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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Londonistan"
Daniel Silva has yet again written a novel that at the same time will entertain and scare the hell out of you; a novel as well researched and believable as LeCarre in his Cold War glory days, but moving at the pace of Follett or Forsythe at the top of their story-telling skills.

In "The Secret Servant", Gabriel Allon, the avenging angel of Israel's formidable...
Published on September 15, 2007 by Gary Griffiths

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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a thriller
This is not a bad novel by any means, but readers expecting a fast paced and suspenseful thriller - as I was - may be left feeling disappointed.

The first half of the book was great. It felt realistic, compelling and tense. However the action ground to a halt around the midway mark. (My husband actually gave up on it at this point). It continued in fits and...
Published on November 22, 2007 by Julia Flyte


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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Londonistan", September 15, 2007
By 
Gary Griffiths (Los Altos Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Daniel Silva has yet again written a novel that at the same time will entertain and scare the hell out of you; a novel as well researched and believable as LeCarre in his Cold War glory days, but moving at the pace of Follett or Forsythe at the top of their story-telling skills.

In "The Secret Servant", Gabriel Allon, the avenging angel of Israel's formidable secret service, is back to do battle again with the ever-rising tide of radical Islam terrorism. Sent to Amsterdam on a seemingly routine mission to clean up after an assassinated undercover agent, Allon unwittingly uncovers an Al Qaeda-like plot which leads him to London and Elizabeth Halton, the daughter of the US Ambassador to The United Kingdom. Unable - barely - to thwart Elizabeth's kidnapping, Allon sets out with his familiar cast of "citizens of the night" from Tel Aviv's intelligence service, taking him on what I thought his most challenging and harrowing assignment since the days of his youth when he was summoned to wreck vengeance on the Black September perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

While the main course in "Secret Service" is harrowing suspense and action, told with brutal force and free-flowing blood, the venue here is the very real and very dangerous Islamification of Europe. And while Silva's popularity certainly suffers from blunt talk that may offend the more sensitive or liberal-minded readers, this is a straightforward and intelligent dissection of the threats facing the west today. But it is hardly simple, one-sided, Zionist rhetoric, for while there is no doubt on which side of the conflict Silva falls, he paints a surprisingly balanced picture of the enormity of the issue, wrapping his fiction around radical Islam's rise from the brutal poverty in ghettos in Middle east, fomenting hate fueled by the blunders of the west, and especially of the secular governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In short, gripping fiction with all the right adrenalin charged superlatives. But while the ending may be predictable, and the story is one that you'll recall with each new tale of terrorism in the headlines, "The Secret Servant" falls short on redemption, knowing that while individual acts of terror may be thwarted, the larger war rages on just below the that level of collective conscience we'd prefer not to acknowledge.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Reading, August 10, 2007
By 
John R. Linnell (New Gloucester, ME United States) - See all my reviews
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I started my last review of a Silva book by noting that whatever else one says about him, he does not sugar coat his message. After finishing his seventh novel involving the Israeli art restorer, assassin and intelligence officer, Gabriel Allon, I can reliably report that nothing has changed.

In the story that unfolds is the very a very grim depiction of what is becoming the "Islamification" of Europe.

In the opening chapter an Israeli asset by the name of Solomon Rosner, a professor of scociology at the University of Amsterdam has caused a bit of a stir by writing a book entitled, "The Islamic Conquest of the West." In the book Rosner argues that Holland is currently under a sustained and systematic attack by jihadist Islam, the goal of which is to turn it into a majority Muslim state. The Dutch press looked upon the warning as "hysterical claptrap" and pronounced that what the situation needed was tolerance and dialogue. The book and the Dutch response to it made Rosner the most vilified and most celebrated man in Holland. An imam instructed his following that "Rosner the Jew must be dealt with harshly."
He was. Murdered on the street.

That murder sets in motion a series of events which involves Allon in trying to thwart the terrorists plans. The story is fast paced, intriguing, inormative and scary. Typical Silva, which means a fine read is in store for those that venture into the world according to this author, which unfortunately is a world we are all slowly coming to recognize.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to read the rest of the Gabriel Allon novels, September 17, 2007
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I like to follow a character through several novels, Jack Ryan, Scott Harvath, Alex Hawke to name a few. I like authors who do the research for what's going on in todays world. Often these plot lines are based on sources inside intelligent services with deferance to security of course. Bottom line, most of this stuff is happening somewhere in the world. This was the first novel by Daniel Silva i have read and I'm hooked, going to buy the rest. Very nicely paced, great action and intrigue. Picked it up on a recomendation on the radio, finished it in 3 days. Buy it.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a thriller, November 22, 2007
This is not a bad novel by any means, but readers expecting a fast paced and suspenseful thriller - as I was - may be left feeling disappointed.

The first half of the book was great. It felt realistic, compelling and tense. However the action ground to a halt around the midway mark. (My husband actually gave up on it at this point). It continued in fits and starts, but there's something kind of wrong when you're 70 pages from the end of a thriller and don't feel compelled to see how it's going to finish. The ending dragged on and was underwhelming.

I also felt that the book was let down by the leaden dialogue - people speaking in explanations, saying things like: "you mean the covenant that forbids you from operating on European soil without first obtaining permission from the security service of the country involved" or "Islamic extremism is just the latest virus to thrive in Europe's nurturing environment" - people don't talk like that! On the other hand, Daniel Silva is very good at conveying a sense of location and I felt he nailed the mindset of an Israeli secret service agent.

I should mention that this was the first novel by Silva that I have read. In itself that did not affect my enjoyment of this book, although there did seem to be a lot of conversations between characters referring to action that took place in previous Gabriel Allon outings and if you are new to the series, it would probably be better to start with an earlier novel.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Allon Yarn, July 1, 2008
By 
Rick Mitchell "Rick Mitchell" (candia, new hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon) (Mass Market Paperback)
Mr. Silva is one of the most consistent writers today. Even this, another installment of the Gabriel Allon series, is fresh and remains exciting. Although this is a series, the novel stands alone. It is nice to know the players, but you can start with this one and go back to the older ones without a problem.

This time Allon, an Israeli operative, starts in Denmark and ends up in London - or Londonistan as it seems. There are the usual bouts of intrique, sleuthing and thrills as he seeks his quarry. The tension builds to a fever pitch as Allon is knowingly thrown into the brink with little to no support. He is left to go where no government will sanction.

What separates Mr. Silva from the usual writers of the spy novel genre writers is his underlying message. Without beating the reader over the head or proselytizing, he alerts the reader to the state of the world and terrorist threats today. His afterword is a very understated emphasis of the threat of Islamist terrorists in Europe. This novel posits the theory, espoused by many, that Britain is now the primary target for jihadists.

Despite the sobering context, this is an intelligent and exciting spy thriller. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silva gets better and better!, August 22, 2007
I am a Daniel Silva addict and simply can not wait until his books come out. I have read everything that he has written and recommended his books to as many people as I can buttonhole. Although I urge everyone to read the Gabriel Allon series from the beginning, this latest book: The Secret Servant is so monumentally outstanding and such a fabulous read that I urge those readers who have not yet fallen under the Daniel Silva spell to run...not walk...to Amazon's website and scoff this book up. Without a doubt, this is his best book of them all...and that is saying a huge a lot. My advice: get it on a Friday or suffer the consequences of not being able to go to work for a day or two. I will not share any of the plot line here as others can do that better. But...if the summer is fading over the horizon and you need a good book with which to laze about in the sun , THIS HAS TO BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. And if you are just getting into his writing, what a marvellous introduction. After you read it, go back to his first Gabriel Allon book and follow them sequentially so you get the full impact.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are the Israelis Always Right?, January 2, 2011
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This "terrorist" story is very good, contemporary, reasonably realistic, modern, and timely -- with only a few unbelievable twists and turns too many. It required too many pages to get to the ultimate resolution.

It's well written, however, as are all of Silva's books and easy to read, although my Kindle version contained way too many misspellings, and grammatical muck-ups. In short, I enjoyed "Secret Servant" and easily recommend it to anyone hooked on this genre.

What's tiresome is Silva's obsession with promulgating Israeli propaganda.

What's absent in this Gabriel Allon story is the graceful elegance of Allon's art. At the end this feature, so delightfully present in almost all others in this series, is replaced with the half-sappy "surprise" wedding as filler to get to the real ending, which neatly ties up loose story ends - an absolute let-down.

In fact, the entire denouement is anticlimactic, a pitifully weak follow up to the page-turning exciting earlier plot escapades.

As usual scenes are better done than characters, and characters are better done than dialogue. Women characters are all stereotypic stick figures, and the dialogue between Allon and Shamron is a face-reddening embarrassment.

For what it is, it's a 3.2, rounded down to a 3.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silva's Best Yet, September 25, 2007
Once again, a seemingly benign case leads Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy, into a complex plot. This time Islamic extremists capture the American ambassador to England's daughter. Allon is requested to assist in the recover operation. This novel is Silva's best yet. A real page turner. I won't spoil the plot but I am already looking forward to Silva's next. I am afraid he will somehow change the character since it is time for Allon to move up the ranks within his organization to director. Enjoy
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silva teaches us AGAIN!, August 22, 2007
This is Silva's best novel! Not only is the drama and intrigue so exciting, but Silva captured me in a way that sent me to begin understanding the world Muslim movement. Any study of the Muslim world compells you to question the "West" and their political policies. I enjoyed this book more than all the rest and highly recommend it. Silva gives sources that are valuable to begin a study of the forces in which his "fiction" is based upon.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another quality Gabriel Allon..., August 19, 2007
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Daniel Silva is one of the best writers of thrillers today, and The Secret Servant is another crowd-pleaser in his ever popular Gabriel Allon series.

Allon would love to work fulltime as one of the best art restorers in Europe. Unfortunately, he is also a trained assassin for The Office, Israeli's secret service. Professor Solomon Rosner lives in Amsterdam and is a voice against jihadist Islam. He is also an "asset" to The Office, reporting on terrorist activities. When Rosner is murdered in his home city, Allon is sent to Amsterdam to purge his files of anything that may tie the former professor to Israel. But Allon finds much more than he expected, including an explosive plot orchestrated by The Sphinx to murder thousands in London, as well as to kidnap the daughter of the American ambassador. He is thrust into service with the American, the English and the Dutch intelligence communities, trying to prevent widespread death and destruction. But of course, this comes at great personal risk.

Silva has a way of working his novels around the current events of the day. He speaks of the dying of Europe, "The Europeans thought they could take in millions of immigrants from the poorest regions of the Muslim world and turn them into good little social democrats in a single generation." According to Allon, "'Islamic extremism is just the latest virus to thrive in Europe's nurturing environment.'" The political situation in Egypt also figures prominently into The Secret Servant, as hard-line Muslims try to seize control of the country. But while much of The Secret Servant deals with very serious themes, there are some comical situations between the different intelligence branches, as well as a big surprise at the end. Also, the regular Silva characters are back including Adrian Carter (CIA), Ari Shamron, Uzi Navot, Chiara, Eli Lavon and even Sarah Bancroft makes an appearance (from The Messenger).

There are many authors who produce a series book once a year or so--whether they have something to say, or not. But when Daniel Silva publishes a book, you can expect a story with quality.
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The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon)
The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon) by Daniel Silva (Mass Market Paperback - June 24, 2008)
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