I discovered Daniel Silva about a year ago and promptly read everything that was available unabridged. So, I'm a fan!
I enjoyed what was new in this book, which was a 'buddy' aspect with a new character (love/hate relationship) and the more up-to-date concerns on the world stage. I found some of the old aspects not boring at all, as it gave me that cozy feeling of familiarity and, of course, allows a new reader to have enough background without reading all the books. The narrator, George Guidall is marvellous. He can say "Let's go outside" and it resonates with layers of meaning.
To me the mark of a good writer is that you enjoy hearing the words no matter what the topic because they are so rich and entertaining. Daniel Silva definitely has that for me. I don't enjoy the violent parts, but for me, they are little enough in his writing that it's manageable. I do believe in the axiom that "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". That certainly sums up Gabriel Allon. What is most important to me is that there is a moral centre in a book and there always is with Daniel Silva. Looking forward to Summer 2014 for the next one!
What a great read. I always look forward to Daniel Silva’s books and this one met the mark. Once again Gabriel Allon is hired to do what no one else can do and he does it with a self-confidence that none of us would have. And as usual, the unique twists and turns within the story keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I have to say that there were so many things that happened that I did not expect, but then I’ve gotten to where I expect the unexpected with Silva’s books. I started this book and went through it at a pretty quick pace, simply because of the entertaining writing. The narrator did an excellent job and listening to him was like listening to an old friend. Always love Daniel Silva’s books and I can’t wait for the next one.
While I am sure fans of Silva will enjoy this book, it is just not for me. I really don't want to read books about torture and trafficking in human beings. Just not to my taste at all. Perhaps such goes on in the world - I am not naive - but I choose fiction for entertainment and enlightenment. I do not choose to spend my leisure time with torture and violence. Just a personal preference, I am sure.
Daniel Silva has gone back to writing a good story - but oh, the narrator was so totally wrong! I found it hard to define Gabriel Allon from the 'baddie's'!! Why or why do you pick a narrator that is not 'clear', that only mumbles or takes a breath mid sentence - very annoying?
I have all of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon audio books and paperback books plus a lot of his other stories and I can tell you George Guidall is NOT the one to read them.
I suffered George Guidall reading The Fallen Angel but I will think twice if you use the same narrator for future Daniel Silva books!
" I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.
I pre-ordered & finished reading/listening to this book not too long ago & was extremely happy with Silva's mew addition to the 'Gabriel Allon' series... Before I get into the review I want to send out my condolences & absolute shock at another's authors death in this similar writing genre... Vince Flynn will be missed & know after the next planned release of his last book before he died 'The Survivor' will be the last time we will truly read Rapp without another persons view, I just hope they don't turn it to absolute horrid ends similar to what happened to Jason Bourne, & all Robert Ludlums projects & legacy post death. Sorry for the tangent but the R.I.P. had to be written & I thought this would be a fitting place to put it in.
On to the book... The reason I enjoyed this book so thoroughly is because:
1. I felt the last few books (perhaps 3 out of 4) were not completely in line with the history of how Allon operates even though the books still ranged from pretty good to a great read. Too much Vatican, similar motives, etc... but it seems Silva is back to stories similar to 'Death in Vienna', 'Prince of Fire', etc... in my opinion a couple of his best novels. Part of the reason is because I read a more passionate, optimistic & wittier version of the Gabriel we know versus the one trapped in all the ghosts of past missions whether they were successful or not... I felt he was caught in a overall melancholy look on life & everything in it, not in this book!
2. A past character makes a major cameo in helping Allon, a person u would not think he would approach & what will happen when they interact & his 'partner' interacts within the country & his fellow countrymen he no longer acknowledges nor cares about?
3. The Allon series is not the same with many other series because Mossad or whoever is Allon is representing always involves a team... no entire 'lone rangers' compared to the 'one-man is an army' men-teal as Rapp (once again I cry for the series, Rapp is among the best if not my favorite counter-terrorism boogeyman). Allon & Mossad in general always has people that have purely one specific purpose, such as reconnaissance or target tracking, researchers that can be field operatives, triggerman or in Silva's description 'Allon without a conscience,' plus others that all work together to achieve the mission. Obviously Gabriel is the man moving the levers while in the field who always gives him the sense of team leader without ever having anyone even question this. I felt in the past few books their use was limited or called in after things happened to mop up. In this book u get to see all parts, Allon as a lone wolf & Allon within the constructs of his trusted team who Silva has done a great job creating in-depth backgrounds for by melding true history with some historical fiction.
4. The spy-craft we've come to love with Silva & Allon, there is a huge difference between the way a character like Gabriel Allon works & Mitch Rapp works (for anyone know doesn't know who Rapp is, read Flynn, Rapp is by far my favorite but that's because its almost like a recruiting book for readers who want to see how an operative can seriously 'bring the pain'). Rapp is similar but much more in ur face, systematically dismantling the opponent with extreme prejudice. Gabriel plays the espionage-counter espionage game, the 'cloak & dagger' fight with flair & a masters touch, just like the touch he uses when he restores art, the cover & work he could do at the top professional level even without any help from Mossad or any ABC agency.
I could go on about the subject of diff. characters from diff. authors for much longer but this is obv. about this particular book & not a discussion on Gabriel's specific prowess comparably speaking to other characters. I think it came to the surface mostly because of what happened to Flynn's untimely death & the noticeable change I saw between the last few books & how this book made a change that I felt was a positive movement. As the book starts all seems to be pointed on some type of hostage situation, but everything quickly disintegrates creating an iceberg like story, a small part of it on the surface but a huge portion under water, or in this case, the 'Russian/KGB' underbelly. There are many re-occurring characters friendly & deadly as Allon travels all over the world from England to Russia to find out who will feel his wrath but his character & team always ensures the reader knows that no well laid out plan ever survives 1st contact with the enemy. Its how they improvise, adapt, & finally overcome! The plot twits are done well & just like with all his books u feel the bruises he both gets & delivers... I couldn't put this book down or in this case I was always looking for a place to finish listening to the story, its just too bad the stories of many of these great authors are so quick when they are well written. Silva also ensures to involve a storyline with real world geo-political issues. Kudos to Silva for writing a superb book after a few above average ones that is almost re-creating Gabriel because his future is truly open to anything. Plus I don't need to mention Guidall is one of the best narrators... all of it equals a well written & entertaining espionage book.
I stumbled upon the Gabriel Allon series, and it quickly became one of my favorite series in a long while. The English Girl is one of the best in the series. It combines international intrigue with politics and scandal, steering clear of predictable outcomes. Without giving away plot points, it deals with the very believable difficulties in investigating a time sensitive crime with serious political implications and high level officials helping or hindering the investigation. How did these criminals find out about the political scandal when no one else knew? Nothing is as it seems. While each of Daniel Silva's books are self-contained enough to be read by anyone looking for a good book, there is a great advantage of reading them in order. Silva rarely discards ingenious or unique characters he introduces into his books. They become part of the Gabriel Allon universe and pop up in future books in unexpected ways (the Pope and a Corsican fortuneteller are some of the more notable reoccurring characters). Silva doesn't give away too much of the action of earlier books, but there are Allon related life events (good and bad) that are referenced that are big plot spoilers if you plan on reading the earlier books in the future. From his striking green eyes to his incredible memory to his insight on espionage and terrorism, Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon is extraordinary in all ways almost to a fault. He is a reluctant assassin with the heart and skills of a painter, haunted by personal tragedy. His talent shines so bright in the series that almost all other reoccurring characters pale in comparison. Unfortunately, Silva nearly cut and pastes his descriptions of some of the characters from book to book, they are so similar. Having been so enamored with the series, I read the majority of them back to back. Some of the characters seem to have so much potential for expansion (notably analyst Dina Sarid) that a stock description is a disappointment. Silva writes that Gabriel's love Chiara has "riotous hair", a remarkable description that catches attention when you first read it, but Silva uses it in multiple books. I'd like to hear more about her. It's hard to balance character development and keep a good pace in a thriller. Therefore, most of the character focus goes deservedly to Gabriel.
This was my first Daniel Silva book and probably my last. I've enjoyed the Mitch Rapp series written by Vince Flynn and also enjoyed David Baldacci novels as well so was looking for something similar from a new author. I found this to be a book that dragged on and was very slow in parts and with a constant deluge of me characters throughout, it became confusing. By the end it was a struggle to finish.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
The English Girl was well worth the wait. I can't seem to get enough of Daniel Silva's writing and the excellent narration of George Guidall.
Gabriel Allon needs help from the man who lives on the island of Corsica. Allon realizes that the Prime Minister of England wants no scandal. He has been having an affair with The English Girl and if she is not found and tells her story, will he lose the confidence of the voters? If she were to be found dead, as her captor's have been instructed, wouldn't that make all things easier? But who has hired these thugs and why? Gabriel will find answers.
Gabriel Allon has gotten older in mind and spirit but he does continue to enjoy the thrill of being a master spy and the art restorer. Although he says he is done with working for the Office, when called he cannot turn away from knowing his destination in life. He will always want to know the story behind the crime. Allon is a gentle man at heart but cannot quell his need to make that which is wrong to be made right and consequences be dammed.
The characters are very well developed. George Guidall has given life to the character's. The reader will know who is talking. The feeling's of that person will be well understood. Would I recommend this book to other's, absolutely.
Dr. FPN from Portland,OR
I have listened to all the Gabriel Allon series Espionage-Adventure novels. Daniel Silva is remarkably consistent in the quality of his writing, (3.5-4,25 stars). I believe the author has exceeded my expectation with THE ENGLISH GIRL; which I would rate at 5-Stars. The story content is superior, it showcases current political upheaval in Russia, predicting Putin's Political Expansionistic desires. (KGB-Oil). As a counterpoint to the modern, he explores the ancient traditions practiced on the Island of Corsica. This all adds interesting texture to the standard conflict between Good -vs-Evil. There are even romantic entanglements to overcome to please readers that enjoy this dynamic. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys political-espionage thrillers.