From the Afterword of The Panther's Feast  (1)


"THE origin of this book goes back some seven years to a rainy night
in a country house a few miles outside of Salzburg.  I was working
for American intelligence (ed note:  ! )  in Austria a the time, and
that is perhaps why I had taken from the old library a leather-bound
volume called *Spionage,* a history of Austro-Hungarian army
intelligence written by General Maximilian Ronge.  Never having heard
of the case, I was soon fascinated in it from an intelligence
standpoint and, as I continued wading through the difficult German, I
became just as fascinated in Redl from the human standpoint.  Upon
finishing the chapter I experienced disappointment--Ronge had told so
little of what surely was a lot.  Who was Redl, *really* --where had
he come from, why had he gotten into such a wretched mess, how had he
gotten away with it?  I decided then that one day I wanted to write
the story of Alfred Redl.

I spent months looking for the espionage treatises allegedly written
by Redl only to learn that at the end of World War I the Chief of
Intelligence Bureau, General Ronge, had personally burned all such
documents including lists of spies and informants; soon after,
however, i found two retired intelligence officers who remembered the
documents very well, had read and studied them, in other words
verified their existence and Redl's authorship, a finding
substantiated and enlarged by a fortunate poking into some remote
archives that produced the official records of five complete
espionage cases in which Redl was deeply involved.  The matter of
Redl's male paramour, Stefan, was especially difficult.  Having heard
that he was still alive, I had spent over a year trying to locate him
when one night an anonymous telephone call gave me his exact name and
address.  (I subsequently found him, a large man who disquietingly
clutched a meat chopper during our first interview.)  I followed
dozens of false leads; I was once threatened by a seventy-year-old
madman, I have wasted hours with persons who wanted either money
or--more sadly--just someone to talk to.  But I spent as many hours
with delightful persons who could tell me about Redl and his army and
that incredible political entity, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Taken
together, my research effort was similar to a detective trying to
reconstruct not only a crime but the motivation for it.

(1)  Asprey, Robert, "The Panther's Feast," G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York,
      1959, p. jacket back