An Officer and a Spy

An Officer and a Spy

by Robert Harris

Ricki Brodie (02/28/14): Growing up I had heard of the Dreyfus Affair, may have seen the movie when I was a child, but never really knew much about it. Wow, Robert Harris has taken a slice of history and morphed it into a novel to make it as though you are Paris in the late 1800’s experiencing what happened to a rich Jew wrongly accused of treason.

Alfred Dreyfus, a young standoffish officer, was convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island (opened solely to house him) before a mob seeking his death. Georges Picquart, a major in the military had been Dreyfus’s teacher and did not like him. Picquart was asked to serve as the eyes of the Minister of War during the court martial and the passing of sentence while hearing Dreyfus continuously maintain his innocence. He had no reason to doubt the guilt of Dreyfus. Picquart was then promoted to lead the intelligence agency that found evidence that Dreyfus had turned over military secrets to the Germans. While in his new position, he finds that there may be another spy in the army. As he puts a plan in place, he is stymied by his superiors who want him to leave the case alone. Picquart has his honor and integrity and needs to find the truth.

The book, as a novel, not non-fiction, takes you into the minds of the investigators, architects, the power brokers and the believers in justice. It makes you see how vulnerable we are and how there are those who will stand up and fight for justice no matter what they feel.
Rating: *****

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