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An Officer and a Spy Paperback – 8 May 2014
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"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)
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
I loved the style of writing in An Officer and a Spy. It was descriptive, but only as far as was necessary to set the scene and flesh out the characters. I knew little about the Drefus scandal before starting, and deliberately waited until I had finished the book before researching it further. I now feel pretty well-versed in a key part of French modern history.
Whilst the author, quite rightly, gave a good account of all the terrible illegal actions of the military in trying to cover-up their incompetence, there was nevertheless an underlying lurking sense of understanding as lie upon lie of French officers was revealed in a mad effort to finally sweep the last piece of dirt under the carpet. Of course, this couldn't happen - although the extent to which they nearly pulled it off was truly shocking.
My only reason for dropping one star from my rating was a slight disappointment that almost the entire book dwelt on the failure to find justice. The final victory and restoration of the wronged characters was almost glossed over in the closing chapter, despite the fact that in the end - and after a disgraceful passage of time - the innocent players were properly recognised, exonerated and rewarded. I would have loved to feel a greater sense of justice and victory as I closed the book.
Having said that - it was superb and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good writing, history and a fascinating story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The true story of Alfred Dreyfus has been masterfully dramatised by Robert Harris. Many people have heard of Emile Zola's
dramatic "J'accuse", but how many know the... Read more
A must read, the amazing thing is that. The characters are mostly true as is what actually happened. Read itPublished 17 days ago by Jon
Really well written and gave fascinating insight into the era. Loved it.Published 27 days ago by Kim
I first discovered Robert Harris when I came across Pompeii in a second hand book shop. Like then this book captivated me from start to finish. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Superbly written and researched as usual. A page turner.Published 1 month ago by Mr Daniel A R Lavergne
An excellent summer read, but ultimately disappointing, if you're looking for something that transports you to pre-war France, on the brink of collapse ...Published 1 month ago by Carl Rayer