- Title: An Officer and a Spy
- Author: Robert Harris
- ISBN: 9780099580898
- Page: 173
- Format: Paperback
National Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year 2013They lied to protect their country He told the truth to save it A gripping historical thriller from the bestselling author of FATHERLAND.January 1895 On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in fronNational Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year 2013They lied to protect their country He told the truth to save it A gripping historical thriller from the bestselling author of FATHERLAND.January 1895 On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges 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 Dreyfus is shipped off to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil s Island unable to speak to anyone, not even his guards, his case seems closed forever.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 Narrated by Picquart, An Officer and a Spy is a compelling recreation of a scandal that became the most famous miscarriage of justice in history Compelling, too, are the echoes for our modern world an intelligence agency gone rogue, justice corrupted in the name of national security, a newspaper witch hunt of a persecuted minority, and the age old instinct of those in power to cover up their crimes.
Recent Comments "An Officer and a Spy"
”There is no such thing as a secret--not really, not in the modern world, not with photography and telegraphy and railways and newspaper presses. The old days of an inner circle of like-minded souls communicating with parchment and quill pens are gone. Sooner or later most things will be revealed.”Captain Alfred Dreyfus’s mugshotGeorges Picquart was as convinced of Captain Alfred Dreyfus’s guilt as anyone else in 1894. In fact for the invaluable service he provided during the affair he b [...]
4.5 stars"There are occasions when losing is a victory, so long as there is a fight."This is an excellent work of historical fiction based on a real-life man of honor and duty, French Army officer Georges Picquart, and his determination to uncover the truth surrounding the arrest and conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in what is considered to be one of the greatest judicial debacles in history. While France was still stunned by the victory of the Germans in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, hos [...]
Who should read this book?- All who love spy novels- All who love mysteries and thrillers- All who are interested in the Dreyfus affair- All who are interested in issues concerning anti-Semitism- All who enjoy GOODhistorical fiction- All who would enjoy a book set in Paris in the 1890s- All interested in Émile Zola or his essay J'accuse !- All who want books that deliver historical facts in an engaging manner- All who need a book that focuses on people that are willing to place themselves in da [...]
Like many people, I am aware of the Dreyfus affair that took place in France in the late 19th century, but my knowledge was mostly peripheral. I knew that Alfred Dreyfus was a French soldier who was accused of spying on France for the Germans. I was born and raised Jewish, so it was also part of my heritage to recognize the persecuted Jews of the past. Harris’s novel awakened my understanding of the political and social climate of that period in history, and informed me of how this colossal mi [...]
In 1898 the French newspaper L’Aurore printed an open letter from writer Emile Zola. Under the banner headline ’J’accuse…!’, Zola accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus. The letter caused a huge a uproar, as Zola pointed out the serious errors in the case against Dreyfus – who had been packed off to the notorious Devil’s Island in French Guyana - and a lack of serious evidence to back up the charges.The Dreyfus Affair, [...]
I heard the whip crack twice. The driver shouted a command. The wagon accelerated free of the mob, turned left, and disappeared.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. It was as if a healthy body had purged itself of so [...]
Robert Harris has done it again. He has written a historical novel that dragged me in so deep that it made me feel uncomfortable as if I was the protagonist. Nail-biting stuff. This time the book is about the Dreyfus affair, a real historic event that took place in between 1894 and 1906.The story is told by Colonel Georges Picquart, who becomes head of counter-espionage and finds out that there is something really fishy about the whole affair.This affair had the whole country (France) devided at [...]
"‘People say to one another, “There has to be more to it than meets the eye,” when the truth is there is less. And the longer this scandal goes on, the more colossal and absurd becomes the discrepancy in size between the original crime and the monumental efforts to cover up the judicial error.’" And so a travesty of justice and a monumental effort to cover-up the facts, together with a mob mentality resulted in an enormous scandal in late nineteenth century France in what became known as [...]
A Literary Lawyer winner of a2015 Gavel Awardfor*Best Historical FictionMy #4 Best Read for 2014 An Intriguing Look into Historical Scandal 5 StarsRobert Harris has written an intriguing thriller chronicling what is know as the Dreyfus affair. I don't blame you if you know nothing of this event as it was unknown to me when I open the novel. Fans of political thriller, historical fiction and history should find this to be a perfect mesh of genres. While I remain unable to separate the fact from t [...]
Classic Robert Harris - brilliant historical fiction based on the infamous 'Dreyfus affair'. This is Harris at his finest, a gripping fictionalised account of a fascinating true story. Harris brings history to life like no other. Accessible yet intelligent, popular not patronising. Compelling, evocative and thought provoking.
I've only read two other Robert Harris novels: Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome, which I liked a lot and Enigma which I didn't like very much at all. So I didn't start this novel with any degree of confidence that it would appeal to me. Like many others, I was familiar with only the bare bones of the Dreyfus Affair: (a) Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French army officer, was convicted of selling information to the Germans. (b) He was imprisoned on the notorious Devil's Island, but was ultimately exho [...]
This book happens to be about a subject I was already interested in. This is a fictionalized account of what is generally called the Dreyfus affair. Beginning in 1894 and continuing through 1906 Alfred Dreyfus was falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned on Devil's Island. (Devil's Island was closed so Dreyfus was held alone.) Through the efforts of a relentless investigator and with the help of writer Émile Zola the truth finally came out. The book is told from the view point of Georges Picquar [...]
At the end of the 19th century France was consumed by an incident called The Dreyfus Affair where a man called Alfred Dreyfus was caught allegedly giving French military secrets to Germany. Robert Harris’ An Officer and a Spy, which is set directly in the aftermath of Dreyfus’ conviction, revisits the affair from the perspective of Georges Picquart, the newly appointed spymaster of French Intelligence, who discovers not only that Dreyfus was innocent but that there was a massive conspiracy b [...]
An outstanding historical novel, recreating the Dreyfus affair in a way that raised my fury at disgusting official misconduct and coverup and at blatant antisemitism. Dreyfus himself is portrayed as a very flat and generally unlikable person, who was unlucky to be charged in the first place and then extremely fortunate that men like Picquart, Zola and Clemenceau cared about justice and the real honor of France.
SWEDISH REVIEWEn Officer och en Spion är en bok till början inte utmärkte sig så mycket när jag började läsa den. Tvärtom så fann jag den en aning dryg att läsa, inte direkt långtråkig, men inte heller jättespännande. Det kändes som om det tog en väldig lång tid för något att hända. Men i grund och botten så är det egentligen nödvändigt när man ser till sista delen av boken när allting till slut brakar samman och Picquarts utredning äntligen ger utdelning.Boken är tro [...]
This is the best book I’ve read in the past year by a long head. It’s very rare for me to say “I couldn’t put this down” though, in this case, I literally finished it in two long sittings.Opening: ‘Major Picquart to see the Minister of War’ The sentry on the rue Saint-Dominique steps out of his box to open the gate and I run through a whirl of snow across the windy courtyard into the warm lobby of the hôtel de Brienne, where a sleek young captain of the Republican Guards rises to [...]
Truth is stranger than fiction. That’s the lesson to take from Robert Harris’ masterful An Officer and a Spy. It is a skillfully-crafted novelization of the Dreyfus Affair, which paralyzed France for about ten years at the turn of the twentieth century. Harris relied on the facts of the case to build his novel of espionage, deceit, bigotry and state-sanctioned misdeeds. He wrote in an author’s note: “None of the characters…not even the most minor, is wholly fictional.” He dexterously [...]
I wonder if there is anything more frightening than the misuse of great power against someone who is helpless to defend himself. If you have even been close to such a circumstance, it is harrowing. To have it done to you on such a great scale as experienced by Alfred Dreyfus is almost unthinkable. Add in a generous sprinkling of antisemitism, and you have more than the persecution of an individual, you have the precursor of things to come. For that reason, The Dreyfus Affair, as this episode of [...]
Mr. Harris has written a masterful tale of the case that shook the foundations of late 19th century French Society – the Dreyfus affair. Surprisingly Dreyfus himself, in spite of being always in the background is a rather minor character in this novel. Mr. Harris has chosen to tell his story through the eyes of the man who uncovered the plot to have Capt Dreyfus scapegoated in a spy scandal involving France’s mortal enemy - Germany, LTC Georges Picquart.The novel opens with the Picquart watc [...]
A very enjoyable, keenly researched and fast paced historical account of the Dreyfus affair that shook France and transfixed Europe in the final years of the 19th Century. Mr Harris transports the reader to 1894 and the trial of Alfred Dreyfus who is accused if passing secrets to the Germans. From there the story develops around Georges Picquart, a career soldier on a fast track to high command, as he takes up his position to run the intelligence unit that was responsible for unmasking Dreyfus a [...]
George Picquart is elevated to command France's counterespionage and it seems like a rise in his career until he learns he is partly there to make sure Alfred Dreyfus was guilty of selling secrets to the enemy.Certainly Dreyfus seems like a likely candidate as he seems to have more money than he should have and also that he was from the contested lands of France and Germany and was raised there during German control but as Picquart digs into things he discovers Dreyfus may not be guilty and furt [...]
There have been many recommendations given to me to read this gripping and tautly written historical thriller to date. It has all of the markers that I look for in this genre. There is an intriguing and convoluted plot. Engaging and well developed characters that a reader can empathize with and a wonderful sense of time and place.Many thanks to my fellow thriller lovers who have urged me to read this novel, very glad that I followed their recommendation.
This is one of the best novels I've read this year. Towards the end, I literally had to force myself to slow down so that I could savor the suspense in small doses!I'm not going to write a long review for this tantalizing historical thriller. Suffice it to say that the novel is based on an ignominious military cover-up and miscarriage of justice in late 19th century France that brought the country to the edge of great internal conflict, almost crashing its judicial system in the process. For his [...]
Harris's masterful reimaginging of the notorious Dreyfus Affair, one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice ever. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French Army, is accused and found guilty of treason. He is sentenced to Devil's Island. Major Georges Picquart is a witness at Dreyfus's dishonorable discharge and drumming out of the Army. Soon however, he begins to have his doubts about Dreyfus's guilt when he is promoted to Colonel and becomes Chief of the Statistical Section of the A [...]
This book recounts the events of the Dreyfus affair; the trial of a French military officer, from a rich Jewish family, accused and convicted of passing intelligence information to the German embassy. Despite the trial evidence being shaky and circumstantial at best, Dreyfus was found guilty and speedily sent into exile to the penal colony of Cayenne (on Devil’s island). Later, the real informer was identified but the French authorities attempted to cover up the new evidence and persisted in t [...]
An Officer and a Spy is a nail-biting espionage/legal thriller set in France at the turn of the 19th Century, and is slightly outside my comfort zone. I love Historical Fiction, but thrillers are uncomfortable. They make me tense. I spend a lot of effort trying not to be anxious in real life, so to chase that feeling purposely is maybe a bit silly. I have to knock off a star because "enjoyment" isn't a word I can use in relation to such emotions. That said, this is a fantastically written story [...]
Outstanding historical fiction, portrays the underlying antisemitism and resulting indifference to mistreatment of Jews that pervaded French society and deflected a proper investigation. The same factors were prevalent throughout much of Europe and surely contributed to Hitler's ability to conduct the Holocaust. The underlying causes of those anti-Jewish attitudes are an important part of my new novel-in-progress.
History lives!I first became aware of the Dreyfus affair by reading a bit of biography of Emile Zola. I freely admit not paying very close attention, only that he was actively involved in some way in opposition to the Government. As I understood it at the time, in doing so, he risked his professional reputation. I remembered the title J'accuse!, but never looked any further.Zola is not the main character in this, but his part is given the importance it deserves. As much Zola as I've read, I want [...]
Absolutely brilliant!I need to think about a proper review for a day or two, but let me tell you- IMHO, Mr Harris has become THE best history-fiction writer of our time!And from all the googling I've done while reading this amazing book, it is his less fictional work yet!Absolutely, 100%, recommending this captivating page turner to EVERYONE!
I loved this audiobook. One of the best historical fiction spy thrillers I've read in a long time.Highly recommend.5 out of 5 stars.
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