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Prince of Fire (Gabriel Allon Novels) Mass Market Paperback – February 7, 2006


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Product Description
Gabriel Allon faces his most determined enemy-and greatest challenge-in the stunning novel from the world-class practitioner of spy fiction.

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

Silva's latest novel to feature art restorer/Israeli agent Gabriel Allon (after 2004's A Death in Vienna) is a passionate, intelligently crafted entry that cements the series' place among today's top spy fiction. The structure is classic - the semireluctant spy, Gabriel, is pulled from his cover to hunt down terrorists who have committed a horrific crime, in this case the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Rome. The mastermind behind the bombing is French archeologist Paul Martineau, aka "Khaled, son of Sabri, grandson of Sheikh Asad. Khaled, avenger of past wrongs, sword of Palestine." Orphaned as a child after his father is killed by the Israelis, Khaled is also the adopted son of Yasir Arafat, who has now activated Khaled to wreak vengeance on his mortal enemies. Gabriel assembles a team of crack young agents and sets out to find when and where Khaled will strike next. The determined team tracks down the terrorist, but when Gabriel goes in for the kill the plot takes a stunning twist; the lives of all, plus hundreds of innocent bystanders, are threatened. Gabriel is a complex character with a rich past. His wife, Leah, is confined to a psychiatric hospital in London, mentally damaged and physically disfigured from the bombing that killed their son. He lives with the beautiful Chiara, whom he can't marry out of loyalty to Leah, even though she seems to barely know him. Silva hints at further entries in the series in which Gabriel must step up and assume new duties: "Gabriel, you are the mightiest," his former mentor tells the agent. "You're the one who defends Israel against its accusers. You're the angel of judgment - the Prince of Fire."
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.
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Spectrum by Alan Jacobson
FBI profiler Karen Vail's current case takes readers back to the beginning, with flashbacks to her rookie days as an NYPD patrol officer. "Spectrum" is a great way for new readers of the series to jump into the action. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Gabriel Allon Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Mass Paperback Edition edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451215737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451215734
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,340 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

Great fiction intertwined with history and fact.
Bob Hutchens
I have read all his books to date and buy the latest one the day it comes out for my Kindle App.
DaBittman
They are great fast reads with interesting plots.
1hellcat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 137 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Silva has followed up his terrific trilogy with another outstanding novel. "Prince of Fire" brings back Gabriel Allon, a gifted art restorer and master spy who has settled down in Venice with the lovely Chiara, whom he hopes to marry. After a tempestuous life filled with tragedy and violence, Allon is trying to find the peace of mind that has thus far eluded him. A huge bomb destroys the Israeli embassy in Rome and sinks any hope that Allon can live a placid life free of bloodshed.

Ari Shamron, who is now seventy-five, was once the head of Israel's secret service and Gabriel's mentor. He is now a special advisor to Israel's prime minister. Shamron visits Gabriel in Italy and informs him that Palestinian terrorists have uncovered Gabriel's true identity and may be targeting him for assassination. He urges Gabriel to come out of retirement and lead a team that will hunt down a Palestinian mastermind named Khaled al-Khalifa. This man is believed to be responsible not only for the attack in Rome, but also for two earlier blasts in Buenos Aires and Istanbul that killed over one hundred Jews.

"Prince of Fire" is intricate, fast-paced, and absorbing. Without sermonizing or pontificating, Silva explores the politics of hatred in the Middle East. He skillfully traces the trail of terror that has left this region in a constant state of fear and mourning for so many years. As we have come to expect from Silva, he writes exciting, suspenseful, and unpredictable action sequences that contain fascinating details about how spies operate.

All of Silva's characters are well drawn, but Gabriel Allon is in a class by himself. He has suffered great personal losses from which he can never completely recover.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Trimble VINE VOICE on March 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An absolutely fabulous story and without a doubt the most enjoyable book I have read in a long time. Daniel Silva has proven once again that he is a gifted storyteller and one of the best at international espionage and intrigue.

This fascinating Silva book is another in the Gabriel Allon series. For those of you who don't know, Allon is the physically underwhelming yet world renowned art restorer, who lives a double life in the Israeli Intelligence Service. Once "activated" Allon has no peer as the secret protector of Israeli security. Allon finds the really bad guys, the ones that nobody else wants to track. Allon goes where all others fear to tread and brings the bad guys to justice, whether that means the justice of the court, the justice of some form of imprisonment, or the justice of the assassin's bullet.

In this book Allon reluctantly abandons his precious work in Vienna, at the Chapel of San Giavanni Crisostomo, where he has spent months on the restoration of a famous Bellini altarpiece. His mission is a search for the terrorist mastermind behind a recent horrific and deadly bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Rome. All indications are that there is much more death and destruction to follow, so Gabriel is in a rush to find this terrorist before he strikes again. Along the way he learns that the life of his target and his own life are inextricably interwoven. The chase, which does not disappoint, covers a lot of ground and takes the reader from Rome, to Venice, Cairo, London, Paris and Jerusalem, and along the way Silva gives a factual history lesson from 1910 to the present, on the struggles between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This history lesson alone is almost worth of the price of the book!
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In his fourth novel-adventure, art restorer Gabriel Allon is recalled to action by the Israeli intelligence service for which he once worked. A massive truck bomb at the Israeli embassy in Rome and the shooting of fleeing victims has left fifty-two dead. When the Israelis obtain a computer disk from the terrorists' house outside of Milan, they discover recent photos of Gabriel Allon and his lover, notes about his real identity, and details of his sanctioned killing of Black September members, along with the second in command in the PLO. Yassir Arafat himself ordered reprisals against Allon, which resulted in the death of Allon's son and the maiming of his wife in a car bombing.

Believing the Rome bombing to be connected to the bombings of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994 and the bombing of Istanbul's main synagogue in 2003, Allon and his mentor, Ari Shamron, an advisor to the prime minister of Israel, soon focus on three generations of a single family. Sheikh Asad led the Arab Revolt in 1936, unleashing deadly attacks all over Israel, until he was assassinated on orders of Yitzhak Rabin. The Sheik's son, Sabri, a friend of Yassir Arafat, accepted his father's terrorist mantle, until he was eliminated. Sabri's orphaned son, young Khaled, adopted by Yassir Arafat, is believed to be behind the recent spate of bombings of Jewish buildings around the world. Allon is now assigned to find and execute him.

The novel, the fourth in the Allon series, is filled with familiar main characters from the past, both in Allon's personal life and in his life as part of the Israeli security service. These familiar "faces" and the numerous references to Allon's previous adventures add depth and important historical background to this novel.
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