"Pompeii" writer Harris's historical novel centers on the 19th-century Dreyfus Affair, in which Albert Dreyfus, a Jewish member of the French military, is punished for passing secrets to Germany. But did he? Head of the counterespionage agency Georges Picquart thought so, but he soon begins to believe a traitor is still in the military. Nelson says she was especially fascinated by the character of Picquart. "He's a petty bureaucrat, he's no genius," she says.