Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Things are amiss in the Army department in France in the 1890s

This is an excellent retelling of the Alfred Dreyfus affair that was the subject on most Frenchman's minds in the mid 1890s.

As tensions worsen between France and Germany, a source reveals that there is a French spy in the Army providing military information to Germany. The French spy is said to be a high ranking officer.

Maj. Alfred Dreyfus is accused and found guilty based on falsified evidence. One highly ranked officer was prominent in convincing others that Dreyfus was the guilty officer. The fact that Dreyfus was Jewish made it easier for the other officers to believe since anti-semitic feelings were strongly felt at the time.

Col. George Picquart tells the story from his point of view. He begins to doubt that evidence and when he learns the ID of the true spy, the Army Department would rather keep an innocent man in jail than admit that it made a mistake in the trial of Dreyfus.

The suspense is strongly felt as Picquart puts his own career on the line to convince others of Dreyfus's innocence and who the guilty officer really is. Picquart is sent to Tunis on a mission where his murder is planned.

The story continues and Dreyfus's many supporters rise to his defense led by Emile Zola who published an article J'Accuse where he points the finger at the real criminals in the matter.

Well done with characters out of history that tell their story with realism and literary precision.


skkorman said...

Thanks for the review, Mike—I love Harris's work!

Stay well,
Sheila K.

Kelly said...

I love his novels based in Ancient Rome (Pompeii and the Cicero trilogy, for which I'm still waiting on him to conclude!), but haven't tried anything else of his. You make this sound very appealing!

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