This book has all the ingredients of a top notch spy thriller - intelligence services, secret agents, betrayals, intrigue, life and death, cover-ups, sex (a little, anyway), murder, suspense - except it's all true. And according to the author, all the characters, even the minor ones, are real. The most interesting aspect is that, although it reads like a modern adventure, it actually takes place in 1890's France.
The story is told in first person, present tense. This infrequently used technique adds to the immediacy (or "presence") of the book. By doing this, the author causes you to feel as if you are in the scene, and you in effect live the book as the main character lives the tale. Further, the text is filled with rich, colorful language which is a pleasure to read. It is full of period and colloquial words and constructions, transporting your mind into the era while you read.
It is about a man named Alfred Dreyfus, a French army major accused of treason, and is told by another French officer, Marie-Georges Picquart, who jeopardizes his career to get to the bottom of the story. There are innumerable plot twists and changes in direction, events unfold in unexpected ways, and the outcome is most certainly not what you think. The main characters are exceedingly well developed, causing you to know them and feel their triumphs and especially their tribulations. By the time you reach the end of the book (which spans most of the final decade of the nineteenth century) you have come to intimately know some new people, you are appalled at the corruption and subterfuge that exists at the highest levels of government, you are thrilled by the accomplishments and successes of the heroes, and you are disappointed by unfortunate realities that can't be written away in a fiction-based novel.
This book is a pleasure to read. I read a few books by this author a few years ago, then rediscovered him with this one. He is very good at what he does. Read it, and take your time to enjoy it.