Gabriel Allon hasn't been back to Vienna since his wife and child died there in a terrorist bombing. But when his mentor in the Israeli intelligence agency dispatches him to the Austrian capitol to investigate a murderous explosion at the Wartime Claims and Inquiry Office, his presence alerts the attention of police officials who have reasons to stand in the way of his investigation. When a concentration camp survivor is killed who could link the father of Austria's next chancellor to Nazi atrocities and an ongoing coverup by the Catholic Church, Allon discovers another connection to the conspiracy, this one closer to his own past than he could ever have imagined. This is the third of Silva's thrillers featuring Allon, the art restorer who's also a spy (The Confessor
and The English Assassin
are the first two). In an endnote, the author calls them a "completed cycle dealing with the unfinished business of the Holocaust." Allon is such a compelling hero that one hopes Silva, a skilled craftsman and a terrific story-teller, will bring him back in another series. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Silva completes his cycle of three interconnected novels (The English Assassin; The Confessor) dealing with "the unfinished business of the Holocaust" with this superbly crafted narrative of espionage and foreign intrigue. During the later stages of WWII, Sturmbannführer Erich Radek's job was to erase all evidence of the Holocaust. Radek, now known as Ludwig Vogel, is chairman of the Danube Valley Trade and Investment Corporation and lives quietly in Vienna. A bombing at the Austrian Wartime Claims and Inquiries office leaves chief investigator Eli Lavon near death. Undercover Mossad agent Gabriel Allon, protagonist of the two previous novels, is ordered by Israeli spymaster Ari Shamron to ferret out the perpetrator. Allon is reluctant-he's working as an art restorer on one of Bellini's great altarpieces in Venice-but Eli is an old friend from the secret service, and duty calls. The case becomes personal when Allon, reading his mother's account of her time in the camps "I will not tell all the things I saw. I cannot. I owe this much to the dead" discovers that not only was Radek a sadistic monster, his mother was very nearly murdered by him. The chase is long and complex as agents from a number of international spy groups circle and harass Allon as he hunts down the infamous and still deadly Radek. Those seeking cheap thrills should look elsewhere. Action and suspense abound, but this is serious fiction with a serious purpose. Silva keeps the pressure on the reader as well as his characters as there are important lessons to be learned and vital history to be remembered.
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