An Officer and A Spy

An Officer and A Spy

eBook - 2014
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Random House, Inc.
Robert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage.

Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that “proved” Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus’s guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.

Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness––a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower--richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally best-selling novels.

Baker & Taylor
A tale inspired by the infamous Dreyfus Affair finds Georges Picquart, the recently promoted head of Paris' late-nineteenth-century counterespionage agency, leading the effort to convict Dreyfus only to succumb to gradual doubts that a high-level spy remains at large in the military.

Baker
& Taylor

A tale inspired by the infamous Dreyfus Affair finds recently promoted head of Paris's late-19th-century counterespionage agency Georges Picquart leading the effort to convict Dreyfus only to succumb to gradual doubts that a high-level spy remains at large in the military. By the best-selling author of The Fear Index.
"Robert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage. Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that "proved" Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus's guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself. Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness--a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower--richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally best-selling novels"--

Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2014
ISBN: 9780385349581
Branch Call Number: Fiction Harris
Characteristics: xi, 429 pages ; 25 cm

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PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 03, 2018

This was my first novel finished in 2018 and the rest of the books of 2018 will have a lot to live up to. I was absolutely enthralled with the characters and the fact that most of this is completely true is mind-boggling. I kept going to encyclopedias and other records when it seemed to be too cl... Read More »

Recommended by Christine.


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PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 03, 2018

This was my first novel finished in 2018 and the rest of the books of 2018 will have a lot to live up to. I was absolutely enthralled with the characters and the fact that most of this is completely true is mind-boggling. I kept going to encyclopedias and other records when it seemed to be too cloak and dagger, only to find that Harris stuck quite closely to the facts. Tragic and captivating, I highly recommend this no matter your genre preference!

e
edlyn700
Jul 25, 2017

I was expecting this to be rather dry but Robert Harris managed to make it very interesting. I highly recommend this.

t
tjdickey
Feb 16, 2017

Good and classy historical fiction, with strong elements of espionage and courtroom drama. Harris has a knack for getting inside the heart of human emotions - and all-too-human prejudices.

b
becker
Aug 09, 2016

Spies, treason, political corruption, conspiracy and 19th century courtroom drama all based around the infamous true life Dreyfus Affair in France in 1895. This is an interesting piece of history transformed into a very well told work of fiction.

e
eappelbaum
Jul 25, 2016

A touching an exciting book. The most important thing I realized is that to the bigots, truth means nothing.

z
zipread
Jun 15, 2016

An Officer and a Spy --- by --- Robert Harris.
Slow to start but becoming more and more involving until it finally gets you to indignation and red anger, this historical novel is about the Dreyfus case, a story and a scandal that shook and tore France at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a tale of anti-Semitism, deceit, cover-up and incompetence on a massive scale that almost anticipates what would be raised to a high art form in the Soviet Union, communist China, and the Third Reich. It is the story of one man who attempts to set all this malfeasance to right but who is outfoxed and out schemed at every turn. “Officer” fleshes out what, to me at least, has simply been a dry footnote to French history.

h
hrhhall
May 22, 2016

It starts slow, almost chucked it during the first disk as a fin de ciecle fluff piece, but unfolds like a John Le Carre novel, only it is true. An amazing piece of history well told. God forbid the establishment ever have to admit it's follies.

h
htliang
Jun 15, 2015

I don't usually read spy novels but my husband recommended this, so I thought I'd give it a try. I enjoyed Robert Harris's Fatherland, Pompeii, Enigma, The Fear Index, and Archangel. Robert Harris did another great job in bringing this story to life; it helped that it was based on facts because it made me feel for the characters more than if they were fictional. Fortunately, I didn't know the ending so I was reading late into the night to find out what happened. One downside was that I got a bit tired of hearing the same facts reiterated over and over. This caused me to do a bit of skimming near the end. But overall, I highly recommend this novel

r
redworc
Mar 17, 2015

An interesting piece of history in France. Dragged a bit in places and I skipped some pages but I held on to the end.

b
brooksvan
Feb 25, 2015

This is an impressive book, in fact something of a minor epic in the way it encompasses the universal themes of monstrous injustice and redemption. The Alfred Dreyus story is familiar: how the French officer was in the late 1800s falsely accused of being a German spy (hence the title), stripped of his rank and exiled to the ghastly penal colony of Devil's Island. Throughout his incredible ordeal and suffering, Dreyfus never ceased being a loyal member of the officer core. Indeed, the Dreyfus of Robert Harris is not a particularly likeable person (except the sympathy you feel for his tribulation). The real hero is George Picquart, initially a contented colonel who finds it difficult to move against his superiors even when he finally uncovers the immense scope and inhuman, cynical nature of the conspiracy. He himself is persecuted for his persistent efforts to right the wrongs perpetuated against Dreyfus and indeed suffers almost to the extent Dreyfus does in exile. (The French Army, press and legal system do not come out well in this tale.) "An Officer and a Spy" is exceedingly well writen: long, yet suspenful, even riveting, and packed with enthralling period detail. Harris, while a best-seller, may be a bit underrated -- this work (as well as the earlier "Ghost') surely moves him into the front ranks of contemporary writers.

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