Gabriel Allon, art restorer and occasional spy, searches for a stolen masterpiece by Caravaggio in number-one New York Times best-selling author Daniel Silva’s latest action-packed tale of high-stakes international intrigue.
Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one....
Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled listeners with 16 thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back - from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant creation, Gabriel Allon - art restorer, assassin, spy - has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar.
Following the success of his smash hit The English Girl, Daniel Silva returns with another powerhouse of a novel that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must-listen for both his multitudes of fans and growing legions of converts.
©2014 Daniel Silva (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
Nothing was really wrong with the book. I have listened to every Allon book, and they are starting to sound the same with the plots playing out in similar ways. If this is your first in the series, you'll love it. If you are a big Allon fan, you've probably heard this one before.
History, historical fiction and mysteries are my faves, but a fan of all genres.
If this is your first Allon book you'll enjoy it. If you have read the whole series, I'm tiring of the same stuff coming up book after book. Its good, exciting but getting to formulaic for me, think Silva is riding his coattails so to speak.
I'm a private investor with an affinity for a good spy story, mystery, or thriller. WWII Biography or History also appeals greatly.
I enjoy George Guidall every time. He is easy to listen to. It is a good story that does not insult the listener by being overly predictable or tidy.
I have read or listened to every Gabriel Allon novel but it only became really apparent to me when listening to the audio books (at least the two most recent) just how much filler Silva lards them up with. He must have his computer filled with dozens of paragraphs that he reuses verbatim. These paragraphs are descriptions of characters, events, and places from previous books or times in Allon's life that I suppose he would argue are useful to a new reader as backstory. However, it seems that the least he could do is change the wording even slightly.
It is insulting to loyal readers when an author abuses his success in this way. Perhaps I am just envious that he can get away with it! The book seems half done before he writes an original word. A comparison of The English Girl and The Heist shows this laziness at it's worst. So here is the formula..... come up with an interesting plot line (grade A) , insert multiple paragraphs from previous books, add a few new paragraphs, sort appropriately, send to publisher, cash check. Overall grade... C minus, mostly for laziness and insulting loyal readers.
I love Silva's writing style and the characters in this series
George is amazing. He tells a great story and I look forward to hearing more from him.
I really enjoy Daniel Silva books. This one was a bit ho hum. I was so anxious for it to come out because his last 3 books have been wonderful. This one left me.... flat. I didn't feel the normal suspense and intrigue. There was no sense of "how is Gabriel gonna get himself outta this one?" It was more of an interlude.
Come on Daniel. I have bought most of your books, but the last three seem to be a rehash over and over and over .... of the same story, same tired characters. The reader is fine, but I am struggling to finish this.
Please, I honor you for writing at all, but maybe try a new protagonist or invent new possibilities for Gabriel. Again, I honor you for writing, but we have seen how well you can do and in my opinion, this isn't it.
Author is just not breaking new ground.
Perhaps it is just me after reading all prior books of the series,
The book is now just average read.
Not really, because I felt like I was listening to his prior books
He's the best - and the only reason I finished it
If you are new to Silva, you will undoubtedly find this an unusual and interesting read. However, if, like me, you have read them all, this is just an amalgam of everything that came before it, with some new rogue countries currently in the news that allows the settings to be different.
The beginning of the book held my attention and I was excited to have found a good book. About 4 hours in the story just stalled and stalled and stalled. I'm about half way through and I'm not sure if I can push through anymore, it is just not going anywhere and I find myself in and out of paying attention, a problem I rarely have with audio books. I may try to push through it because I like the premise of the story, but overall very disappointing.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I decided to read this book when I saw the name of the artist as Caravaggio. I had read a biography of him last year and have kept my eyes open for more information about him. I have made a point of looking for his paintings whenever I go into an art museum. I saw one of his paintings in the Art Museum in St. Louis, Mo and another in the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Ca. Apparently this is a series about Gabriel Allon who is an art restorer, investigator and Israeli intelligence operative. There was some information about various techniques to restore art which I found most interesting and a discussion of various famous paintings and art heist. The book also covered a bit about the famous paintings taken from the Jews during WWII and the hunt for them.
The plot has Allon helping a friend by trying to recover a Caravaggio painting. While on his search he discovers multiple murders, and a tie to a brutal Arab dictator who is paying for stolen art work. Silva has created Allon as a complex personality, which makes him more believable. The book is not just a spy thriller but also an art history novel. There is lots of intrigue, insight and suspense. The only down side is the commentary about current situation in the Middle East but it was well done and worked easily into the story. The author provided us with a nice travelogue as the story moved from London to Lake Como to Venice on to Vienna and then to Jerusalem.
I enjoyed the book it was an easy read and kept my attention. The book was narrated by the Audie Award winner George Guidall. The Audie Award is the audio book industries equivalent to the Oscar.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Being a big fan of Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series and Alex Berenson's John Wells, it was only natural to give Daniel Silva a try, his Gabriel Allon falling somewhere between Malone and Wells on the espionage spectrum. The first half of The Heist had me well hooked (though I had a serious credibility issue with how easily Allon is recruited and could easily see how obviously red this herring was). But then the remainder, the non-red-herring part of the story, completely foundered in a sea of unlikely actions.
In short, Gabriel Allon has got to be the worst spy ever. He fails to accomplish either of his two main objectives in The Heist, until the very end when he does in fact succeed in one of the two endeavors, but only by going back to pursue the very first clue he uncovered, which he had, for no discernible reason, ignored the first time around, and which has no relation to anything else in the story (i.e. deus ex machina, one of the most widely discredited literary cliches).
He not only misses this obvious clue, he also achieves intermediate objectives with the help of a clairvoyant (who only foresees some plot points but not others, quite conveniently for the author, although not for Allon) as well as a tell-all letter that is conveniently left for him to find by someone he never met. Later, he manages to recruit an asset who conveniently spills her most closely half secrets at the drop of a hat, after carefully hiding those secrets from some of the scariest bad guys imaginable (and later in the story conceals the truth while being tortured). So convenient.
Robert McKee, the great writing instructor, nailed it when he said that a plot is built on the premise that people will do only as much they feel they have to do to accomplish something, never anything more than that. Why on earth would anyone ever do more than they think they have to? When have you ever done anything more? A plot is built when that effort falls short and people then have to ratchet their efforts to the next level.
Silva's plot completely falls apart when this basic principle is wildly transgressed. If the goal is to get an electronic tracker on someone, why on earth would your method of doing that be: steal Sunflowers from the Van Gogh museum and create a perfect forgery and sell it on the open black market. Surely you'd try something less ambitious first, even it is just pretending to have stolen the painting as a pretext to slip a tracker onto the guy. Even so, the ploy fails, as the tracker proves to be a dead end. What exactly is the point of this entire effort? Nada.
And why oh why, in a story that uses the heist as its fulcrum to pivot from art theft to Middle East politics, would you painstakingly detail, at length, trivialities like the technique of determining that a painting is hidden under another painting, but have something as central to the story as the Van Gogh heist happen completely off screen (i.e., not described at all, it just happens, the story jumping forward from the first stages of planning the heist to the theft being a fait accompli).
This is Silva's second most recent effort. It has gotten mixed reviews from readers who have read him extensively, most of the negatives being that it is stale and rehashed. This being my first Silva-Allon, I have to conclude that the staleness is simply the result of laziness. The many plot holes (there are many more beside the instances I've touched on), could have easily been worked out. This effort seems to have been rushed, mailed in.
Veteran Silva readers have also complained about the repetition of character background stories, lifted from previous novels. First time readers like me are left completely confused about these too frequent allusions to prior events. Again, lazy writing -- make it stand on its own, don't rely so heavily on past novels to the point where you're annoying longtime readers and newbies alike.
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