Portrait Of A Spy: A Novel Hardcover – Jul 19 2011
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"Allon is the 21st century Bond - elegantly paced, subtle and well-informed. If you haven't read Silva before, try Portrait of a Spy - and then go back and read the series.' Daily Mail 'Sexily brooding Allon... must be the most famous superspy not played by Daniel Craig' Daily Telegraph 'In true Bauer fashion, shoot-outs, kidnappings and international terror plots follow Gabriel Allon wherever he goes' USA Today 'Silva builds tension with breathtaking double and triple turns of the plot' People --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Art restorer. Assassin. Spy.
Gabriel Allon has been hailed as the most compelling creation since "Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" (Rocky Mountain News). A man with a deep appreciation for all that is beautiful, Gabriel is also an angel of vengeance, an international operative who will stop at nothing to see justice done. Sometimes he must journey far in search of evil. And sometimes evil comes to him.
In a dangerous world, one extraordinary woman can mean the difference between life and death. . . .
For Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, it was supposed to be the start of a pleasant weekend in London—a visit to a gallery in St. James's to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian, followed by a quiet lunch. But a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen has already marred this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds.
Haunted by his failure to stop the massacre of innocents, Gabriel returns to his isolated cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington and he is drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted "a beautiful and seductive tongue." A gifted deceiver, who was once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks.
Gabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death from the inside, a gambit fraught with risk, both personal and professional. To succeed, Gabriel must reach into his violent past. A woman waits there—a reclusive heiress and art collector who can traverse the murky divide between Islam and the West. She is the daughter of an old enemy, a woman joined to Gabriel by a trail of blood. . . .
Set against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence, Portrait of a Spy moves swiftly from the corridors of power in Washington to the glamorous auction houses of New York and London to the unforgiving landscape of the Saudi desert. Featuring a climax that will leave readers haunted long after they turn the final page, this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil—and Daniel Silva's most extraordinary novel to date.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Daniel Silva is deeply concerned with the Middle East and the problems with radical Islamism that have risen from there in the last 60 years or so. Silva uses his books - characters and plots - to speak intelligently about those problems and the repercussions - terrorist bombings in both the Middle East countries and in Europe. Silva seems to publish a new book in the series every July. Now, this year and this book, 2011 and "Portrait of a Spy", pose a fairly tricky problem for Daniel Silva. How much of the "Arab Spring" - which actually began in mid-December, 2010 - does he include in his story? And does he include the assassination of Bin Ladin, which occurred fairly close to the time of publication? I could tell that he makes reference to Bin Ladin's death in a line towards the end where the text could still be changed in final proofs. The "Arab Spring" is mentioned towards the end. That's the problem he may have faced with the plot. But it's with the characters he's facing the most problems.
Gabriel Allon has not changed much in the 15 or so years he's been the subject of Daniel Silva's pen. And Chiara, his younger Italian wife is still gorgeous. They are still trying to retire to the English countryside and really go back to art restoration.Read more ›
Once again Daniel Silva takes his readers on an exciting action-packed journey into the world of terrorism. This political thriller explores a lot of current events through the eyes of his protagonist, although meant to be entertaining above all it nevertheless leaves a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of global terror.
The story opens when we learn an American cleric has set up an Al Qaeda like operation in Yemen and has unleashed a wave of suicide bombings. The bloody carnage leaves the citizens of Paris, Copenhagen and London in a state of fear and disbelieve and the world wonders where the terrorists will strike next?
Gabriel Allon, a renowned art restorer and former Israeli spy, has retired to Cornwall England with his wife, Chiara, to follow his passion in the field of arts. One day, a chance observation at London's Convent Garden jolts him out of retirement and into the service of the U.S government. He is recruited to devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death that is causing havoc and targeting more and more countries. With the help of Nadia al-Bakari, a reclusive Saudi heiress, Gabriel and his team will traverse the murky divide between two very different cultures.
After reading a number of books very little has changed in this series, Allon is still trying to retire but after so many years with the Mossad as a spy it is hard to distance himself from the trade. King Saul Boulevard and their allies in the US always have one more mission up their sleeves and need an experienced professional to execute it, Allon is one of their preferred operatives and they always have a convincing story to entice him back.
Mr. Silva has skillfully mastered a formula that combines the art world and counter-espionage to create a suspense filled plot with depth and endless action, guaranteed to sustain the reader's interest for hours.
Gabriel is a former member of the Israeli Security Service who has retired to live in Cornwall. However, events conspire to bring him back into the fold and he becomes involved in an interesting plot which also involves the CIA and the pursuit of some particularly threatening and determined jihadists. The plot is bang up to date and is post both the Arab Spring and the death of Bin Laden so it has a very contemporary feel about it.
In many ways this book does all the right things for a spy thriller. The plot is pacey, but in a measured sort of way so the action does not become ridiculously frenetic. Fiction is woven into fact which gives the whole story credibility. Gabriel Allon is an interesting character, quite complex and definitely independently minded who it is quite easy to identify with. The book is not short, but does not suffer from padding with little relevance to the plot, which some authors feel obliged to add in, so that this story remains focused throughout.
This is a book which I read through very quickly. I did find it to be the archetypal page turner. The chapters are relatively short which keeps the reader engaged. Certainly after reading this one I do plan to get hold of Daniel Silva's other Gabriel Allon books as it was a very enjoyable read and one I would unreservedly recommend.
Most recent customer reviews
Another terrific book by Daniel Silva!
I have read everything Daniel Silva has written. I always feel that Daniel Silva has put a lot of research into every book of his that I... Read more
Couldn't put it down. Thrilling and educational. Silva's research is always impressive.Published 8 months ago by J.Palmer
Typical good read from Daniel Silva. Perhaps a bit too typical, if you have read the other Gabriel Allon books you will see the same formula for each. Good story all the same.Published 14 months ago by sydj