" 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.
Yes, I enjoy the whole Gabriel Allon series, although they're all pretty much the same. Gabriel is dragged into a situation after "retiring" with his wife, chaos rules, he gets permission to assemble the same crack team, it gets dicey at the end, but all comes out okay after some very rough going. I like it, but ya gotta put up with the VERY pro-Israeli, focus. An idealistic and wish list approach with a Pope and President on Gabriel's side (oh, wish it could be true!), and the ever present dangers of either Islamist extremists taking over "civilized" life with sharia law or else it's the evil Russians reverting to Cold War totalitarianism. All the while the rest of the world is all against Israel despite all the good they do to save us from the extremists.
If you're a Gabriel Allon aficionado, you'll surely like the book. I'm one and I did!
Most any of the more recent Silva novels
The real negative of the past two novels have been the narrator, George Guidall. A decent narrator of other novels, his voice and style are totally inappropriate for the Gabriel Allon series. It requires the deep resonance of a European voice from John Lee, Phil Gigante or even Simon Vance (who sometimes made the Israeli accent sounds like Romanian Vampires). For Guidall, the voice is too shrill and he made mincemeat of one of a returning character from the past. I couldn't tell the difference between Gabriel and Shamron. His style just doesn't go with these characters and Silva's style. Bring back the English actors!
Like action, adventures, war stories, militay happenings, historical readings-fiction, & mysteries. Unabridged only! Reader IMPORT!
Mr Guidall was very good but there were long periods of dialog where it started with no point and ended with no point. I got very tired of the very long dialog that seemed pointless and endless. It took away from the story.It got to a point where I didn't care what happened to the English Girl!
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!
Espionage has never been so suave. Daniel Silva's prose and George Guidall's dulcet tones conspire to frame another good fiction with commentary on the shady side of realpolitic. Fine characters, however improbable, I'm working my way backwards from the excellent Black Widow.
Really enjoying the Allon stories but especially the political and historical references. I've learn so much about Israel and their relationship with other entities. Thank you.