Published 2 days ago by Sparkes
4.0 out of 5 stars Robert Harris back on form - an intriguing read
Up there with the best from Robert Harris. Intriguing historical insight into intrigue by the master of the political/historical thriller. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Chris St Albans
4.0 out of 5 stars Would definitely recommend this book though
Totally engrossed in this book right up to the last chapter. Thought he could have gone in to the end result in a bit more detail, got the impression he just got fed up writing the... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Mr. M. Burns
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great story well written
Published 4 days ago by alan bilsborough
5.0 out of 5 stars Spy thriller
A great read.
Published 7 days ago by Ian Rowden
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, an amazing miscarriage of justice brilliantly brought to...
An extraordinary chapter of French history which was completely unknown to me, brilliant told capturing the atmosphere of the time and making it a real turner. Read more
Published 7 days ago by AndyS
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting historical thriller.
This is a well paced thriller, didn't want to put it down at any stage. A masterpiece, making historical fact into an exciting novel.
Published 8 days ago by Alex JL McLean
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great story. Well researched and very well read
What a great story. Well researched and very well read. It confirmed many of my negative oppinions of France and the French. But I enjoyed listening to every minute. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jackofswords
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