Tightly written thrillers like The Marching Season have made best-selling novelist Daniel Silva a favorite of readers everywhere. In The Kill Artist, he paints an absorbing portrait of a reluctant hero’s attempt to thwart an old enemy to preserve a precarious peace.
After the assassination of his wife and son, Gabriel Allon retires from his brutal anti-terrorist career and loses himself in his previous cover job: art restoration. But when Tariq al-Hourani, the Palestinian terrorist responsible for his family’s death, begins a killing spree designed to destroy Middle East peace talks, Gabriel once again slips into the shadowy world of international intrigue. In a global game of hide-and-seek, the motives of Gabriel and Tariq soon become more personal than political.
Filled with vivid action and a fascinating cast of supporting characters, The Kill Artist delivers pulse-pounding suspense, carried to a startling climax by the tension-packed narration of George Guidall.
©2000 Daniel Silva (P)2001 Recorded Books
Meet Gabriel Allon, reluctant assassin. "The Kill Artist," published in 2000, introduces us to Daniel Silva's popular Gabriel Allon series. Yes, the series gets better as it progresses: "The Kill Artist" is not its best entry. In fact, I think that each entry gets better than the last one, reflecting the growing skill of the author. None-the-less, I still recommend that anyone wishing to listen to the subsequent Gabriel Allon novels should start here, with "The Kill Artist," and then listen to the novels in sequence. The Gabriel Allon character has a lot of complexity, as do the plots of all his adventures. Although Daniel Silva does a good job summarizing all that you need to know for each successive episode, you will still miss out on the richness of this series if you pick it up in the middle. (In fact, I did just that, not knowing any better at the time. Now, I am enjoying going back and listening to the series in the proper order ... and getting so much more out of it than I did the first time 'round.)
Author Daniel Silva is a pretty complex character, himself. Raised in a devoutly Catholic family, he converted to Judaism in adulthood, as a result of his marriage. Now he writes compelling novels about an Israeli Mossad assassin (although, curiously, the Mossad is never mentioned in any of his Gabriel Allon novels -- it is just called "the Office"), in which we learn more than we may have ever wanted to know about the Holocaust, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, international politics, and recent world history. Whether or not these novels suit one's taste in fiction, one cannot deny the deep, penetrating intelligence and profound, cynical knowledge of world events and human nature that emanates from all of Daniel Silva's novels. As some previous reviewers have noted, "The Kill Artist" has some pretty dark aspects to it -- don't buy it for light escape fiction -- but it does offer some intriguing, disturbing, and surprisingly fair-minded insights into current headlines and the human psychology behind them.
George Guidall, as always, does an excellent job narrating "The Kill Artist." He has a lovely, warm, mature voice, that he can adapt into many different characters, including female characters. Although he draws some of his accents from his "generic" bag, he uses a pretty credible French accent for this audiobook.
Nothing grabbed me. The story was ok but several minor things bothered me, so I’ll list them below.
When I finished this I thought huh, the hero didn’t do anything heroic and he did not solve the bad guy problem. The good action was done by another. Ok, but that kind of let me down - not much hero development here.
Throughout the book the good guys were not doing smart things which made it less fun to root for them. In a few scenes the bad guys came out ahead due to luck. For example: the bad guy dresses as a waiter to get into a meeting of dignitaries. The front door guard let him in even though his name was not on the list - because the bad guy said they told me they needed extra staff. A guard let him into a private room because the bad guy said one of the top aids told me to bring this food. When the bad guy was in the kitchen, the boss of the waiters gave him work to do. The boss should have known who his employees were. He paid them. The boss did not even ask where he came from. This was too easy - using luck.
I was disappointed the following was not shown. A woman was being trained as an agent. She was told to figure out who was following her. She reported three people and was wrong. Next time she reported three people and was right. I wanted to see what she saw and why she concluded what she did.
Because a woman loved Gabriel she did amazing things for him. I wanted to see him reciprocate some kind of feeling for her, but he showed no feelings. That was a let down. It made him less sympathetic.
Something unexpected was revealed at the end. It was quickly told. It was a neat surprise. The details behind that could have been a good story. Not required but I wanted to know more.
I did not care for the narrator George Guidall. He made Gabriel the hero sound like a clerk or librarian. It didn’t fit the sexy macho agent. And he made the bad guy sound wimpy. Other parts were ok, but overall his voice was not as good for me as other narrators.
Genre: spy suspense thriller
I can't quite put my finger on the problem. I expected to become fully engaged by the story and enthralled by the narration, but it just didn't happen.
The story should have elicited some excitement, suspense, tension, but it just seem to drone on. George Guidall is one of the best readers in the business but perhaps his voice is now too soft to narrate a thriller or perhaps even the great Guidall couldn't instill life into this story. Either way, this listen was a bit of a disappointment.
This is the second Daniel Silva I've downloaded - I also listened to Death in Vienna - and it was the author's second chance because I do love spy/thrillers. Still, there are better books out there and better ways to spend a credit. Keep looking. Don't settle for merely OK.
I like and have read most of the Gabriel Allon novels, and returned to this one just because it's been awhile.
It is a little on the dark side, but all in all a good book. Allon is a little too "super duper" but I'll take that to the modern anti-hero so popular in other such novels.
I listened to a newer work by Silva and loved it. So I went back to the beginning and was horribly disappointed.
Sliva uses constant profanity to try and demonstrate the tough grittiness of his characters. Simply showing us who they are would be much more effective. The constant use of "F***" as well as the excessive sexuality distract from and weaken the story line to the point that I finally quit listening half way through.
George Guidall gives a fine performance and is easy to listen to. He is one of the better readers I have heard. His voicing for various characters is appropriate, consistent and well done. Silva's story lines move rapidly from character to character and Guidall's voicing of various characters makes the action easier to follow.
I am glad that I listened to a more recent Silva novel first. Silva has learned how to richly develop a hard, gritty character without resorting to trite use of profanity and obscenity. Unfortunately he didn't learn this early enough in life to save this book.
The Daniel Silva series was recommended to me by a good friend and I guess I expected more. Maybe it was the narrator - not one of my favorites although I realize he has been doing this a long time and has many avid followers. Most everything I've listened to narrated by him falls a bit flat. I really don't like the way he does women at all. Makes them all sound weak and pouty, no matter who the author is.
The plot of the book felt forced in some places, like the author had to figure out how to write himself out of a hole and did it the most expedient way. And perhaps I just don't love this genre enough, although there are some writers in this genre I enjoy very much. Yet, I will listen to the others in this series that I already purchased, because, well I own them now and maybe they will grow on me, or not.
I know most people who love Vince Flynn/Alex Berenson books love Daniel Silva. I've read and listened to a few and while I do appreciate the realism in his books I also am a bit turned off by the darkness that tends to be in them. Also a lot of sex scenes tend to be described in his books. I leave 4 stars as I did mostly enjoy the book and I love George Guidall. 4 stars because I think he is a very talented writer but he's just not for me.
Ever have a friend start telling you a story and say "hey, let me give you a little background" ... and 30 minutes later they're still going in circles giving you background that really has nothing to do with nothing? If so, you can relate with my reaction to this book. At any number of points, I wanted to scream "JUST GET TO THE POINT!"
I'm a pretty sophisticated reader, but this book is painful. The author will spend ten minutes discussing every little detail in scenes that are effectively 20 or 30 seconds of action. I expect this in the first half of any book as the plot is being setup ... but I swear that this author (at least in this book) actually gets MORE detailed as the book unfolds. The plot is great ... the characters are interesting ... the author clearly has talent ... but I'm just not spending any more credits on this author/series.
I have had this book on my shelf for some time now and decided to see for myself if Daniel Silva's Israeli assassin, Gabriel Allon, was as good as I have heard. I can honestly say that Gabriel did not fit into my image of an assassin.
As the story begins, a mysterious stranger moves into a old cottage in an isolated English village, Port Navas Cornwall. The first chapter is told from the viewpoint of Peel, a boy of around 10, who had also recently moved to the village with his mother. Therefore, it takes several chapters to find out the stranger is Gabriel Allon.
Gabriel was a world renowned art restorer, the cover job he had in order to hide the fact that he worked for the Israeli intelligence service. However, he "retired" from the clandestine service nearly 10 years previously when a terrorist he was contracted to take out placed a bomb under his car, killing his son and turning his wife into an empty shell. After that, Gabriel went into a self imposed exile and immersed himself into restoring paintings in the hope of forgetting the past.
Then the Israeli ambassador and his wife are killed by terrorists in Paris, and Ari Shamron, head of the intelligence service, discovers the assassin was none other than Tariq, the Palestinian who destroyed Gabriel's family. Shamron trusts no one, and secretly goes to England to bring Gabriel back for one more mission. Gabriel can not refuse, even though he knows killing Tariq will not bring his family back.
In other novels featuring assassins, they tend to be cold and calculating, justifying their actions by believing the target deserved to die for their transgressions. Gabriel, however, has flashbacks and feels guilty for what he has done. Benjamin Stone, a wealthy backer of the Israeli operation, describes Gabriel as "an assassin with a conscience."
Given all the baggage Gabriel is carrying around, I had my doubts as to whether he would be an effective assassin. Add in the fact that he has been inactive for nearly 10 years and he was at a distinct disadvantage.
I thought the book started out slowly, but it gradually picked up its pace before finally reaching its climax. But even after the climax, there were more plot twists which tied the story into a neat little ball. Gabriel seemed to enjoy restoring paintings much more than his other line of work. Therefor, this is not the typical testosterone filled prose that one would associate with a story about an assassin, but rather paints a softer, more human side of the occupation.
There are several more books in the series, so I am anxious to find out what would bring him out of retirement again
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