Customer Reviews: The Fallen Angel: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)
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A curator in the Vatican's antiquities division, Dr. Claudia Andreatti, falls to her death in St. Peter's Basilica. Was it suicide or murder? The Pope's private secretary, Monsignor Luigi Donati, calls upon former Israeli intelligence agent Gabriel Allon to solve the mystery discreetly. Allon has been an invaluable asset to the Holy See in the past; he is as skilled in the art of espionage as he is in restoring a Caravaggio painting to its original magnificence.

Allon learns that before Andreatti was killed, she was conducting a secret investigation into the provenance of the Vatican's holdings. Had she made a discovery that posed a threat to someone with a great deal to lose? Gabriel and, to a lesser extent, his beautiful wife, Chiara, become entangled in a complex case involving stolen art works, money laundering, organized crime, and terrorism. One of the villains Allon would like to crush is Carlo Marchese, "a criminal without borders, creed, or conscience."

Daniel Silva's "The Fallen Angel" will feel familiar to those who have followed Allon over the years. Our master Israeli spy once again is dragged out of retirement to foil a nefarious plot; his well-organized team assembles under the watchful eye of Allon's mentor, Ari Shamron, to come up with a plan of attack; and the action takes place in various countries, including Italy, France, and Germany, and Israel. Allon is aging, and even makes a self-deprecating remark about having a "senior moment," but he is still as mentally and physically sharp as a man half his age. Although he relies on his colleagues to do research, provide advice, and help execute strategy, Allon is the man you want on the ground when everything is on the line.

Silva delivers an enlightening glimpse into the inner workings of the Vatican, the serious problem of stolen antiquities, and the convoluted ways in which terror organizations raise money to conduct their bloody operations. As usual, the author holds our attention with his fast-paced, action-filled, and suspenseful plot. Can Gabriel and company prevent a cataclysmic event from upsetting the world's delicate balance of power? Allon's almost superhuman ability to vanquish his enemies requires a sizeable suspension of disbelief. Still, fans of this "legendary operative" and "gifted but melancholic loner" will likely find Silva's latest entry every bit as diverting as its predecessors.
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on July 18, 2012
Others have reviewed the book and story. As a writer, I not only read for entertainment and story, but for style and flow in an effort to make me a better writer. Daniel Silva is a master! His writing style is of the best quality. He doesn't insult the reader's intelligence with nonsensical crude unnecessary language as so many contemporary authors are doing more and more. Silva brings Gabriel Allon to life. He is an old friend and someone to whom the reader can easily relate. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of reading Daniel Silva--and Gabriel Allon--is the masterful plotting in the style of the great British mystery writers who spent more time weaving a good story instead of shocking a reader with obscene drivel. If you like quality writing AND a good story, this is the one for you!
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on July 17, 2012
In Gabriel Allon's world, a world of art restoration and beauty, lies an undertone of the spy he once was for the Mossad, where life is precious.

While restoring a Carvaggio to its former glory, a female curate falls from near the top of the Basilica at St. Peters. Only in Gabriel's world would a Catholic priest ask him to "look around, but don't ask too many questions". This is the same Catholic church that in our world is one scandal from oblivion. The death of the curate from one of the Vatican's museums could be the lynch pin to pull the church to the ground. Ask too many questions? I believe they asked the wrong person!

Gabriel and his wife Chiara are not noted for being low-key. Anywhere they go bodies seem to just drop from the sky. While the Vatican would love for the death to be just a suicide, Gabriel knows better, so how to discover the cause of her death without asking "too many questions"?

Then there's what the curator was working on, and it's somehow related to either a terrorist group or the Mob. Or worse, Hezbollah, which makes both look like school kids throwing rocks. Hezbollah is noted for wanting Israel wiped off the face of the earth. So how does an ex-Mossad spy get back into the fray without anyone knowing what he's trying to achieve?

From Rome, to Paris, to St. Moritz, to Berlin, to northern Denmark, and then Vienna whatever happens in Gabriel's world could affect our own.

All our old favorite characters are present to support Gabriel: Ari Sharom, Uzi Navot, and the new Mossad leader Eli Lavon. All are terrified for Gabriel as well as their country and the rest of the world.

Only in the fertile mind of Daniel Silva are these answered and many more questions examined.

"The Fallen Angel" will keep you turning pages, afraid that you will miss one word, rolling and sliding from one page to the next and not wanting to wait another minute to discover how the Catholic church, Hezbollah, and Gabriel will survive yet another of Silva's masterpieces.

Of all Daniel Silva's 15 novels, this is by far the best. While this book builds on his past books, it can and does stand on its own.
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on July 25, 2012
I studied the holocaust when I did my BA. When I did my history major I took more than one course in the history of Judaism and what occurred in Germany during WW2. I am not Jewish but my parents schooled me in right versus wrong and who is our real friend when the times get tough. I wanted to know why my Dad at the age of 20 had to go drop bombs on my German cousins. He did it out of a sense of duty, purpose and frankly because unlike millions in Europe then and now he like other Americans hated bullies. Will not tolerate seeing people maligned, degraded, isolated and marked for destruction. I hate bullies in the same way he did and if he were alive he'd have loved this book to. This book The Fallen Angel made me think, grow angry, and weep for joy. The reality of the Middle East and the issues that Israel is facing are not some sort of reality show we can turn off. They are real. It is going on now and everyday. The lies being told by certain groups are catestrophic not just to the Jewish people but to us all and sometimes only a fiction writer can say these things. Silva in my estimation is one of the bravest men around. I applaud him for that.
Suffice it to say Daniel Silva not only succinctly brings up these issues of the origins of our Jewish brothers and sisters but the way history can be disguarded and destroyed by people who do not wish to accept facts. Facts and accepting them bring a person to the absolute truth. Disregarding facts, destroying evidence brings a person or people to an absolute lie. Anyone who has read the book will understand what I mean and for those who haven't read it, please do.
No one will be disappointed in this book. I feel its Silva's best so far and that proves the auther merely goes out of his way to one up himself. Well done. BRAVO!
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on July 18, 2012
I anticipate Silva's new releases and plan accordingly. This entry in the long running series does not disappoint.

Gabriel Allon is living in Italy, restoring a masterpiece for the Vatican. The private secretary to the Pope asks for his help when a young woman's body is found in the Basilica. While the world is left to believe it was suicide, Gabriel sets out to find the murderer.

The investigation takes him into the world of stolen antiquities and to the knowledge that these treasures are being used to finance terrorism. Of course Ari Shamron and the 'Office' become involved. The 'Barak' - the nine men and women who have become Gabriel's personal strike force are brought together.

Silva is a master storyteller. The plot would be enough, the characters are worth the read alone - but his prose sets him apart.

Silva has been and remains my favorite author. He never disappoints. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
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on July 24, 2012
I awaited the next Allon installment with trepidation. I was concerned it would be another book about Allon coming out of retirement, a female asset going under cover and being put into a life threatening situation from which only Allon could rescue her.
Unfortunately, with a commitment of one book a year, Silva is becoming rote in his story outline and there was much similar in this book to many others. I also felt it took a while for the book to get up and running and it wasn't as smooth as previous books.
Also, somehow Dani became Daniel a few times in this editing error in the rush to get out the annual book. His son had never been referred to as Daniel before.
Silva is a talented writer who I hope can come up with a new framework for future writing. I would like to see Mikhail come into his own as well as Sarah to be involved. Or perhaps, an entire different set of characters.
I felt the series would have had a delightful end two books ago as Shamron said good-bye to Allon on the cliffs in England.
It was a good read...but I felt I had read it before.

ETC: whom v. who....
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Daniel Silva returns to the publishing world with a new Gabriel Allon book every year, in July, like clockwork. This year's "model" is "The Fallen Angel" and Silva has produced a stylish book that does not seem to have the problems of Silva's few previous books which were good stories but peopled with characters who were somewhat stagnant in their development. Most were still around after their "sell-by" dates. The last couple of reviews, I praised the plots but complained about Gabriel Allon - still the tormented art restorer/spy/assassin, his young, nubile and impossibly beautiful wife, Chiara, his former boss, Ari Shomron, still the aging-out-of-this-life lion of King Saul Street, and the other old standbys, whose lives seemed to be as unchanged as Silva could make them and still produce a book with a plot.

Silva's 2012 Gabriel Allon is now in Rome, restoring a priceless work of art by Caravagio (ALL works of art by Caravagio are priceless, I think) in the Vatican. He and Chiara are trying to get their lives back after last summer's dramatic activities, as recounted in "Portrait of a Spy". While working in the Vatican, he's called in to investigate the death of an Italian art historian doing work on Vatican treasures. The Vatican, like museums everywhere, had some art that was of dubious provenance. In investigating the death of the art historian, Gabriel and Chiara, working as a team, discover other deaths, Mafia connections, and, of course, terrorism plots. The action continues as a long-time reader of Daniel Silva has come to expect.

As a book reviewer, I've always tried to review books against an author's back list, if possible. You can't compare Daniel Silva with Leo Tolstoy - nor would you want to - so I compare "Angel" to "Portrait" and the others in the series. By using the past as the yardstick for the present, I can confidently give Silva's newest "model" five stars. But this year I'm happy to report that the woodenness of the characters (who sometimes approach caricatures of "Israel spy", "Unbelievably gorgeous Italian chick", etc) is a little less apparent. They're sorta, anyway, approaching "real". I was not alone in pointing this out in reviews of Silva's previous books; many other reviewers did, too.

This year's book, "The Fallen Angel" is another good Daniel Silva novel. With more believable characters. A bonus.
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on July 28, 2012
After completing his latest assignment for the "Office" Allon is back doing his favorite occupation, restoring paintings. He is working in the Vatican. He
is summoned by Monsignor Luigi Donati. There has been a murder-suicide in the Vatican, A prominent person in the world of art has been found dead. This
person is Claudia Andreatti. Donati wants Gabriel to investigate to prevent scandal for the Vatican. Gabriel discovers that Carlo Marchese, a very shady
character on the Vatican Bank Board is running a criminal operation out of the Vatican Bank. Allon also finds that David Girard in conjunction with Carlo
Marchese is helping to fund Hezbollah.Due to photo surveillance the "Office" learns that Massoud Rahimi a Hezbollah terrorist is helping with the effort.
When Gabriel attempts to visit Girard he is injured in a bombing which also kills Girard. There are rumors that Hezbollah is fixing to stage an attack. The
"Office" and Gabriel kidnap Massoud. They learn where the attack is going to be. They are able to thwart it. The Pope is going to visitt Israel at Easter.
On his actual journey he praises Israel. He is going to make a speech at the Temple Mount. Dina from the Office discovers a plot conducted by Iman Hasson Darwish to explode a bomb and kill the Pope as well as thousands more.In rushing to stop the explosion Gabriel and the rest of the group find evidence of the First Temple. This is without question one of the best Silva books ever. Be sure to read it.
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on August 3, 2012
I've read all the other Daniel Silva creations and Gabriel is great in all of them, including this one. The plot is quite credible and the historical background of Jerusalem is faboulous. My disappointment lay in the almost anti-climatic finish of all of the key scenes. The book ends that way too, the bad guy gets shot and the ticking bomb somehow, I guess, gets defused by a Special Op team that comes in after the villain is killed. But there is no suspense associated with the bomb defusing. Only Gabriel gets to return to his lovely wife Chiara and into retirement again, until the next novel anyway. Informative, but not a suspense filled book, could have been better. Kindle edition.
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on July 24, 2012
The body of a female is found in St. Peter's Basilica. At first glance, it is assumed to be a suicide. That theory doesn't hold water for long, though. The scene looks suspicious, and the woman, who worked in antiquities, had displayed no sign of impending thoughts of suicide. But with the scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church these days, Pope Paul VII needs someone to quietly investigate and deflect attention from the specter of a murderer in their midst. His right-hand man, Monsignor Donati, takes care of it.

"Not surprisingly, the monsignor chose as his inquisitor a man much like himself. A fallen angel in black. A sinner in the city of saints."

Gabriel Allon has been in retirement since his last assignment. He worked for the secret Israeli agency known only as The Office. He and his wife, Chiara, have been enjoying some well-earned peace. Lately, Gabriel has been spending his days restoring an age-ravaged Caravaggio at the conservation lab of the Vatican. So when he arrives at the basilica the morning of the grisly discovery, he is approached by Donati and quickly taken aside for a hushed conference. His immediate response: Find someone else. If only that were possible. No time passes before Gabriel's old professionalism takes over, and he begins a discreet inquiry into the woman's movements in the days leading up to her death.

What began as an effort to ferret out the truth behind tragic circumstances and implement a sort of media whitewash soon blossoms into a full-scale terrorist hunt, with some interesting ties to stolen antiquities. Each clue Gabriel follows reveals signs of a more ingenious and devastating plot. With impending dread, he realizes that the worldwide repercussions will be huge if he doesn't stop them.

The timing centers on Good Friday. This year, Pope Paul VII wants to deliver a special message from the old city of Jerusalem. Gabriel would like nothing more than to dissuade His Holiness from these plans, but the pope remains steadfast. His message must get through. The ancient holy lands need to return to their beginnings, and bitter enemies have to put aside their differences and learn to live together. That all sounds commendable, but Gabriel has his doubts about the outcome. Vowing to do his best, he soon finds himself back in Israel, assembling a formidable group of well-trained spies. Even the retired director, Ari Shamron, stands by to offer his valued opinion.

Gabriel keeps Chiara away from the action, but pulls in Uzi Navot and his team of the best agents in Israel, maybe in any country. Time is short, and there's a parade of decoys and false clues aimed at throwing Gabriel off the scent. He is up against some of the most brilliant criminals in his career, ones who are quite rich and have a seemingly bottomless hatred for Israel and all things Jewish. He will need to use all his training, intuition and life experiences to come out of this alive. Then, if he does, can he finally say those three little words: "Find someone else"?

More than ever, Daniel Silva is at the top of his game with THE FALLEN ANGEL. The series has proven to be an extraordinarily intelligent look into the world of terrorism, with an almost frightening sense of pairing to the real-world happenings around us. If you aren't yet a fan of Gabriel Allon, you will be after reading this latest installment. Silva has an uncanny way of scaring his readers half to death. Just try sleeping once you've finished this book.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers
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