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The Kill Artist Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 6th Printing edition (April 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451209338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451209337
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (518 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
Former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon is drawn back into the game to take on a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel's past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...

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

The tragedy of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and despair of its resolution provide the backdrop for Silva's (The Unlikely Spy) heart-stopping, complex yarn of international terrorism and intrigue. Israeli master spy Ari Shamron sets an intricate plot in motion to lure deadly Palestinian assassin Tariq al-Hourani into his net. Art restorer Gabriel Allon, a former Israeli agent whose family was killed by Tariq, is lured back into the fray by Shamron and teamed with Jacqueline Delacroix, a French supermodel/Israeli secret agent whose grandparents died in the Holocaust. Gabriel sets up in London to monitor Yusef, Tariq's fellow terrorist and confidant. Jacqueline is assigned to seduce him in hopes of intercepting Tariq, who is devising a plan to kill Israel's prime minister during peace talks with Arafat in New YorkDand he has similar plans for Gabriel. The tortuous plot leading the various parties to the showdown in Manhattan is a thrilling roller-coaster ride, keeping readers guessing until the mind-bending conclusion. Sensitive to both sides of the conflict, the narrative manages to walk a political tightrope while examining the motivations of Palestinians and Israelis alike. The duplicity and secret financial juggling to keep government hands clean is personified in publishing mogul Benjamin Stone, who backs the Israeli efforts. He is just one of many larger-than-life characters (both real and invented) thrown into the mixDArafat himself has a tense encounter with Tariq that underscores the volatility of terrorist loyalty. An array of global locales adds to the complexity and authenticity of the dizzying, cinematic plot. (Dec.) Forecast: The popular success of Silva's first two novels and the timeliness of this one suggest escalating sales. Random is backing the title with major ad/promo, including a six-city author tour.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.


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Customer Reviews

The story provides action, excitement, intrigue and plot twists up to the very end.
Timothy J. Kindler
The Kill Artist is the first book in Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series and is a good start to a great series!
Cynthia K. Robertson
Around this character and in this world, Daniel Silva creates wonderful stories and he tells them with style.
J. Hanna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

211 of 216 people found the following review helpful By Ima Reader on July 6, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is chronologically the first in the Gabriel Allon series.

Chronological Order:
1. The Kill Artist
2. The English Assassin
3. The Confessor
4. Death in Venice
5. Prince of Fire
6. The Messenger

In this book, Gabriel, a former assassin for Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad (which translates into English as "The Institution") retired after the murders of his wife and son to lead a quiet life as an art restorer, one who fixes the wounded past. Gabriel's ex-boss, Ari Shamron, an Israeli spymaster a la George Smiley but more treacherous, convinces Gabriel to leave his sheltered hermitage to hunt down Tariq, the assassin who killed Gabriel's family, before he can kill again. In an exquisitely wrought plot of treachery and counter-treachery, Silva explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from many, many angles.

I don't read spy fiction as a genre. I don't read anything as a genre. I read great writers, pretty much no matter what they write. I've read a lot of John Le Carre, and one of the few criticisms that I have of his work is that his spies play a gentleman's game. However, Le Carre's spies are deeply human and British.

Silva's spies are not gentlemen, and this is no gentlemen's game. This is hard and dirty intelligence work by one of the hardest and dirtiest intelligence services on the planet. The Mossad is charged with keeping tiny Israel's formidable opponents at bay, and you don't do that by playing fair. Gabriel's Mossad plays entirely unfairly, as it must, as it does in real life. In this book, Jacqueline/Sarah is used as a "honey trap," and Silva lightly explores what it does to a woman to prostitute oneself for a good cause.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By C. Cunningham on May 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Gabriel Allon is "the Kill Artist"; a former assassin who worked clandestinely for the Israeli government. When we first meet him he is living in a remote English seaside village and working as an art restorer, a cover he used frequently during his covert operations. He is soon called out of retirement by his former boss, Ari Shamron, head of Israeli intelligence, and a calculating man with his own agenda...one that may cost Gabriel his life. Ari needs Gabriel's talents to track down Tariq, an Palestinian assassin whose killing rampage is threatening the Middle East peace negotiations. Tariq and Gabriel have met before when Gabriel killed Tariq's brother in a very brutal manner, and Tariq avenged that death with a killing of his own...Gabriel's wife and son, making this a story of international intrigue and personal revenge. The stage is now set for a major showdown, but they must first cover three continents and weave through an array of cultures and characters to find each other. Gabriel is assisted by his former intelligence co-worker, a beautiful French girl named Jacqueline, whose family was killed in the Holocaust. Jacqueline is hesitant to join Gabriel on this assignment, but in the end it is love that prevails, and she plunges head first into Tariq's lair, a deadly trap that Gabriel may not be able to get her out of in time to save her life.
What I love about Daniel Silva is his smooth and uncomplicated style. He has a "rhythm" to his writing that hooks you somewhere in the beginning and stays with you long after you finish the book. It took me a little longer to warm up to these characters, probably because there isn't a lot happening in the way of relationships as there is in his other book _The Mark Of The Assassin_.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By "male_pattern_b" on January 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is truly a rollercoaster!! The plot similar to the popular amusent park thrill ride because it keeps you on the edge of your seat through an array of dips and turns. Unfortunately, the writing style is also rollercoaster-esque. When Silva is on his game, the writing is brilliant: smooth, hilarious, and affecting. When he isn't (which seems all too often during the middle chapters), the writing is choppy and predictable. I'm a humongous Silva fan though, believe me! His plots have always been easy to follow and The Kill Artist is no different (Definitely a plus!). Hopefully, Silva will keep producing easy-to-follow thriller novels but will keep the rollercoasting to simply the plot, not the writing style as well!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Trimble VINE VOICE on May 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book in the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. Allon is the reluctant part time spy working for Israeli Intelligence whose covert skills are the stuff of legend within the small community of "secret agents". His cover skills are those of professional art restoration, primarily "old masters" paintings and sculpture, for which his talents in that field are world renown.

While this may be the first book (as of this review there are 5) in the series, it is not necessary to read this book first, since the book takes place at a time in the life of Gabriel Allon when he has already forsaken his work as a spy. We learn about Allon's past and his initiation into the world of spying through flashback and his past is not necessarily central to the story. Other books in the series take the reader into Gabriel's past just as effectively and therefore you don't really have to start with this book to understand what Gabriel is all about.

Daniel Silva has a true gift for captivating plot and character development. The characters in his books are self reflecting and you really begin to understand the emotional turmoil that goes with the work of tracking down punishing international terrorists. This book is an exciting weekend read! Silva has Gabriel on the trail of Tariq the Palestinian terrorist bent on derailing the peace process. Tariq and Gabriel are not strangers to one another, as Gabriel is the man who mercilessly killed Tariq's older brother and as revenge Tariq exploded a car that contained Gabriel's wife and only son. The "bad blood" between these two enemies plays out across Europe and North America in a fast paced thriller that both memorable and very enjoyable. The surprises and betrayals extend beyond the exciting climatic confrontation between Gabriel and Tariq, and are just part of what makes this book so entertaining.
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