Daniel Silva

Portrait of a Spy

"I always pick up the latest Daniel Silva with excitement..."


Gabriel Allon was an Israeli spy and has a deserved reputation for daring efficiency and ruthlessness. He and his beautiful Italian wife, Chiara, are recuperating in Cornwall from his latest and supposedly last daring enterprise. They travel to London for a romantic weekend, where Allon's senses are alerted when he watches a suspicious man walking through the streets of Soho. There have been suicide bombers in recent weeks and all his instincts tell him that this is another. As he is about to eliminate the suspect (after making sure he is for real), he is stopped and arrested by plain clothes policemen. The inevitable happens.

Political constraints prevent open support for action against the threat but Allon's old allies in the American and British secret services combine with the clinical expertise of the Israeli forces to hunt down the new threat. Allon is dragged back into service and uses all his skill and charm to recruit the one person who can help. As always, the action moves quickly between New York, London and the Saudi desert before the final denouement.

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Daniel Silva's books are very difficult to put down once you have started. There is a slight feeling of guilt at enjoying the all-powerful Allon using his powerful intellect, his prodigious artistic talent and his undoubted charm to remove all obstacles in his path. You can justify it by the old saying that 'the end justifies the means', and Gabriel Allon's enemies are definite hard core “baddies”, but sometimes the means are particularly violent. Maybe it is because you can enjoy the primitive killer instinct at second hand, secure in the knowledge that it isn't real - or is it? Whatever it is, the story that emerges is exciting, bang up to date and completely absorbing. The old characters from the previous books are there, older and perhaps wiser. The interaction between the characters is beautifully described and mirrors the tensions and alliances of real life. I always pick up the latest Daniel Silva with excitement and this one proved a worthy successor to those that came before.

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