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1.0 out of 5 starsUsually a very good read
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2019
Normally, I would give this book, and any book written by Daniel Silva, 5 stars, but when I was finally able to begin reading this book today, I discovered that 60 pages are missing. Pages 21 thru 84 are gone. Not ripped out, but never inserted into the book. Imagine my confusion when reading and all of a sudden nothing makes sense, and my “well, that sucks” moment when I realized what caused the confusion. So, I have to reorder the book, can’t return this one because the window in which to do that is gone, and can’t give it away because the next reader will have the same surprise I did. So, I have to throw away what would have been a perfectly good book (manufacture-wise) and what I know would have been an excellent read (story-wise). I’m in an allergist (doctor’s) office for a long day of testing, and I was counting on and looking forward to passing the time with a good book. A Daniel Silva book is always a great choice; but obviously not today. Difficult to make sure all pages are in the book before buying the book, but perhaps there is some kind of quality control that could have and would have prevented this inconvenience?? This is not earth shattering by any means, but it is a bit of a disappointment. I love Silva’s books and recommend them to everyone. His proof reader needs to correct his grammar and and pay attention to sentence structure; and sometimes it would be nice, and helpful, to identify who is saying what, especially in exchanges that are more than two responses long; but Daniel Silva writes a good story. I sure wish I could read this one. 😊 I’ll just have to order it again, keep my fingers crossed, and hope someone remembered that the number that follows “20” is “21”, not “85”. And now to find a magazine or two to help while away these tedious hours...
Gabriel Allon is in pursuit of a stolen Caravaggio masterpiece. It all started when Julian Isherwood went to Lake Como to meet with an art dealer, who dealt in stolen artworks, unbeknown to Julian. When Julian arrived at the art dealer's residence, he found him brutally murdered. The General put in charge of the investigation from the art theft squad from Rome, called in Gabriel and made a deal with him. He would keep Julian's name out of the investigation if Gabriel would search for the missing Caravaggio. Gabriel agreed.
The setting for this work moves from place to place, from Venice to London to Geneva to Switzerland to Germany and, of course, to King Saul Boulevard in Jerusalam. Gabriel's pursuit of the Caravaggio shifts to the search for Syrian Muslim terrorists. He gathers his loyal comrades at King Saul Boulevard to assist him in pursuing the Muslim terrorists, and in particular, one Syrian Muslim leader, and the billions of dollars he is hoarding, while his people suffer grievous deprivations; while he tortures some of his Syrian citizens. Gabriel and his team set up a scheme to "borrow" a Van Gogh masterpiece from the famous museum in the Netherlands to entice the Muslim terrorist, who is an ardent collector of stolen artworks. The heist goes smoothly, but to find out how the scheme goes you have to read the book.
"The Heist" is replete with numerous, complex plot developments that delight the reader. This work is beautifully written, and often waxes poetic, which typifies a Daniel Silva work. The action heightens, declines, and then heightens again; yet it reaches an outstanding conclusion. Woven in the early narrative is interesting discourse on the life and times of Caravaggio. Technical discussion, as always, is given on the restoration of a masterpiece, and on the removal of an artwork painted over a masterpiece, which I'm sure is most accurate. All of this holds the interest of the reader.
I sighed sadly when I finished "The Heist," for I know that I won't be able to read a new Gabriel Allon novel for another year or more. Finally, Daniel Silva is one of the best and strongest writers on the literary scene today. Amazon Verified Purchase.
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2015
As a Silva/Allon fan of many years, I thought this was among the best in the series. Typical format--Allon is called away from a restoration project to investigate a brutal murder and to locate a long missing artwork (a Caravaggio altarpiece). All leads point to a thinly disguised Middle Eastern leader and a dirty private bank that launders his immense financial portfolio. The usual team is assembled and goes to work.
The Heist is different from most Allon stories in that very little violence takes place. There is plenty of suspense though.
My favorite aspect of this novel is the insight it provides into the world of stolen art, Middle Eastern politics (Syrian in this case) and European private banks who handle stolen fortunes for international criminals and heads of state. I also enjoyed the travelog element as Allon moves between Italy, Paris, London, Switzerland, Germany and Israel. Most Allon novels provide these elements in various measures, but The Heist does a particularly good job of it.
I heartily recommend The Heist. To say more could be a spoiler.
A friend reminded me about Gabriel Allon. I had read the first book and got distracted, so I read the most current one and liked it. this I went back and started binge reading the series.
In general, the stories are well crafted, with myriad twists and turns that keep things interesting. This book was no exception.
If there is a complaint, it is the author’s use of boilerplate to provide explanations that apparently must be repeated with every story, In case the reader is new to the series and needs the explanation for clarity. To someone who is binge reading, it is hopelessly repetitive, and it looks more like trying to plump up the story with Hamburger Helper.
Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the story and so will you.
2.0 out of 5 starsNot the best in the series. Perhaps a book written to contract?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2020
I've read a number of the Gabriel Allon books and all were page turners. This one is as well, but mainly because for the first half of the book I was flicking quickly through the pages to try and get to the story. The first half of the book is full of tedious lists of names, places, secret service details, a lot of repetition from previous novels it seemed. It felt as though the author was churning out a book to fulfil a contract. Finally, half way through the book, he seemed to remember that he was there to tell a story and I was able to stop skipping pages.
4.0 out of 5 starsA good addition to this excellent series but maybe start with the earlier books before reading this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2014
I look forward each summer for the next Gabriel Allon adventure and this latest instalment did not disappoint. The familiar ingredients are here for those who have read the previous books. Chiara is now pregnant with twins, and the story begins with the couple living quietly in Venice although we already know that the tranquillity cannot last because soon,Gabriel will have to return to Israel to take charge at King Saul Boulevard, home of Israel's secret service. The combination of art with espionage might seem unlikely but works really well. Allon is drawn into the darker side of the art world - stolen masterpieces as a form of investments for those who may find their more traditional assets frozen. In this case, stolen art leads Allon to the money at the heart of the Syrian regime, and of course The Office has to construct an elaborate plan to strike at an enemy of Israel. The plot didn't feel to me like it had quite the complexity of some of Silva's earlier books and there are quite a lot of characters and events from previous outings referenced here so this may not be the place to start if you are unfamiliar with this series. Having said that, this is a good addition to an excellent series and I'm already looking forward to finding out how Allon's career develops in the next book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2015
My third Daniel Silva this year - can't get enough of him! Gabriel Allon is the best action hero since Modesty Blaise.
Called in to investigate the savage murder of a rogue art dealer in Switzerland, the Israeli super-spy thinks he could be on the trail of a Caravaggio masterpiece that disappeared (it really did) from a Sicilian church in 1969. But his enquiries soon uncover something bigger than the fate of one painting: the acquisition of a stash of stolen treasures by minions of a murderous Syrian dictator who has looted billions from his war-weary people. The Syrian dictator is not named in the text, but he has a back story that most readers will be familiar with.
The adventure starts as almost a "caper" like TOPKAPI or one of Peter O'Donnell's literary comic-book Modesty tales, but quickly morphs into a high-octane conspiracy thriller. The surprise ending - alas, without the dictator brought to his knees (we can only watch and hope) - is subtle and richly ironic.
Audacity is Daniel Silva's middle name, and THE HEIST finds him, once again, at the very top of his game.
I really enjoyed this book. Great characters a good mix of fiction interspersed with fact. Although it’s a plot to relieve a dictator of his ill gotten gains, it becomes a big stretch of plausibility that the money was given back on the release of a hostage, hence marking it as a 4 instead of a f5
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 7, 2019
Daniel Silva seldom disappoints and this Gabriel Allon book from 2014 he delves more deeply than usual into the world of Art - or to be exact, Art Theft, Art Forgery & Art Crime. Along with the spy story, you learn a lot about the dark side of the business. This is a book I'll keep to read again, and again.