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Portrait of a Spy: A Novel (Gabriel Allon) Paperback – Large Print, July 19, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Gabriel Allon, master art restorer and spy,returns in a spellbinding new novel from#1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva.
For Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, it was supposed to be the start of a pleasant weekend in London—a visit to a gallery in St. James’s to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian, followed by a quiet lunch. But a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen has already marred this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds.
Haunted by his failure to stop the massacre, Gabriel returns to his cottage in Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington, into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted “a beautiful and seductive tongue.” A gifted deceiver, once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks . . .
About the Author
Daniel Silva is the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, The English Girl, The Heist, The English Spy, The Black Widow, House of Spies and The Other Woman (2018). He is best known for his long-running thriller series starring spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon. Silva’s books are critically acclaimed bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 30 languages. He resides in Florida with his wife, television journalist Jamie Gangel, and their twins, Lily and Nicholas. For more information visit www.danielsilvabooks.com
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Top customer reviews
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Gabriel Allon, leading a retired life in Cornwall, is visiting London. Walking towards Covent Garden with Chiara when he spots a suicide bomber. Gabriel is all set to take a kill shot when he is tackled and taken down - by MI6 agents!!
This starts another Gabriel Allon thriller where, enlisted by the CIA to track down the terror network and its mastermind, he comes very close to dying.
While the action flags in places, Gabriel aficionados will not be disappointed.
The story seemed to run at least 80 mph, and kept me on the edge of my seat...never knowing where the next deep dive would take our hero. I really enjoyed the character development and the story's continual twists and turns.
But perhaps it was all in excess. After a while, I lost track of some characters and felt overwhelmed with the thrill of the tale. If this were made into a movie, even that might be hard to follow. If I were Silva's editor, I might have suggested simplifying and condensing the book a bit.
There was a loose end I didn't understand. At one point Mikail and four Sayeret Matkal commandos set off on a 40-mile hike in the dessert to rescue Allon. They never get there, but it doesn't seem anything bad happened to them either. I almost think Silva forgot about them.
It's a solid premise full of colorful characters. I bought right into it.
But then, nothing actually happens. Oh sure, the story plays out. Yet, I found myself waiting, then aching, then praying for a major plot reversal--or even for a surprise to come along. I'm still waiting.
The plot steamrolls its way right to the denouement. Pretty much everything I thought would happen, did happen. On top of that, the last 10% of the book is a long series of dull anticlimaxes that aren't worth the effort to read thoroughly. It's supposed to be moving, I guess. It's not.
This one is no different. Some of the most interesting stuff comes in the explanation of Wahhab & the House of Saud. I knew that 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, but that was about it. Silva gives an overview of the religious Wahhabis & ruling Saudis & the possibility of the collusion between them. And he weaves it all into the story in a captivating way. I couldn't put the book down.
With references to the situation the US finds itself in now, Silva makes it all very plausible. If only there were an actual agent out there - a real Gabriel Allon - fighting the bad guys & making the difficult choices to keep the world a safer place.
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