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An Officer and a Spy

08 Feb 2015

Historical fiction is a strange genre. The first example of this that I remember reading was The Agony and the Ecstasy. That was a very good book which introduced me to the idea of creatively filling in the gaps between what is known and what is not. An Officer and a Spy is a novel that revolves around the true events during the late 19th century in France known as the Dreyfus affair.

I knew nothing of this scandal before reading the book which I think was good for keeping me engaged and excited to find out what would happen next. That being said, the read was laborious at times with quite a few parts that were just downright boring. Overall it was well constructed around the truth, but was probably about 20% longer than it needed to be.

My main motivation for reading is to discover new things about myself and/or to spur new thoughts and insights. I try to find at least one provocative thought to come out of the books I read. This book made me viscerally angry at times by the way it seemed certain people were getting away with blatant deceit. I was angry with the way a good man was being destroyed for doing the right thing. I have a strong sense of morality and I am pained to see the rewards of immorality even in a book. That sounds a light more high and mighty than the reality of it but it is hard to describe any other way.

I guess the main takeaway I had from this book was that evil can easily win out if good men are not willing to stand up for what they believe is right even in the face of possible vindictive consequences.

This book goes on my okay list. It was not great and I honestly wouldn't give it a strong recommendation unless the subject or genre is particularly appealing to you. I wouldn't call it bad either, I would probably read it again if I had the choice to do it over but it wouldn't be dying to get to it.


Category: book