An Officer and a Spy

An Officer and a Spy

In a vividly-written secret memoir kept under lock and key for more than 100 years, Picquart brings to life the Paris of the 1890s and tells the true story of a scandal that mesmerised the world. On a freezing January morning, the Jewish army officer, Alfred Dreyfus, is stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000, and deported for life to Devil’s Island. Among those watching his humiliation is a high-flying intelligence officer, the clever and resourceful Georges Picquart, whose dangerous love affairs leave him wide open to blackmail.

This book is intoxicating. Mr Harris transports the reader, seemingly effortlessly, into the world of France in the 1890’s. The recount doesn’t only describe the military at the time and the various characters that Picquart worked with, but also his private life and times. We are privy to his lonely bachelor lifestyle, the various soirees he was invited to attend and his relationship with his mistress. In this way we get a sense of the man as a person, as well as a man immersed in his military life.

The reader is so drawn into the book that one cannot help but want to return to that world time and again, above everything else, until the recount is finished. Without doubt this book is a tour de force of the genre.

By Wendy Cartmell

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