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The English Assassin (Gabriel Allon) Mass Market Paperback – February 25, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 923 customer reviews
Book 2 of 15 in the Gabriel Allon Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The English Assassin brings back Gabriel Allon, the appealingly melancholy art restorer with a double life as an Israeli secret agent, first introduced in 2000's The Kill Artist. Gabriel is sent to Zurich under a pseudonym to restore a Raphael belonging to a prominent Swiss banker and art collector, Augustus Rolfe, but upon arriving he finds Rolfe lying in a pool of blood. When Gabriel tries to leave Zurich, the Swiss police capture him immediately--and moreover, they know his real identity. He's released through some diplomatic string-pulling, but he soon discovers that Rolfe had requested a meeting with Israeli intelligence, for reasons unknown, just before his death.

Rolfe's daughter, Anna, is a world-class violinist attempting to rebuild her career after an accident that nearly destroyed one of her hands. But her physical scars are nothing compared to those on her psyche, left by her mother's suicide when Anna was a teenager. Temperamental and mistrustful, she nevertheless believes Gabriel's story, and reveals that Rolfe owned a secret collection of priceless French Impressionist paintings, apparently stolen by his murderers.

As Gabriel begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle, he faces two adversaries: a powerful group of men who would do anything to bury the past forever, and a hired killer who's planning a spectacular murder. Like The Kill Artist, The English Assassin balances fascinating characters, authentic-sounding historical detail, and plenty of glamorous international intrigue on the edge of a knife-keen plot. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Switzerland's shameful behavior in WWII provides the backdrop for this superbly crafted thriller that puts Silva at the forefront of his generation of foreign intrigue specialists. Here, the former CNN correspondent also appears to have settled on a main character to propel his promising line Gabriel Allon, the art restorer and Israeli hit man who starred in last year's acclaimed The Kill Artist. Just a few pages into this sequel, Allon finds himself the apparent victim of a double cross. When he arrives to restore a Raphael owned by reclusive Swiss banker Augustus Rolfe, Allon not only discovers the banker dead but finds himself the number one suspect. The charge doesn't stick, however, and when he is released from custody, he vows to find out who tried to frame him. His first stop is Rolfe's daughter, Anna, one of the world's top violinists and a woman haunted by her family's heritage of wartime greed and cruelty. Allon catches the attention of Switzerland's secretive power structure, which intends to stymie any further investigation into Rolfe's murder and the theft of his suspiciously acquired art collection. The so-called Council of Rtli contracts with a shadowy hit man, known only as the Englishman, to eliminate Allon and anyone else who threatens to expose Switzerland's past. The action unfolds in tightly focused scenes played out across a spectrum of European capitals and more pastoral settings. As a historical framework, the secrets of the Bahnhofstrasse are well-trod territory, yet Silva's sophisticated treatment polished prose, an edgy mood, convincing research gives his plot a crisp, almost urgent quality. Agent, Esther Newberg of ICM. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 national advertising campaign.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Gabriel Allon (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Mass Paperback Edition edition (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451208188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451208187
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (923 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Newt Gingrich THE on August 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I first picked up The English Assassin, I almost did not buy it. I like Silva's earlier novels, but I did not like the level of violence described in the cover leaf. It sounded like a mindless adventure but not in the complex, intricate manner of Silva's earlier works.
I had underestimated Silva, or his publisher had misdescribed him. This is a delightful, deep tale of Swiss abuse of Nazi victims, a generation of Swiss cover-up to keep possession of the stolen goods, the Israeli effort to locate and track down the valuables from pre-World War II European Jews, and the level of violence some people will go to in order to keep what they have even if it was gained illicitly (or maybe even because it was gained illicitly).
Once you have entered the journey of the former Israeli agent turned art restorer and you have encountered the violence and mysteries which surround what should have been a simple trip to look at some art in need of repair, I think you will be as hooked as I was. The larger tale of what happened to Jewish and other goods during the Nazi era will also set you thinking and will put a human face to the stories several years ago of Swiss bank accounts and secrecy about the Second World War period.
This is a fascinating book and fully up to Silva's standards.
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Format: Hardcover
My only problem with Daniel Silva is that he doesn't write books fast enough. The wait for The English Assassin, though, was more than worth it. Silva's a first-rate writer who has taken the well-worn concept of the international thriller and turned it into something compellingly new. The English Assassin is a perfect example of his skill: he throws together the reluctant, tormented spy Gabriel Allon with a tempermental violin virtuoso grappling with her own dark secrets and sends them off to investigate the Swiss collaboration with the Nazis in the theft of priceless art. It is an utterly fascinating story, brought to life with the help of a cast of superbly crafted supporting characters, including a vicious English assassin who is a bit more complex than your usual villain. Along the way Silva masterfully draws us into the worlds of art and music and gives us a tempting tour of some out-of-the-way European locales. I started The English Assassin the other night and finished it in one sitting. My only disappointment? It'll be another year before the new Silva pops up on the shelves.
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Format: Hardcover
The English Assassin is another fine novel. Daniel Silva provides the reader with his usual blend of action, excitement, intrigue, and plot twists -- all set within the historical context of the secret world of the Swiss banking system from WWII to the present. In a reprise of Gabriel Allon, the art restorer and sometimes Israeli spy from the Kill Artist, Silva spins a tale of a secret Swiss society, long-ago collaboration with Nazi Germany, and a quest to recover art treasures plundered by the Nazi's in WWII. Gabriel is drawn into the plot when he is sent to restore a painting belonging to an elderly Swiss banker. Finding the banker dead, Gabriel is quickly forced to match wits with the mysterious English Assassin and members of the clandestine Swiss organization that seeks to keep the past of Switzerland buried. This book is thoroughly entertaining. A must read for fans of Silva's previous works.
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Format: Hardcover
Daniel Silva's "The English Assassin" grabbed my interest from the first page and took me on a exhilarating roller-coaster ride. It has non-stop action in a variety of exotic locales, fascinating characters, intelligent dialogue and terrific suspense. It is one of the best spy novels that I have read in years.

Gabriel Allon is a talented art restorer who lovingly repairs old paintings. In his other life, he is a spy for the Israeli government. He can kill expertly and without remorse when the situation calls for deadly force.

Ari Shamron, Gabriel's handler, has a new mission for him. Gabriel is to visit Zurich and speak to an old Swiss banker named Augustus Rolfe, a man who wants to reveal his secret activities during World War II. Gabriel soon encounters some violent men who will do anything to prevent the truth about Switzerland's sordid past from becoming public knowledge. He also meets Rolfe's beautiful and tempestuous daughter Anna. She is a troubled woman who, like Gabriel, is haunted by demons from the past.

Who is the "English Assassin" in the title? He is a former British soldier who has become a ruthless killer for hire. He also becomes involved in the Rolfe case, but his agenda differs markedly from Gabriel's. The English Assassin is a morally ambiguous character who is as fascinating as he is deadly.

What makes this novel better than most of the other spy thrillers around? It does not rely on cliches to keep the intricate plot moving along. The characters are sharply written and the dialogue sparkles with wit, humor and occasional poignancy. What elevates "The English Assassin" most of all is the issues that it tackles. Silva explores the culpability of the Swiss bankers, who apparently were indispensable to the Nazi's war machine.
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Format: Hardcover
With apologies to Tom Clancy and the late Robert Ludlum, I must say that Daniel Silva has assumed throne among international thriller writers.
His latest novel, The English Assassin, centers around Gabriel Allon, the art-restorer-by-day, silent-killer-by-night from his previous work, The Kill Artist. The book begins with a flashback to the past centering around an unknown woman killing herself upon her discovery of one of her husband's dark secrets. The reader is then taken to the present day when Allon is sent to meet a client to restore a painting. He enters the client's home following a series of strange instructions and finds the man dead. The breakneck plot of the novel follows Gabriel on his quest to determine why the man was killed and how he himself is involved. At the same time, he must protect the man's estranged daughter while he and those with whom he comes in contact are being stalked by the shadowy figure known only as the Englishman.
Silva's writing is some of the most eloquent you will find in a book of this genre. His prose is clear and thoughtful and his characters take on dimensions that make the story all the more meaningful. Allon is a fine protagonist with many layers. The Englishman is a most worthy villian with both flaws and redeeming features that are capable of evoking sympathy from the reader. Silva's attention to detail for the settings of this book and the knowledge he possesses regarding the world of espionage make the reader feel totally enveloped in this book. This is a novel that can be read in a single sitting.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in international thrillers, spy or espionage related plots, or simply a well-written novel that will keep them interested.
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