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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,023
  • 4 Stars
    748
  • 3 Stars
    232
  • 2 Stars
    69
  • 1 Stars
    37

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    934
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    516
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    170
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    41
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    23

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
    45
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Disappointment

Silva is a great author. This book is good, but the story doesn't impress me as one of his best.

The performance is by an accomplished professional whom I've enjoyed before. This may have been too difficult a book for him to do anything good with - I don't know. However, it was sub-standard.

The book simply didn't work for me. It was a chore for me to get through. It's the first book in a long, long time I regret purchasing.

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  • Story
  • Bruce
  • Washougal, WA, United States
  • 10-16-11

Another Great Restoration

As with all Daniel Silva novels a picture is told to us stroke by stroke on the canvas. We as readers have to wait to the end to visualize the finished portrait. We are so wraped up in the production that we keep wanting more when the story is over. Portrait of a Spy is no different. I was hooked with the first novel and still with this one.

  • Overall
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Good but too slow in parts

I really like the Gabriel Allon character that Daniel Silva uses in many of his books. The character is interesting and brings suspense and thrill to the reading. Unfortunately, this character is in the back seat through the first half of the book. Many of the usual characters Silva uses are there but the book grinds through details about bureaucratic minutae of the CIA and dialog between uninteresting characters. This is my least favorite book I have read by Daniel Silva.

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  • David
  • Westlake, OH, United States
  • 10-07-11

EXCITING READ

THE STORY KEPT YOU INTERESTED AND INVOLVED. THE CHARACTERS WERE REALISTIC AND WELL CHARACTERIZED. WOULD RECOMMEND OTHER STORIES BY THIS AUTHOR.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Enjoyable

Intriguing story, makes me wonder - what did this author used to do to come up with these details??

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Silva and Vance - what a combination!

I had not read any of Daniel Silva's work before, but I simply loved this book. The combination of Silva's writing and Vance's performance had me enthralled and absorbed from start to finish. I listen to audio books driving to and from work - several times I found myself unwilling to get out at the end of the commute, reluctant to break the spell! My thanks to both the author and the performer.

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  • John
  • Sandy Springs, GA, United States
  • 09-27-11

Probably his best yet!

- Daniel Silva is absolutely one of my favorite authors. This may be his best yet. If you're a fan and are familiar with the excellent cast of characters in his Gabriel Allon series you'll feel right at home. If not, welcome onboard. You'll love them. Since I had listened to all the previous in the series I felt like I was settling down with the team in a new deadly adventure. No politics, no theatrics, well some theatrics, just great story telling.
- The plot is excellent. Intriguing, explosive, and great listening.
- Simon Vance, the narrator does an good job. The different characters have different voices and inflections. You know when each is talking, no complaints.
- Start with "A Death in Venice" and work your way up. You'll get hooked.
- Daniel, start writing. Gabriel is waiting, me too.

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Acceptable, but declining

As with any author, over time, books generally seem to live off tangents and sound more concocted. I like the narrator, and Silva's books are good. However, its a step down, and is consistent with a decline from the first in this series.
I recommend it, but its no stellar.

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Gripping

Excellent production and reaading of a gripping spy novel. The book interweaves the art world into an international spy intrigue - excellent description and maintains interest through-out. This was my first novel by this author and I am keen to find another.

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  • Gail
  • San Deigo, CA USA
  • 09-09-11

C+

OK, I am a big Daniel Silva fan and if you've been one too in the past... this will be a mediocre for you. If you are new to Silva's books, start at the very beginning where the writing is exciting and the narration superb. I was hoping that there would be more action and thrill in this long awaited book but it was more like talking you too death. I love Simon Vance but Not for this series... he made Gabrial sound like Dracula. Bring back Gigante or Lee please!!! And please give Gabrial's and his crew some action or just retire them all.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful