From the bestselling author of Fatherland, a gripping historical thriller in which the hunter becomes the hunted.
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.
About the Author
Robert Harris is the author of nine bestselling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost, Lustrum, The Fear Index and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been filmed, including The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, West Berkshire, with his wife Gill Hornby.
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Comments about An Officer and a Spy:
Although this book is based on the Dreyfus case that has had so many good historical accounts, the skills of Robert Harris make the events suspenseful and the characters intriguing. This makes for the edge of your seat reading for me even though I had read two previous histories of the case. The focus on the whistleblower is extremely relevant for our times when similar fears of security breaches still lead to injustice and governments that lie to their people.
Comments about An Officer and a Spy:
I am a fan of Richard Harris and this is one of his best. The story of the appalling treatment of army officer Dreyfus at the end of the 19th century in France is well known to many. This book is a fictionalised version of Drefus' ordeal based strongly on the now known facts. Very readable and suspenceful.
"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
Published: 2nd June 2014
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 4.0
Weight (kg): 0.44