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Portrait of a Spy: A Novel | [Daniel Silva]

Portrait of a Spy: A Novel

Haunted by his failure to stop a suicide bomber in London, Gabriel Allon is summoned to Washington and drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen who was once a paid CIA asset.
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Publisher's Summary

Haunted by his failure to stop a suicide bomber in London, Gabriel Allon is summoned to Washington and drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen who was once a paid CIA asset.

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, and together they form an unlikely and dangerous bond.

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 listeners haunted long after the final words, 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.

©2011 Daniel Silva (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1266 )
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  •  
    carl801 Madison, Alabama United States 07-26-11
    carl801 Madison, Alabama United States 07-26-11 Member Since 2004

    Old soldier

    HELPFUL VOTES
    347
    ratings
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    589
    34
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    "Disappointing"

    First, let me state for the record that I have read and enjoyed all of Dan Silva's spy novels. But this one seemed formulaic and tired, frankly. The plot, at least for the past two or three, has been the same: something happens to bring reluctant spy Allon back into the game. He comes up with an intricate plan that includes a masterpiece of art, then calls in his old spy buddies who are grayer at the edges but otherwise ready and willing to jump back in the game. There is the old eminence grise, still smoking wherever it pleases him, when he should have died of lung cancer 20 years back. Back again is the lady with the photographic memory of terrorists who looks at the CIA files and in a day or two comes up with the answer than 200 analysts and their computers missed. Reprise from the guy who can track anybody anywhere. The London art dealer, whom I liked in the early novels, returns as little more than a caricature of his former self. Even when Allon and his beautiful Italian spy wife jump in the sack, I was left feeling, "Why bother?" Boring.

    Another reviewer said this book amounts to pro-Israeli propaganda. I had not considered that when I read the previous Allon novels, but I have to admit that she has a point. It seems to me, Mr Silva, in the vast human catastrophe we call the middle east, you might be able to craft at least one believable character from the Palestinian viewpoint who doesn't go over to the Israelis. And no, the willing suspension of disbelief does not extend to the two Palestinian characters in this novel, one of whom barely shows up until it's time to save the day.

    Bottom line, if you're a Silva fan, nothing I say will make a difference. But, if you don't have a history with him, pass this one by. Lots better ways to spend your time.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie East Windsor, NJ, United States 06-17-12
    Leslie East Windsor, NJ, United States 06-17-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delighted With My First Daniel Silva Book"

    I know that Daniel Silva is a popular author for mysteries related to the Middle East, but never got around to reading anything by him. I started listening to this book on CD when I borrowed someone's car and loved the book. Finished with a download from Audible. Highly enjoyable!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Wehr Indiana 11-29-11
    M. Wehr Indiana 11-29-11 Member Since 2008

    Tatterhood's mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Sesame Street's The Count as Gabriel Allon"

    Others have made the comparison before me, but this narrator sounds like The Count on Sesame Street. It's a detriment to an intriguing story.

    It gets increasingly difficult to wade through all the exposition that is accumulating through this series, but the intrigue is just too much fun to keep me from enjoying the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Cypress, TX, United States 10-21-11
    Brian Cypress, TX, United States 10-21-11 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    39
    27
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    "Much the same"

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the characters of this book, but Mr. Silva has definitely gotten into a rut. Same story, different characters. If you've never listened to one of his books, it's great. If you've listened to them all, listen only if you want to "keep the streak alive".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia W. Crum 09-19-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well researched - but too long and no action."

    This is the last time I will spend money on a Daniel Silva book until and unless he changes the current storyline and venue drastically. It is the same old same old and I wish I had my credit back as it was an extremely boring book. Way too much about art restoration and little to no action.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kb Mount Vernon, WA, United States 09-11-11
    kb Mount Vernon, WA, United States 09-11-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One more for the disappointed list"

    I like the narrator very much, but for me the story fell flat. I kept waiting for some action or suspense, but it never developed. Instead endless dialogue that gradually moved toward a finale that I was glad to finally reach.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Lopes CASTRO VALLEY, CA, US 07-23-11
    Donald Lopes CASTRO VALLEY, CA, US 07-23-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    11
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    "Narrator Big Problem"

    This may have been a fine novel unfortunately I will ever know. The narration was so poor that I could only pick up 50% of the dialogue. This type of gross inadequacy should result in a refund.

    18 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 08-04-11
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 08-04-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    Overall
    "fascinating but over the top"

    Silva is always a great read and he's getting better. But although I thoroughly enjoyed Portrait, it exaggerates the qualities of Gabriel and Nadia, the main characters. They both come across as "super" figures, cartoon characters.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackie LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 07-25-11
    jackie LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 07-25-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "FANTASTIC!"

    I look forward to Daniel Silva's novels. I love Gabriel and the crew. I thought the narration was terrific. I don't know what these people are talking about. I thought this was his best book ever.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenna 06-07-14
    Brenna 06-07-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    4
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    "Poor Narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    The book, YES! The narrator, NO...not for this series. There was very little distinction between the various characters or even by gender. After the first chapter you should know which character is speaking, not so with Mr. Vance.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Vance’s performances?

    Only after listening to a sample.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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