A gripping book by master storyteller Paul Coelho. As someone with an avid interest in the First World War, I couldn’t wait to read this and it didn’t disappoint.
Mata Hari, born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in the Netherlands, was executed for espionage in 1917, a sentence conveyed upon her by French military court during the First World War, after she was found guilty of spying for Germany. The name Mata Hari became synonymous with female espionage and she was usually portrayed as a tragic Femme Fatale character. Many tales and myths about her have emerged since that time
Paul Coelho in his own unique style, using primary and secondary documented sources including her own letters and first hand accounts, has produced a very worthy chronicle of events about one of the most enigmatic and mysterious women of the 20th Century and in doing so has debunked quite a few myths surrounding her story.
I’m not going to retell her story in this review.
The book details the background story and events leading to the sad premature death of this lady whose actions were probably seriously misjudged at the time. We can only guess at some of the reasons behind her life choices and lifestyle as a former exotic dancer, then later a high class courtesan who entertained allied officers in her hotel room.
Definitely a book for the historians and one that may become the definitive source for the story of Mata Hari. I read it quite quickly and was engrossed throughout.