Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review - "An Officer and a Spy" by Robert Harris

This is one of the best novels I've read this year. Towards the end, I literally had to force myself to slow down so that I could savor the suspense in small doses!

I'm not going to write a long review for this tantalizing historical thriller. Suffice it to say that the novel is based on an ignominious military cover-up and miscarriage of justice in late 19th century France that brought the country to the edge of great internal conflict, almost crashing its judicial system in the process. For his determination to fight the dark forces, Army officer Georges Picquart lost his reputation, his career, his colleagues and his peace of mind, but luckily never his spirit. Venerable French novelist Emile Zola was charged with libel (and might have been murdered) for standing on the side of Picquart and justice.

What makes Picquart's and Zola's feat of taking on the nation's Army a mission impossible can be found in this speech by the French President:

"The army is the nation's heart and soul, the mirror in which France perceives the most ideal image of her self-denial and patriotism; the army holds the first place in the thoughts of the government and in the pride of the country."

It is stated in the Author's Note: "None of the characters in the pages that follow, not even the most minor, is wholly fictional, and almost all of what occurs, at least in some form, actually happened in real life."

Need I say more to persuade you to read the novel, if you haven’t already read it?

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