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The Kill Artist Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,291 customer reviews
Book 1 of 15 in the Gabriel Allon Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans of Daniel Silva's well-received earlier novels, especially The Marching Season, will welcome his newest novel of espionage, revenge, and Middle Eastern politics. Gabriel Allon is an art restorer who's persuaded out of retirement by Ari Shamron, the crafty Israeli spymaster bent on a deadly mission: killing a Palestinian agent named Tariq before he can carry out his plan to assassinate an old comrade-in-arms, the treacherous peacemaker Yasir Arafat.

Tariq's role in the murder of Gabriel's wife and son draws both Gabriel and Sarah Halevy, the beautiful French model whose affair with Gabriel led to the assassination of his family. Still in love with Gabriel, Sarah allows herself to be set up with a cover and infiltrated into Tariq's inner circle. But before Gabriel can rescue her and fulfill his mission, Tariq turns the tables to get his old adversary as well as Arafat in his own sights. A particularly resonant scene in which Tariq and Arafat confront each other and discuss their former friendship, as well as the change in tactics that has brought Tariq to the ultimate betrayal, reveals Silva's deep comprehension of Palestinian rivalries. He puts a clever little fillip on the ending that adds to the brio of this strongly paced thriller. Silva creates complex, fascinating characters in Gabe, Ari, and Tariq, and more than fulfills the promise of his earlier books. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (April 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451209338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451209337
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recently read Daniel Silva's new novel, "The English Assassin," and I was very impressed with its intricate and assured plotting, its meaningful themes, and its fascinating characters.
Unfortunately, "The Kill Artist," which was written first, does not measure up to the "The English Assassin." Both novels feature Gabriel Allon, a tormented man who has done undercover work as an agent for the Israeli government. He now spends much of his time expertly restoring valuable works of art that have been damaged over the years. Gabriel is something of a loner who would like to forget his tragic past. He would prefer to stop working for the Israeli government completely and live a quiet and reclusive life in Cornwall, England.
Gabriel's spymaster, Ari Shamron, has other ideas. He convinces Gabriel to get back into the spy game in order to trap an old enemy. Soon, Gabriel is on the trail of Tariq al-Hourani, a Palestinian zealot who recently assassinated the Israeli ambassador in Paris. Tariq and Gabriel are old enemies and Gabriel cannot resist the chance to finally even an old score and rid Israel of an ardent and deadly enemy.
Naturally, there is a beautiful woman involved, as well. Jacqueline Delacroix, born Sarah Halevy, lost her grandparents in the Holocaust. She, too, has been recruited by Ari Shamron to help Gabriel trap Tariq. She is in love with Gabriel, but he is reluctant to get romantically involved with her, for reasons of his own.
The plot thickens, as Gabriel and Jacqueline go undercover and place themselves in grave danger while they track Tariq. Their prey turns the tables on Gabriel and Jacqueline, and Tariq soon becomes the hunter. Gabriel fears that he will never capture Tariq.
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