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An Officer and a Spy [Paperback]

Robert Harris
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,025 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

8 May 2014

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...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (8 May 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099580888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099580881
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,025 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

"The fact that this novel is seriously riveting is a testament to Robert Harris's storytelling power; he conjures knuckle-blanching suspense from a very well-known piece of history." (BOOKS OF THE YEAR The Times)

"Harris’ retelling of the Dreyfus case is as taut and exciting as anything by Forsyth or Follet." (BOOKS OF THE YEAR Guardian)

"Menace and suspense twist tight in a narrative of tremendous tension." (BOOKS OF THE YEAR Sunday Times)

"Superb . . . Harris demonstrates his unique ability to recreate historical events and turn them into spellbinding thriller . . . Written with scalpel-like precision and the elegance we expect of Harris, there is a passion here that justifies calling it a masterpiece." (BOOKS OF THE YEAR Daily Mail)

"A brilliant retelling of a scandal that became one of the most famous miscarriages of justice . . . the most gripping book I've read this year." (BOOKS OF THE YEAR Mail on Sunday)

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
162 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate! 27 Sep 2013
By D. P. Mankin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dreyfus Affair 17 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For 50 years all I knew about " The Dreyfus Affair" was contained in those three words, probably read in a random list of historical events sometime. Thanks to Robert Harris I now know about the heroic efforts of the man who, having become convinced of Dreyfus' innocence, eventually found the way to win him freedom and justice, suffering imprisonment, vilification and false accusations himself in the process. Robert Harris tells the story from Picqhart's viewpoint revealing an incredible personal journey. A great true story wonderfully told. This story may be about a rather obscure event in French history but in many ways Picqhart's invisible battle against a powerful state, whose servants sought to compound lie upon lie rather than admit that an grave injustice had been perpetrated, may find resonances in so many places today where the only difference is that the states are bigger and even more powerful. Dreyfus was falsely accused chiefly because he was a Jew..... Now where have I heard that before.... . .?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction in one of its best editions 21 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback
“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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55 of 62 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A laborious read
Although this tome is well researched, it requires supreme dedication from the reader to make it to the end. Read more
Published 1 day ago by David L
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Say no more.....
Published 1 day ago by skylight
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book well worth reading - gripping from beginning to end.
Published 2 days ago by SR.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Harris historic thriller.
This is pretty good in a typical Robert Harris sort of way and an entertaining reminder of the Dreyfus affair in France. Read more
Published 3 days ago by N. D. White
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but not as good as it could have been
A bit of a disappointment. I like Robert Harris as a writer and a person but this is not interesting enough. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Jezza
5.0 out of 5 stars It was brilliant, amazing
It was brilliant, amazing, thrilling and I couldn't put it down. It scored the highest score in my book group, and we have being going for 11 years.
Published 4 days ago by Beebee
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't ususally like historical novels
I don't ususally like historical novels, but this version of the Dreyfus story was so well researched and told, and so much more readable than the straight history books on the... Read more
Published 5 days ago by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read!
Published 5 days ago by Michael J. Jeffs
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely brilliant, fascinating and enthralling book
An absolutely brilliant, fascinating and enthralling book. I could not put it down! A week after I finished it I read it all over again!
Published 6 days ago by Janet lacey
4.0 out of 5 stars I have not read this yet but expect it to ...
I have not read this yet but expect it to bee as well researched ans exciting as all his other novels.
Published 6 days ago by Mrs Christine Berry
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