A recent read was An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. This book was bought by my husband as he is a keen reader of Robert Harris. He was not disappointed with this latest book and neither was I.
January 1895. On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, George Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of twenty thousand spectators baying “Death to the Jew!”
The officer is rewarded with promotion: Picquart is made the French army’s youngest colonel and put in command of ‘the Statistical Section’ – the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down Dreyfus.
The spy, meanwhile, is given a punishment of medieval cruelty: shipped off to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil’s Island, Dreyfus is forbidden to speak to anyone, even his guards, and his case seems closed for ever.
But gradually Picquart comes to believe there is something rotten at the heart of the Statistical Section. When he discovers another German spy operating on French soil, his superiors are oddly reluctant to pursue it. Despite official warnings, Picquart persists, and soon the officer and the spy are in the same predicament…..
The Dreyfus Affair is part of history and this novel tells the story in a compelling way. It appears a complete miscarriage of justice took place but the story also enlightens the reader to the machinations of an intelligence agency intent on covering up its crimes.
It is the story of the most famous political scandal in French history and certainly well worth the read. I would highly recommend this one.
You can read a detailed review here. At that webpage you will also find an interview with the author talking about An Officer and a Spy.
I have included this book in my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014 as it is historical fiction as well as crime fiction.
6 Comments Add yours
I’m keeping track of your books for when I run out of stuff I’m reading. I’ve been hooked on Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon spy novels ……….
I haven’t read any of those. I will need to check them out. I love a good spy novel.
I don’t know this story but it sounds like a very interesting tale. I imagine it being completely engrossing, I’ll try to look for it in the library.
I meant to ask, how are your eyes now?
My eyes are much better, thank you Lorna. I have two more days on antibiotics then hopefully all clear.
Very glad to hear it, I hope the antibiotics do the trick once and for all.