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Payback Time in a Chilling Sequel to Moscow Rules
on September 2, 2009
"Since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you, and after that I will cease." -- Judges 15:7
Where does revenge lead? That's the painful question posed by Daniel Silva's latest novel about Israel's most dangerous man, Gabriel Allon. In Moscow Rules, arms dealer and evil doer Ivan Kharkov loses his children, a lot of money, and his pride. There are bound to be consequences, but Kharkov is a subtle snake.
As the book opens, defector Grigori Bulganov is on his way to a chess tournament he's expected to win when he disappears from the streets of London. The British are convinced he's a double agent and is headed home to Moscow. The news doesn't get to Gabriel for some time. Ordered to leave it alone, Gabriel is convinced that his Moscow savior needs saving and heads for London to do his own investigation. One thing leads to another and Gabriel soon realizes that Ivan Kharkov has made revenge personal.
While the general outline of the plot is quite predictable, the menace being so personal makes the book much more appealing than Mr. Silva's plot formula normally would allow. You'll feel Gabriel's pain more intensely than you normally relate to a hero in a thriller. The book continues to explore Mr. Silva's theme of how evil destroys even those who fight it in a convincing way. I was deeply impressed by the portrayal of evil and its consequences.
At the same time, Mr. Silva keeps a few surprises for us that will make your eyes open wide with shock. No matter how late you stay up to finish the book (I did at 2:03 a.m.), you'll be wide awake when you do.
There's a continuing warning about the risks of dealing with the ex-KGB men who lead Russia that's underlined by a final note on how dangerous it is to be a journalist in the new Russia. It's chilling to think about.
If you like your stories to be bloodless and painless, this won't be the book for you.