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The Messenger (Gabriel Allon Novels) Mass Market Paperback – July 3, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Gabriel Allon Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451221729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451221728
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (374 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
The #1 national bestseller from the author of Prince of Fire

On the trail of a deadly al-Qaeda operative, Gabriel Allon returns in a spellbinding story of deception, power, and revenge by the New York Times bestselling "world-class practitioner of spy fiction" (Washington Post).

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

Bestseller Silva continues to warrant comparisons to John le Carré, as shown by his latest thriller starring Israeli art restorer and spymaster Gabriel Allon. Ahmed bin Shafiq, a former chief of a clandestine Saudi intelligence unit, targets the Vatican for attack, in particular Pope Paul VII and his top aide, Monsignor Luigi Donati, who both appeared in Silva's previous novel, Prince of Fire. Shafiq, who now heads his own terrorist network, is allied with a militant Islamic Saudi businessman known as Zizi, a true believer committed to the destruction of all infidels. Gabriel's challenge is to infiltrate Zizi's organization, a task he assigns to a beautiful American art expert, Sarah Bancroft. Gabriel promises he'll protect her, but plans go awry, and by the end Sarah faces torture and death. While Sarah's fate is never in doubt, the way Silva resolves his plot will keep readers right where he wants them: on the edges of their seats.
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.

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

Great plot, vivid details, fast paced action.
David Baker
You will definitely have a hard time putting the book down.
I liked the characters and the setting of this story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Messenger by Daniel Silva is the most recent in his Gabriel Allon series, and I think it is the best of the bunch.

The Messenger opens in London where a professor of Middle Eastern studies is suspected of having Al-Qaeda ties. The Israeli Secret Service is on his tail when he is killed in an accident. The laptop he was carrying proves that not only was he a recruiter, but that he also was involved in an intricate plot against the Vatican.

Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is once again sent out into the field, trying to avert a tragedy in Rome. At the same time, the agency decides to find the source of terrorist funding through Saudi sources. The Israelis and the CIA concoct an intricate plot to discover the location of a Saudi terrorist financier. The plot involves a beautiful American art curator and an unknown Van Gogh painting.

The Messenger is such a good book in that Silva ties in so many things that are happening today. Al-Qaeda is planning terrorist acts, Saudis are financing the terrorists and can't be touched by the Americans, and the Americans are involved in covert and sometimes illegal operations. The plot of The Messenger is fast-paced and exciting, and it's one of Silva's strongest efforts yet. While Gabriel Allon still plays a major role in The Messenger, Sarah Bancroft (the American art expert who infiltrates a terror group) steals the show.

I have read all of Silva's Allon books except the first one, The Kill Artist, which I just obtained. While it might help to read them in order, it is not as critical as in some other series.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In Daniel Silva's "The Messenger," Ari Shamron, special advisor to the Israeli prime minister on security and intelligence, once again lures art restorer (and master spy) Gabriel Allon out of retirement. However, before Allon can decide whether or not he wants the job that Shamron offers him, two deadly terror attacks change both men's priorities.

Adrian Carter, acting as an intermediary for the President of the United States, urges Allon to "run an agent" into the inner circle of Saudi billionaire Abdul Aziz al-Bakari. Al-Bakari, also known as "Zizi," is a well-known supporter of Ahmed bin Shafiq, the mastermind behind a number of bombings that have taken the lives of many of the Western "infidels" whom he despises. The person chosen to get close to Zizi is Sarah Bancroft, a beautiful art historian and curator. Sarah's bait will be a previously undiscovered Van Gogh that she will offer to Zizi, an ardent collector with a fondness for Impressionists. Allon hopes that, with Sarah's assistance, he will be able to find and eliminate not only Zizi, but also his close friend, bin Shafiq. However, Gabriel's plans hit some unanticipated snags, placing both the intelligence operation and Sarah's life in grave danger.

"The Messenger" is another timely and entertaining novel from the talented Silva, who writes knowledgeably about the volatile political, economic, and military situation in the Middle East. As usual, the author has done his homework. The narrative is filled with engrossing and realistic details about art, spying, and the endless conflict between the world's democracies and the Islamic extremists who oppose them. Although the story's conclusion feels a bit rushed, Silva redeems himself with his crisp dialogue, exciting action sequences, and fine descriptive writing. "The Messenger" is an absorbing and thoughtful spy thriller that is extremely relevant in today's age of global terrorism.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on February 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Silva's series of thrillers featuring Israeli assassin/world-class Renaissance painting restorer Gabriel Allon continues to amaze. Now into his sixth book, Allon is starting to leave behind more pedestrian thriller-heroes and join the ranks of the elite (such as Lee Child's fantastic anti-hero, Jack Reacher).

Allon, who at the behest of Golda Meir once killed six of the members of Black September who led the attack at the Munich Olympics, is aging. His mentor, Shamron, is sick. The Prime Minister wants to replace Shamron with Allon, which would mean that Allon's field days are over.

This is a logical step for Allon, who is indeed getting on in years. But since it would be the death of the series, Silva creates a meaningful reason for Allon to keep Allon in the field - a terrorist attack in the heart of the Vatican that nearly kills the Pope. Remember, this is a Pope whose life Allon has saved, and Allon is in the Vatican at the time of the attack. As a result, Allon gets personally involved in tracking down the terrorists responsible.

This leads to an in-depth examination of what Silva terms as "Jihad, Inc." One of Saudi Arabia's richest men heads a global empire of high finance and terrorism. With an army of lawyers and well-funded academics (not to mention soldiers), the Saudi billionaire Zizi funds terrorist operations as he and his family sail the seven seas in the finest luxury. Allon decides that he must get an agent inside Jihad, Inc.

To that end, he recruits Sarah, a perfect American candidate. Sarah's training is handled perfectly by Silva, as is the ruse Allon uses to insert her into Zizi's lair - the discovery of Vincent Van Gogh's last painting.
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