Monday, 28 July 2014

I'd been thinking that Robert Harris had rather gone off the boil. After gripping historical thrillers like Enigma and Fatherland, my interest waned after Pompeii and Imperium and I gave up on him after The Ghost which was nothing more than a mildly-enjoyable beach read.
But here he is back on top form, retelling the story of the Dreyfus scandal ... political machinations, establishment lies and a very dodgy dossier.
I thought I knew the story - but the fascination is in the paper trail, the sexed-up documents and wilful cover-up that made this one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in modern history.
None of the characters, not even the most minor, is wholly fictional - promises Harris - and almost all of what occurs, at least in some form, actually happened in real life.
He brings history jumping off the page - political corruption and the stench of corruption rising out of the Paris sewers like a putrid gas.
It's 10pm ... I really do need to put it down and make some dinner!


Mystica said...

I thought you were going to say 10 pm and go to bed! this book sounds intriguing.

mary said...

Dinner was only a sandwich, Mystica - had to keep reading!

Susan D said...

Agree about Harris's plummeting quality. All the while that I was reading Ghost, which had an intriguing premise, I had to keep checking to see if this was the same Robert Harris who'd written Enigma.

So I'll happily give this one a try.

mary said...

I agree, you wouldn't think it was the same writer, Susan. And Enigma is still the best. But I think he's gone back to something he does well - talking a complex historical story and bringing it to life.

JudyMac said...

Read An Officer and a Spy a few weeks ago ...... I would definitely give it a 10. A bit of change in my reading pattern, but an excellent page-turner, learned a lot about the infamous Dreyfus Affair. Certainly a low point in the annals of French history. Many characters to keep up with, but a nice list is provided up front. Highly recommend!1511

mary said...

So frustrating, I've had to put it down to get some work done, Judy! Just as Picquart first meets the Dreyfusards and things are hotting up!
And yes, you need your brain switched on to keep up with all those generals.