An Officer and a Spy

  • by Robert Harris
  • Narrated by David Rintoul
  • 16 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

They lied to protect their country. He told the truth to save it. A gripping historical thriller from the best-selling author of Fatherland.
January 1895: On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of 20,000 spectators baying ‘Death to the Jew!’ The officer is rewarded with promotion: Picquart is made the French army’s youngest colonel and put in command of ‘the Statistical Section’ - the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down Dreyfus.

The spy, meanwhile, is given a punishment of medieval cruelty: Dreyfus is shipped off to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil’s Island - unable to speak to anyone, not even his guards, his case seems closed forever. But gradually Picquart comes to believe there is something rotten at the heart of the Statistical Section. When he discovers another German spy operating on French soil, his superiors are oddly reluctant to pursue it. Despite official warnings, Picquart persists, and soon the officer and the spy are in the same predicament....
Narrated by Picquart, An Officer and a Spy is a compelling recreation of a scandal that became the most famous miscarriage of justice in history. Compelling, too, are the echoes for our modern world: an intelligence agency gone rogue, justice corrupted in the name of national security, a newspaper witch hunt of a persecuted minority, and the age-old instinct of those in power to cover-up their crimes.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Robert Harris really knows how to create tension in a historical novel, where at least in general, we must know what the ending is. This is a beautifully crafted and fast-paced novel, which brings to light one of the great scandals of the19th century and exposes the French officer class as corrupt, paranoid and deeply anti-Semitic. If I could criticise at all, the courtroom scenes do drag on a bit, but for those familiar with Imperium and Lustrum, the wealth of detail revealed will compensate. Also the reader is excellent, perfect pace and very believable accents, including the very difficult (for a man) women's voices.
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- Julian

Enthralling story with superb narration

This book takes you immediately into scenes from history text books but in such a way that it becomes immediately engrossing and relevant for today. The subtle details which pave the way for the central character's change of heart are fascinatingly drawn for us. I also very much enjoyed the insight into the life of an early spy.
Although, I remembered vaguely what the Dreyfus Affair was about, I had to restrain myself from looking up the details to find out what became of them all! This ought to be compulsory listening for anyone studying the literature or history of that period as it brings it all to life in such a meaningful way.
The narration of this compelling story was excellent, with superb vocal characterisation.
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- Valerie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-09-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks