An Officer and a Spy - Summary Guide - Book Club Discussion QuestionsIn each book, Harris has found a way of marrying history with intelligent fiction to produce thrillers that are both insightful and gripping. There are skilfully composed characters, from successive ministers of war and the chief of the intelligence department to Major Henry, the second in command of the shadowy statistical section. The narrator is Colonel Picquart, who is promoted to run the statistical department, thus becoming the youngest colonel in the French army. However, one by one, his colleagues try to block his inquiries, arguing that loyalty to the army is the supreme good in their lives. As one of them puts it: Now do not be such an arrogant young fool and listen to me. General Boisdeffre is about to welcome the tsar to Paris in a diplomatic coup that will change the world.
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Book Club Questions for An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris
Charles Dreyfus, a promising young Jewish captain, was falsely imprisoned for spying for the Germans. Harris tells the tale of the fight to clear the name of Dreyfus…. Get The International Pack for free for your first 30 days for unlimited Smartphone and Tablet access. Already a member? Log in. Already a subscriber or registered access user? Subscription Notification.
ISBN Summary Robert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage. Paris in But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. 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.
Describe the Paris of the late 19th century, with its demimonde decadence, pugnacious press, and political enmities. How well does Harris do in bring the ambience of the city to life? Are there any parallels to our current time? What is the effect of France's loss of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans? How does that set the stage for the events that occur in the novel?