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The Black Widow Hardcover – July 12, 2016
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“A literary powder keg.” (Huffington Post)
-”An exceptional spy thriller, well written and timely, weaving history seamlessly into a sumptuous page-turner of a novel.... Longtime fans will revel in familiar faces... and Silva’s understated but deft writing.... For newcomers, well, what are you waiting for?” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Silva builds suspense like a symphony conductor.... A winner on all fronts.” (Booklist, starred review)
“The Black Widow probably is the most important book of the summer, no matter who you are or where you live in America.” (Hugh Hewitt)
“Slow-burn suspense.... We stayed up way too late... but we justified the sleeplessness as a learning opportunity: amidst the action, Silva gives a surprisingly thorough crash course in the history of ISIS and the Middle East.” (iBooks Reviews)
“To say that Daniel Silva is a best-selling author is a bit like saying Henry Aaron was a decent home-run hitter.” (Dallas News)
“One of fiction’s greatest spies.... Allon remains as compelling as ever…. A dark thriller for difficult times.” (Kirkus, starred review)
“Fascinating, suspenseful, and bated-breath exciting.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“A stunning new thriller of high stakes international intrigue…. Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet.” (Broadway World)
From the Back Cover
A Network of Terror
A web of Deceit
A Deadly Game of Vengeance
Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he strikes again.
They call him Saladin . . .
He is a terrorist mastermind whose ambition is as grand as his nom de guerre, a man so elusive that even his nationality is not known. Shielded by sophisticated encryption software, his network communicates in total secrecy, leaving the West blind to his planning—and leaving Gabriel no choice but to insert an agent into the most dangerous terrorist group the world has ever known. She is an extraordinary young doctor, as brave as she is beautiful. At Gabriel’s behest, she will pose as an ISIS recruit in waiting, a ticking time bomb, a black widow out for blood.
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Hardcover : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006232022X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062320223
- Publisher : Harper; First Edition (July 12, 2016)
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.61 x 9 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #161,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I know I am in the minority. Mr. Silva used to write about NAZI hunters getting killed in VIENNA by Nazis who got financial support from clerics. Vienna was a city in which his character GABRIEL came in posing as an art restorer. In this book the Prize for Gabriel is a VAN GOGH worth a million pounds. Silva has an attitude towards Europe as bordering on contempt and to him the only place for A JEW is Israel. Ok but why bother to write in English when your audience is only the JEWS IN ISRAEL. Why should a girl be brainwashed in order to risk her life when after all she is only the creature of GABRIEL and he gets out of it a VAN GOGH painting.?Gabriel does not demonstrate any feeling towards CARAVAGGIO who painted scenes involving early CHRISTIAN martyrs. It reminds me of the Israeli tourist groups shown around Church frescoes who are more interested in finding a toilet for their kids..Let those who enjoy Silva's novels continue to do so . I do feel that Muslim extremiusm is dangerous but
to treat Europe in the way Silva does is to ignore the positive aspects of Western civilisation.
In this book, ‘The Black Widow’, the Office (Israel’s intelligence agency) finds itself in the middle of a hunt for Saladin, the new leader of ISIS, who is planning a series of terrorist strikes in America. Gabriel and crew hook up with the French and the Jordanians, and somewhat reluctantly with the Americans, to locate and stop Saladin before he can complete his attacks. They recruit a French national and train her to pose as a radicalized Muslim who wants to join ISIS and help with the war against the West. The story follows her as she first infiltrates the organization, then receives training in Terror 101, and finally as she travels to America to participate in acts of terror in Washington, D.C.
The story progresses as it usually does in an Allon book. He becomes aware of a grave situation, he confers with his sources and confidants and works out a strategy to defeat the problem, he recruits an outsider to infiltrate the organization, he invests himself emotionally, his group does amazing things to learn as much as possible about the bad guys, and then the outsider is rescued at the last second.
This formula has worked well, but after many Gabriel Allon missions, it is starting to get a little bit predictable. What sets this book apart from the previous ones, and keeps it from getting lost in memory simply because it follows the formula, is its shocking departure from routine at the very end. The ending is actually not predictable; it is disturbing and even frightening. Because of the surprise ending, I give the book four stars instead of three.
Why would I consider giving three stars to a well written book by one of the top three thriller writers in business today? It is precisely because of the formula that has worked so well in the past. There are several books in this series, and each is top notch. But you can only use the same trick a certain amount of times. Eventually the thing that worked in the past starts to seem a little stale. In this book you can predict what is going to happen next, and you can almost quote some of the dialog word for word. How many times have we read the following: “Oded and Mordecai, a pair of all purpose field hands.” Or “…his chin in his hand, head tilted to one side.” Or something about Chiara’s “riotous hair” or something about Ari “igniting one of his Turkish cigarettes.” If this were a standalone book, such things would not be noticed. But for the reader who has been with the series since its inception, the repetitiveness is annoying. So, three stars due to predictability and lack of creativeness in describing recurring characters. But it earns a star back based on its departure from the formula by having an ending that is very much not predictable. But don’t do that to us again.
As I said, Daniel Silva is right at the top of the list of best thriller writers, but the pattern for his books is just a little shop-worn. As a stand-alone book, ‘The Black Widow’ is great. But for the faithful followers of Gabriel Allon and his band of merry spies, a little departure from the routine would be refreshing. And please don’t do that by blowing up the rest of the country next time.
Top reviews from other countries
For the first time, I started getting impatient with Silva as the stable of old themes, baddies and stereotypes are trotted out. I have no objection to the same characters appearing, they are like comforting characters and you know who and what they are. But a lot to me in this book struck me as a good copy and paste job...pretty disappointing...
Israeli superspy Gabriel Allon recruits Natalie, an Arab-speaking French Jewish doctor, and creates a new identity for her that will make her attractive to ISIS: she becomes Leila, a Palestinian ‘black widow’ thirsting for vengeance after the death of her husband at the hands of the Zionists. The infiltration works, although Natalie/Leila’s first meeting with Saladin is under circumstances very different to what she or Allon expected.
This is Silva’s 16th thriller featuring Gabriel Allon. They have inevitably become formulaic. Israel’s military – and moral – superiority over the Islamists is hammered home, although this time round the Jordanian secret service has a part to play, as also (and more regularly) do the British and French services and, of course, the CIA. The climax in Washington is nothing less than apocalyptic. We are once again reminded that no matter how conclusively the West defeats Islamic State (and Al-Qaeda and the Taliban) on the battlefield, 'the patron saints of terror' will continue to bring their war to our cities and our streets.
Another page-turning, nerve-shredding read from Daniel Silva.
[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]