An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris


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.

While Claude DeBussy was composing Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, and Emile Zola was writing highly anticipated novels, Georges Picquard began investigating the case of Alfred Dreyfus. Accused of being a traitor against the French, and already half-condemned because of being a Jew, Dreyfus had been sent to Devil’s Island where he was isolated and tortured for allegedly giving secret information to the Germans.


However, the deeper Major Picquard looks into the case, the more he is certain that the wrong man is being punished. When he comes to the generals above him with near irrefutable proof that they have convicted an innocent man, Picquard is the one who finds himself in a similar situation: being hounded and scorned by military powers who will not accept that they were wrong. On pride alone, they refuse to set the innocent free.

I was absolutely riveted to this novel. How it is that I have not read anything written by Robert Harris before I do not know, but he has quickly leapt to a “must read” author for me, one whose books I am eager to go through from the very beginning. He masterfully tells the tale, with details exquisitely recorded, in such a way that before I know it I have read fifty pages.

I highly recommend this book based on the true story of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris during the 1890’s.

5 thoughts on “An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris”

    1. As I replied on your post, Lizzy, this novel makes me wish that Gillian Flynn had taken some lessons from Robert Harris. What a writer he is! Any other thriller, or mystery, I’ve read this year pales in comparison.


  1. The only Robert Harris I’ve read is The Fear Index which I tried a few years ago, and while I liked it, I wasn’t blown away. The background to An Officer and a Spy looks more interesting though. Perhaps I should give him another go sometime!


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