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Extended Audio Sample An Officer and a Spy: A novel, by Robert Harris Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Harris Narrator: David Rintoul Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Paris, 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that “proved” Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus’ guilt. 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.

Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness––a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower—richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally bestselling novels.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Harris has, with this novel, taken [Le Carré’s] place as the master of making documents and scraps of paper, the details of painstaking intelligence work, into drama.  The Daily Beast
  • [Harris] outdoes himself. The period details are pitch-perfect . . . and the action pulses with intensity. The Miami Herald
  • A gripping tale. The New York Times
  • Mesmerizing. . . . The Dreyfus affair remains astonishing, and this exceptional piece of popular fiction does it justice. The Washington Post
  • A thrilling page-turner. . . . Thick with espionage, daring and cruel turns of fate. New York Daily News
  • A crisp, fast-paced drama. . . . From one of the great scandals of the late 19th century, Harris has written a novel which is true to the facts, scrupulously so, but reads like a combination of Le Carré at his best and Conan Doyle writing about Sherlock Holmes. The Daily Beast
  • Robert Harris’s novel speaks to our times in its examination of the potential dangers of military intelligence. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Espionage, counterespionage, a scandalous trial, a cover-up, and a man who tries to do right make this a complex and alluring thriller. Kirkus Reviews
  • A compelling narrative of state corruption. . . . While finely attuned to modern resonances of surveillance, cultural identity and patriotic loyalty, Harris stays true to the atmosphere and morals of the period. The Guardian (UK)
  • A master storyteller at the top of his game. . . . The echoes of our own time are deafening. But Harris is far too smart to labor the point. He just drives his story forward, marshalling his cast of fools and knaves, soldiers and spies, dodgy handwriting experts and discreet mistresses, to superlative effect. Mail on Sunday (UK)
  • Claustrophobically gripping. . . . Written in elegant prose reminiscent of the 19th-century historical novel, but its form is a hybrid of the contemporary thriller, the spy novella and the courtroom drama. It is persuasive and engaging on all of these levels, while providing a unique and fresh reading of the Dreyfus affair. The Irish Times
  • Instantly absorbing. . . . Great for fans of Ken Follett, John le Carré, Louis Bayard, Caleb Carr, and Martin Cruz Smith. Booklist (starred review)
  • Easily the best fictional treatment of the Dreyfus Affair. . . . Harris perfectly captures the rampant anti-Semitism that led to Dreyfus’s scapegoating. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Robert Harris, in his fine novel, An Officer and a Spy, lucidly retells the famous, bizarrely complicated and chilling story.”

    New York Times Book Review


  • Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 
  • British National Book Awards—Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • Outstanding . . . Finds its chilling thrills in the unlikeliest of places. USA Today
  • [A] superb historical thriller. . . . Thick with scenes of code-breaking, covert surveillance, hairsbreadth escapes and violent death. The Wall Street Journal
  • “Many readers prize him as our supreme exponent of the ‘literary’ thriller. His novels are…whizzing page-turners…masterly suspense and mystery with historical insight and political shrewdness. His latest novel is no exception: it is a cracking read from start to finish…There is no need to wait for the film: it can scarcely be more exciting than the book.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Harris is committed to the belief that you can get at a truth as a novelist that you can’t as an historian…and he does give us the look, sensations, sounds and smells as no historian could…It is informative, accomplished, and highly enjoyable.”

    Evening Standard (London)

  • “The Dreyfus Affair…has now been brilliantly retold by Robert Harris…This is a book about spies and their deceits and the unreasonable demands that are made of them by their hard-to-please political governors. It is 1895 with a strong undercurrent of 2003…The real subject then is espionage and the broader, mutually manipulative relationship between the intelligence ‘community’ and the political class…Along the way, Harris gives us plenty of espionage tradecraft. The eavesdropping, the handwriting analysis, the forgery.”

    Times (London)

  • “The best fictional treatment of the Dreyfus Affair yet…[A] gripping thriller…Harris perfectly captures the rampant anti-Semitism that led to Dreyfus’s scapegoating, and effectively uses the present tense to lend intimacy to the narrative.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This is an atmospheric and tense historical thriller, with a flawed but honorable protagonist fighting against entrenched complacence and bigotry.”

    Library Journal

  • “Espionage, counterespionage, a scandalous trial, a cover-up, and a man who tries to do right make this a complex and alluring thriller.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, January 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • A Chicago Tribune Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2014 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller
  • A Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2014
  • Winner of the 2014 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
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