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Moscow Rules (Gabriel Allon) Paperback – June 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 533 customer reviews
Book 8 of 15 in the Gabriel Allon Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description

Daniel silva has hit the top with his new gabriel allon novel...

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

The death of a journalist leads Israeli spy Gabriel Allon to Russia, where he finds that, in terms of spycraft, even he has something to learn if he wants to prevent a former KGB colonel from delivering Russia’s most sophisticated weapons to al-Qaeda.

Amazon Exclusive Essay: Daniel Silva on Gabriel Allon and the "Accidental Series"

Writers tend to be solitary creatures. We toil alone for months on end, then, once a year, we emerge from our dens to publish a book. It can be a daunting experience, especially for someone like me, who is not gregarious and outgoing by nature. But there is one aspect of promotion I truly love: meeting my readers and answering their questions. During each stop on my book tour, I reserve the bulk of my time for a lively conversation with the audience. I learn much from these encounters-indeed, some of the comments are so insightful they take my breath away. There is one question I am asked each night without fail, and it remains my favorite: "How in the world did you ever think of Gabriel Allon?" The answer is complicated. In one sense, he was the result of a long, character-construction process. In another, he was a bolt from the blue. I'll try to explain.

In 1999, after publishing The Marching Season, the second book in the Michael Osbourne series, I decided it was time for a change. We were nearing the end of the Clinton administration, and the president was about to embark on a last-ditch effort to bring peace to the Middle East. I had the broad outlines of a story in mind: a retired Israeli assassin is summoned from retirement to track down a Palestinian terrorist bent on destroying the Oslo peace process. I thought long and hard before giving the Israeli a name. I wanted it to be biblical, like my own, and to be heavy with symbolism. I finally decided to name him after the archangel Gabriel. As for his family name, I chose something short and simple: Allon, which means "oak tree" in Hebrew. I liked the image it conveyed. Gabriel Allon: God's angel of vengeance, solid as an oak.

Gabriel's professional résumé-the operations he had carried out-came quickly. But what about his other side? What did he like to do in his spare time? What was his cover? I knew I wanted something distinct. Something memorable. Something that would, in many respects, be the dominant attribute of his character. I spent many frustrating days mulling over and rejecting possibilities. Then, while walking along one of Georgetown's famous redbrick sidewalks, my wife, Jamie, reminded me that we had a dinner date that evening at the home of David Bull, a man regarded as one of the finest art restorers in the world. I stopped dead in my tracks and raised my hands toward the heavens. Gabriel Allon was complete. He was going to be an art restorer, and a very good one at that.

Over my objections, the book was entitled The Kill Artist and it would go on to become a New York Times bestseller. It was not, however, supposed to be the first book in a long-running series. But once again, fate intervened. In 2000, after moving to G.P. Putnam & Sons, my new publishers asked me what I was working on. When I mumbled something about having whittled it down to two or three options, they offered their first piece of advice. They really didn't care what it was about, they just wanted one thing: Gabriel Allon.

I then spent the next several minutes listing all the reasons why Gabriel, now regarded as one of the most compelling and successful continuing characters in the mystery-thriller genre, should never appear in a second book. I had conceived him as a "one off" character, meaning he would be featured in one story and then ride into the sunset. I also thought he was too melancholy and withdrawn to build a series around, and, at nearly fifty years of age, perhaps a bit too old as well. My biggest concern, however, had to do with his nationality and religion. I thought there was far too much opposition to Israel in the world-and far too much raw anti-Semitism-for an Israeli continuing character ever to be successful in the long term.

My new publishers thought otherwise, and told me so. Because Gabriel lived in Europe and could pass as German or Italian, they believed he came across as more "international" than Israeli. But what they really liked was Gabriel's other job: art restoration. They found the two opposing sides of his character-destroyer and healer-fascinating. What's more, they believed he would stand alone on the literary landscape. There were lots of CIA officers running around saving the world, they argued, but no former Israeli assassins who spent their spare time restoring Bellini altarpieces.

The more they talked, the more I could see their point. I told them I had an idea for a story involving Nazi art looting during the Second World War and the scandalous activities of Swiss banks. "Write it with Gabriel Allon," they said, "and we promise it will be your biggest-selling book yet." Eventually, the book would be called The English Assassin, and, just as Putnam predicted, it sold twice as many copies as its predecessor. Oddly enough, when it came time to write the next book, I still wasn't convinced it should be another Gabriel novel. Though it seems difficult to imagine now, I actually conceived the plot of The Confessor without him in mind. Fortunately, my editor, Neil Nyren, saved me from myself. The book landed at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and received some of the warmest reviews of my career. After that, a series was truly born.

I am often asked whether it is necessary to read the novels in sequence. The answer is no, but it probably doesn't hurt, either. For the record, the order of publication is The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, and Moscow Rules, my first #1 New York Times bestseller. The Defector pits Gabriel in a final, dramatic confrontation with the Russian oligarch and arms dealer Ivan Kharkov, and I have been told it far surpasses anything that has come before it in the series. And to think that, if I'd had my way, only one Gabriel Allon book would have been written. I remain convinced, however, that had I set out in the beginning to create him as a continuing character, I would surely have failed. I have always believed in the power of serendipity. Art, like life, rarely goes according to plan. Gabriel Allon is proof of that.

From Publishers Weekly

Paul Gigante, who read Silva's Secret Servant, resumes his outstanding rendering of Gabriel Allon and his crew of Israeli counterterrorism experts. Once again, Gigante highlights Allon's strange blend of artist and assassin by giving him a quiet yet thoroughly persuasive voice. Gigante also deftly handles Silva's large, polyglot cast of arms dealers, terrorists, art dealers, wives, mistresses and even children. He does less well with the new Russian characters, Ivan and Elena, who speak with thick Russian accents, but use Anglicized pronunciations of their own names. Ivan sounds macho and threatening, but Elena is played with too much emotionalism, which detracts from the credibility of her decision to endanger her children and herself. Gigante's quick pace and narrative skill will keep listeners enthralled. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, May 26 ). (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Gabriel Allon
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451227387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451227386
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (533 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

He has been called his generation's finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever. Compelling, passionate, haunting, brilliant: these are the words that have been used to describe the work of #1 New York Times-bestselling author Daniel Silva.

Silva burst onto the scene in 1997 with his electrifying bestselling debut, The Unlikely Spy, a novel of love and deception set around the Allied invasion of France in World War II. His second and third novels, The Mark of the Assassin and The Marching Season, were also instant New York Times bestsellers and starred two of Silva's most memorable characters: CIA officer Michael Osbourne and international hit man Jean-Paul Delaroche. But it was Silva's fourth novel, The Kill Artist, which would alter the course of his career. The novel featured a character described as one of the most memorable and compelling in contemporary fiction, the art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon, and though Silva did not realize it at the time, Gabriel's adventures had only just begun. Gabriel Allon appears in Silva's next nine novels, each one more successful than the last: The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, and Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, and The Defector. Silva's forthcoming novel, The Rembrandt Affair, will be published on July 20, 2010.

Silva knew from a very early age that he wanted to become a writer, but his first profession would be journalism. Born in Michigan, raised and educated in California, he was pursuing a master's degree in international relations when he received a temporary job offer from United Press International to help cover the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Later that year Silva abandoned his studies and joined UPI fulltime, working first in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington, and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf. In 1987, while covering the Iran-Iraq war, he met NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel and they were married later that year. Silva returned to Washington and went to work for CNN and became Executive Producer of its talk show unit including shows like Crossfire, Capital Gang and Reliable Sources.

In 1995 he confessed to Jamie that his true ambition was to be a novelist. With her support and encouragement he secretly began work on the manuscript that would eventually become the instant bestseller The Unlikely Spy. He left CNN in 1997 after the book's successful publication and began writing full time. Since then all of Silva's books have been New York Times and international bestsellers. His books have been translated in to more than 25 languages and are published around the world. Silva continues to reside in Washington with his wife and teenage twins Lily and Nicholas. When not writing he can usually be found roaming the stacks of the Georgetown University library, where he does much of the research for his books. He is currently at work on a new Gabriel Allon novel and warmly thanks all those friends and loyal readers who have helped to make the series such an amazing success.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The middle book of my "Russia" trilogy (Child 44, this and then The Secret Life of Moscow), this happened to be my first Daniel Silva. While it follows a character--Gabriel--from his previous book and references some connections, characters and scenarios from it, I didn't find it difficult to follow Moscow Rules at all without having read the others.

Moscow Rules begins with Gabriel on holiday in Italy with his new wife. He's trying to get some downtime in after what was apparently a rather stressful experience from the last book, and is working diligently on restoring a painting for the Vatican. He gets an urgent call from his boss from the Israeli counter terrorism unit that a member of the much-oppressed Russian press has requested a meeting with Gabriel--and only Gabriel--to give him information about a possible impending attack on Israel and the U.S. They agree to meet, but the journalist is murdered before he can tell Gabriel anything, forcing Gabriel to travel to Russia to learn what the journalist died trying to tell him.

Although this is a spy novel, it's in no way a James Bond- or Jason Bourne-esque book--it's not about some superman taking down the world's biggest supervillians (or the world's biggest quasi-evil omnipresent secret government organizations, in the case of Bourne). It is a mystery thriller--although you learn fairly early on who the "villain" is, it takes most of the book to figure out what he's really planning--but Gabriel is no martial-arts gun-toting killing machine. It's much more a thinking man's game, and Gabriel is genuinely helped, not hindered, by his organization. The elaborate ruse set up to meet with the crime bosses' wife has that Thomas Crowne Affair/Ocean's Eleven type of feel to it, which I enjoy just as much as a good Bourne fight scene. Although I can't say how this book compares to his others, I can say it was entertaining enough to make me want to read more.
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Format: Hardcover
(4.5 stars) In his eighth Gabriel Allon espionage thriller, Daniel Silva moves from investigating the historical crimes of the past, often related to the Holocaust, and their effects on the present, to crimes of the present and their possibly catastrophic effects on the future. In this intense and absorbing novel about uncontrolled arms sales, the biggest threat to the future comes from Russian arms dealers, aided by Russia's president and former KGB operatives who are now unimaginably wealthy independent brokers and contractors. These arms merchants operate with impunity, selling all manner of weapons to terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Gabriel Allon, formerly with the Israeli Mossad, is on his honeymoon in Italy when he is contacted by Ari Shamron, the grand old man of Israeli security. Allon, a trained art restorer, has been working for the Pope, but the recent assassination of a Russian journalist who may have had information he wanted to reveal to the West brings him out of retirement and back into action. When the murdered man's Russian editor-in-chief is also murdered, Allon travels to Russia, where he learns the name of a Russian arms dealer, Ivan Kharkov, who has been supplying Hezbollah, and who now appears close to selling sophisticated weapons to al-Quaeda.

Kharkov and his wife are collectors of Mary Cassatt paintings, and the fascinating art world which has added so much life to other Gabriel Allon thrillers in the past is also a major aspect of this novel. Art dealers, down-in-their-luck gentry who own prized artwork, and, in the case, of Allon, restorers, all play unexpectedly major roles in this effort to prevent Kharkov from selling advanced weapons to al-Quaeda.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Daniel Silva is very proficient when it when it comes to taking current events and incorporating them into his thrillers. Moscow Rules, another Gabriel Allon mystery, follows this same pattern in this page-turning book.

Several Russian journalists are murdered when they try to uncover the truth about Ivan Kharkov, a former KGB agent turned "real estate developer, venture capitalist, and international arms trafficker." Kharkov is suspected of selling arms to African nations, knowing that they will in turn sell them to Al-Qaeda. One Russian journalist demands to speak with Gabriel Allon, an agent with the Israeli Secret Service. The only way to get proof of Kharkov's actions is to get information from someone close to him. But that is almost impossible as his entourage never goes anywhere without well-trained security. This mission will take Allon from Italy to Israel, France, Switzerland, and Russia. This mission also involves not just the Israeli Secret Service, but the CIA, MI5 and the French intelligence network. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Silva threw a real curve.

Silva obviously has friends in the intelligence business as he writes so convincingly about their jobs. When Allon is dining in a fine restaurant with a colleague, he thinks that "they did know all the best restaurants, but they also knew all the dreary airport lounges, all the stinking rail platforms, and all the moth-eaten transit hotels. The supposedly glamorous life of an Israeli intelligence agent was actually one of near-constant travel and mind-numbing boredom broken by brief interludes of sheer terror." Many of Allon's colleagues and associates make return appearances including Ari Shamron, Uzi Navot,
Chiara, Eli Lavon, Adrian Carter, Graham Seymour and Sarah Bancroft.

Moscow Rules is another entertaining book by Silva and unlike some authors, the quality of his work remains consistent.
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