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"It's fantastical! The most astonishing story there has ever been!"
am 10. Oktober 2013
Is what Robert Harris has Emile Zola saying at a meeting with other influential pro-Dreyfus activists in Paris during the latter part of the affair. And it really is, the complexity and the unbelievable actions of a whole group of high ranking army personnel to forge evidence and manipulate court proceedings in order to trap and convict an innocent army captain are mind boggling. The "spy" happens to be Alfred Dreyfus, a wealthy family father without any motive. It will take years from the first cracks in the presented evidence till people realize that the Army got the wrong man, and is now doing everything to derail any effort to bring out the truth. Robert Harris is narrating the story through Georges Picquart, one of the most important characters not to say the most central protagonist of the whole affair. As the new head of the "Statistical Section" - as the intelligence unit of the French Army is then called - he discovers that there is a second spy working for the Germans. This guy who calls himself Count Esterhazy is a gambler, a sleazy character, always short of money and actually seen entering and leaving the German Embassy. As the story unfolds Picquart becomes more and more convinced that they got the wrong person with Alfred Dreyfus but his superiors don't want to reopen the case and actually do everything to curtail his activities. But he will risk his career, reputation and his life and will not give up to bring out the truth. This is an excellent novel and as Georges Picquart is slowly piecing together the evidence we live through one of the most famous military scandals of all times. An absolute page turner, even more so as most of the events actually happened in France over a hundred years ago. Don't miss this one!