• James King

Great Spy Story - pulls you into the human drama

An Officer and a Spy

by Robert Harris

Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense - Fiction

Winner of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction

1494 Amazon customer reviews. Average rating - 4.5 Stars

Read more about the book and buy it here at Amazon

A whistle-blower. A witch hunt. A cover-up. Secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, and government corruption. Welcome to 1890s Paris.

Alfred Dreyfus has been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment on a far-off island, and publicly stripped of his rank. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, an ambitious military officer who believes in Dreyfus's guilt as staunchly as any member of the public. But when he is promoted to head of the French counter-espionage agency, Picquart finds evidence that a spy still remains at large in the military—indicating that Dreyfus is innocent. 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.


This is the first Robert Harris book I read. I'm not always good with present tense first person novels but this was so well written, I hardly noticed. It is one of the best spy stories, much more than a thriller, and an intriguing detective story. Harris made me feel as if I was in the scenes, living as the protagonist in the tale.

The main characters are real people from a human drama that happened in France late in the 19th and early in the 20th century. I loved the rich text, colorful language and colloquialisms of the period, which carried me back to the era as I read. The author's style is engaging. More importantly, though I am fascinated by stories about miscarriages of justice. So, I found the book a compelling and entertaining lesson in history.

Read more about the book and get it here at Amazon

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