December 12, 2010


This is interesting in the context of my last entry:
Born in ..., X came from a poor family, his father being a railway clerk. An exceptional intelligence enabled him to rise quickly in the officer ranks of the ... army. He joined the counter-espionage service and rose to become its chief. During his tenure in office he greatly improved the methods used by the ... counter-espionage service. But at the same time he himself was a spy for ..., ...'s enemy, and his exposure was largely due to the improvements he had developed himself.

X's motives for treason are still unclear. He may have been caught in a compromising position by ... agents, since he was homosexual and being exposed as such would have been fatal to his career prospects. Actually, ... military intelligence had discovered X's homosexuality as early as 19XX, information that was used to blackmail him into revealing classified information.

He was paid well for his services, and had a lifestyle far above what his official salary could cover. It would appear that there was also a strong element of vanity involved, as well as a taste for the dangers. A ... report of 19XX describes X as "more sly and false than intelligent and talented", a cynic "who enjoys dissipation."



F.P.Barbieri said...

A recent movie made a hero and a martyr out of him - as you might expect. Mind you, the Austrian Army was half absurdity and half tyranny. It consistently lost wars because it insisted on being the support of a backward and parasitic aristocracy rather than a career open to talents. But Riedl does seem to belong to a type.

The_Editrix said...

Yes, that was my point. There seems to be a *type*.

If you haven't already, read this. I consider it one of the best books I have ever read. The TV film wasn't bad either, mainly due to the brilliant performances of Helmut Griem and the peerless Ian Charleson, but, no wonder, it couldn't touch the book.