Archive for June 17, 2014

51DiUU6W8XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_Robert Harris has won the 5th Annual Sir Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction with his account of  that great miscarriage of justice the Dreyfus Case; An Officer and A Spy.J_accuse

I reviewed this brilliant book last year here and named it among my best reads of 2013. 

I cannot understand why it was not shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Crime Fiction Award, but I hope winning the Walter Scott Prize will bring it to an even wider readership. 

You could say that the divisions in French society exacerbated by the Dreyfus Affair would re-emerge and contribute to the collapse of the Third Republic in 1940 and the German Occupation.  

How ironic that the country of  Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité became the country that incarcerated the innocent Jew Alfred Dreyfus on Devil’s Island, and the country of the murderous collaborationist Vichy Regime.  An Officer And A Spy should perhaps become compulsory reading in our schools and universities by academics as well as students, because some people never learn the lessons of history.

When entries that did not make the shortlist come from writers such as Laura Wilson, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert Harris [the superb An Officer And A Spy], Robert Goddard, Michael Ridpath, Patrick Easter and John Lawton, I wonder if my status as an amateur historian and apprentice reviewer is under threat. 

[from my post about the Endeavour Historical Crime Fiction Prize]