After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio's greatest masterpieces. But early one morning, he is summoned to St. Peter's Basilica by Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome.
The Vatican police suspect suicide, though Gabriel believes otherwise. So, it seems, does Donati. But the monsignor is fearful that a public inquiry might inflict another scandal on the Church, and so he calls upon Gabriel to quietly pursue the truth - with one caveat.
"Rule number one at the Vatican," Donati said. "Don't ask too many questions."
Gabriel learns that the dead woman had uncovered a dangerous secret - a secret that threatens a global criminal enterprise that is looting timeless treasures of antiquity and selling them to the highest bidder. But there is more to this network than just greed. A mysterious operative is plotting an act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions....
©2012 Daniel Silva (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
This is another good book by Dan Silva with Gabriel Allon -- one of the most intriguing characters in thriller fiction. He is an assassin with a high sense of purpose, a master spy and detective, a loving family man, and a master of art restorer. He is best friends with the Pope and saves his life at least twice during the series of books. But, he also saves the state of Israel at least once or twice per book.
This episode is constructed as a string of thrillers that starts with the murder of an art historian at the Vatican, and wanders through Paris, St. Moritz, Denmark, Berlin and Jerusalem. Along the way, we get a nice dose of the local scenery, history, and a few art, history, and religion lessons.
Silva's characters stay true to themselves throughout the series and are fairly complex, but once you get to know them, you wish for some new folks to come on board. In this episode, the only new characters of note are the various villains who are just evil people.
George Guidall is always a great narrator/performer and anything he does is worth a listen.
In summary -- if you liked the other books by Silva, you will also like this one. You better read it soon, because it is so timely that I suspect it will not wear well over the years.
My feline-like curiousity causes the more pragmatic side of me to be apprehensive about jumping into series...that addicitve anticipation --- the inevitable Iet down. So, I do very few series. Daniel Silva has caught my wandering eye for years now, I've had more than a few in my Wish List. I was about to just go for it...download The Rembrandt Affair, when The Fallen Angel grabbed my attention. I've jumped in mid-series before: James Lee Burke, Lee Childs, Karin Slaughter...without regret (of course, in these stellar cases that meant I got to go back and do some enjoyable catching up.) Wonderful writers have that ability to write a greatly structured novel each time, eliminating the need to read the books chronologically. I can't speak to Silva's previous works (yet), but if the writing, the atmosphere, the interesting global locations, the clever multiple plot-lines, the sophistication and tautness in those previous Gabriel Allon novels is anywhere close to Fallen Angel (the 12th? in a series) -- I'm in, and downloading 11 books right away.
Gabriel Allon is called out of retirement ("again" I keep reading) to investigate the murder of the Vatican's antiquities curator, whose body is found splatted on the Basilica floor...did she jump or was she pushed? Allon's covert investigation will take him to the underbelly of the stolen antiquities black market, from the mob to possibly the worst imaginable terrorists - Hezbollah - and to a massive global plot that could ignite armageddon.
Some research on Silva, a former UPI and CNN journalist, explained that Silva visits each location he uses in his novels (and that he is one of former Pres. Clinton's favorite authors). That explains the perfect scenic staging that creates such atmosphere. His global experience and vivid attention to detail made this a believable and tense read. Guidall, if you've read any of my reviews, is a favorite, a polished professional that adds to any project in which he is involved. In the the words of a another *review-buddy*: I'm late to the party, but so glad to arrive!
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
I felt like I was watching an entire season of “Homeland.” Daniel Silva is a master storyteller and his protagonist, the retired Israeli spy turned art restorer, Gabriel Alon, is constantly being jolted out of retirement to foil yet another murder and solve another mystery. Gabriel jumps from book to book from plot to plot, the quintessential good guy with plenty of guts, charisma and brains.
In this book Gabriel is busy restoring a Caravaggio in the Vatican when he is called to solve the murder of Dr. Claudia Andreatti who is found on the marble floor of St. Peter’s Basilica. Her death, masked as a suicide, looks suspicious. Pope Paul VII put Monsignor Donati, his secretary and right hand man on the case. Enter, Gabriel Alon who carefully examines the body, surroundings and circumstance and springs into action.
Familiar characters from Silva’s previous novels come into play, Ari Sharom, Uzi Navot and Eli Lavon and of course Gabriel’s second wife Chiara.
Alon’s search for the murderer takes him from Rome to Paris, Denmark, Vienna, Berlin and of course Israel. His investigation leads him to foil terrorist attacks carefully planned by Hezbollah. There was even a torture scene, which brought to mind the movie Zero Dark Thirty.
This book is steeped in the conflict of the Middle East, and it brings forward the reality of the region and the very real problems Israel is up against from neighbouring terrorists. To be honest I felt quite unnerved at the end of Fallen Angel. Although Silva’s book is fiction, it hits a little too close to home, and confirms the reality of what is happening to our world. Through the eyes and actions of his characters, Silva verifies that the Middle East war is very real. That part is not fiction.
I finished this book on January 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Being a daughter of two holocaust survivors, Fallen Angel unnerved me. Although we repeat the phrase “Never Again” over and over, that may not be a realistic statement anymore.
As usual George Guidall does a stellar job of his narration and brings the book to life.
I am about to do something that I have never done. I finished "Fallen Angel" this morning, and I am about to start it all over again. George Guidall was a wonderful narrator (as always), and I felt as if I was just eavesdropping in on conversations.
Now, that I have the plot and storyline down, I want to go back and listen for all of the wonderful details and historical facts in Rome and Israel and other European settings in the book. Silva's writing is so colorful and descriptive and interesting, and this time through, I can concentrate on that.
Overall, a wonderful book!
As with all of Daniel Silva's novels, "The Fallen Angel" tells a fascinating story skillfully. However, this twelfth entry in the Gabriel Allon series differs a bit from its predecessors in a few ways. For one thing, Allon -- now in his 60's, although still fit -- has officially retired from his job as assassin for Israel's Mossad. This time, he serves the story more as a detective than a killer, unearthing a sinister connection between Italy's Mafia and Iran's Hezbollah. Secondly, this episode does not arise from -- nor revolve around -- works of art, as do most of the other Gabriel Allon stories. Rather, it generates two intriguing sub-plots: a deadly financial alliance and an archeological secret. Rest assured, Allon is still working as an art restorer -- which he considers his true occupation -- but this time, when he is called away from his current project to dispatch the bad guys, he does so less with bullets than with brain-power. (I think that you will enjoy his cleverly-orchestrated, perfectly-executed plot to kidnap the Iranian ambassador to Germany.) The title of this novel -- "The Fallen Angel" -- has a dual meaning, referring both to the murder-by-falling that initiates Allon's investigation, and to Allon himself -- named after an arch-angel, but reduced to taking out the trash (of the human variety).
I particularly enjoy Gabriel Allon's perhaps unlikely, but still heart-warming relationship with the Catholic pope in many of Silva's novels, including "The Fallen Angel." Daniel Silva, having converted from Catholicism to Judaism, knows whereof he speaks. He writes with great compassion for both religions, demonstrating his deep knowledge of the history and geo-politics of both worlds. In previous novels he has even shown surprising compassion for the Palestinians, and fair-minded understanding of the Palestine/Israel dilemma. In "The Fallen Angel," the bad guys are definitely the Iranian terrorists, aided and abetted by the Mafia.
Female listeners may notice that, with "The Fallen Angel," Silva's previously semi-mysogynist portrayal of his female characters has begun to evolve toward a more feminist awareness. Yes, he is still calling women "girls," but, in fairness, he frequently calls young men "boys," so I guess that kind of balances the scales, right? With each successive novel, now, Silva's female characters are growing more likable and more admirable. Yay!
George Guidall, as always, does a very good job narrating "The Fallen Angel." He has an engaging, mature voice that he modulates with the skill of a good actor. Despite the fact that he is beginning to develop a slightly choppy style of phrasing, I think that he still deserves five stars. I would recommend "The Fallen Angel" to most thriller-lovers, with the proviso that you should first read its predecessors in sequence, for the greatest enjoyment of this audiobook.
what more can you say, gabriel allon series is great and with george guidal reading, it is a must listen.
This being the first experience with Audible.com, or any audio book service, I 'm glad to say I 'm pleased with these results.
Fallen Angel is interesting and enjoyable for several reasons, including its real-seeming characters and their thorough development. The plot movements are clearly presented, the action and intrigue exciting and believable. The thematic interaction among the three great religions in the story is aptly played out between the men and women who seem to represent or often epitomize those different worldviews.
Can 't give away the ending because I 'm not quite there! I will say this : I 'm going to finish it today, and I will listen again.
I really tried with this book, having been drawn to it by the Italian setting and the good reviews. But I forgot my own rule which is to read books that are part of a series, in the order they are written. So I didn't know the characters. However, the author obviously wanted to present a stand alone novel, so it was laced with short explanations of what had gone before....synopses of entire books, I suppose....and....I just found it all a bit much....and, anyway, too gloomy.
I don't think this is a fair review -- I'm sure Silva fans who are familiar with the characters would enjoy it.
This is the first book in the series I have listened to narrated by George Guidall. So there was no sensation of meeting an old friend because the voice is different. I loved the description of the art work and the underground temple. Those details were enough for me to enjoy the book. The basic story is good. The problem seems to be Daniel Silva tried to write a stand alone book, catching new readers up with flashbacks which turn into confusing rambles.
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