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Customer Review

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "By way of deception, thou shalt do war.", August 19, 2009
This review is from: The Defector (Gabriel Allon Novels) (Hardcover)
Daniel Silva's "The Defector" is a sequel to "Moscow Rules," in which superspy Gabriel Allon and his team attempted to outsmart the sadistic Russian oligarch, Ivan Kharkov, with the help of Kharkov's disaffected wife, Elena. Kharkov, a former KGB agent, is a ruthless arms dealer who foments violence all over the world for profit. Of late, Allon has been living a placid life in an Italian villa under an assumed name along with his new wife, Chiara. He spends much of his time restoring priceless works of art for the Vatican. Unfortunately, his tranquil existence is rudely disrupted when Colonel Grigori Bulganov, former member of the Russian Federal Security Service and a defector to the west, suddenly disappears from London. Did Bulganov willingly return to Moscow to resume his old life? Allon, who knew the man well, firmly believes that this is an unlikely scenario, since Grigori not only hated the new Russia, but was also enjoying his life as a celebrity dissident. Gabriel fears that Kharkov must have orchestrated Grigori's abduction for reasons that will soon become apparent. When another key person vanishes, Allon, with the help of his former superior and advisor, eighty-year old Ari Shamron, as well as other poweful spymasters from England and America, arranges a complex extraction on Russian soil. If his plan should go awry, it could cost quite a few Jewish lives.

This is not one of Silva's finest efforts. Too much of this four-hundred and sixty-page novel is devoted to endless exposition, in which the author rehashes events from "Moscow Rules" and other earlier books. "The Defector" is almost entirely plot driven and populated by one-dimensional characters. The over-the-top scenes of torture and violence and the unimaginative dialogue do not help matters, nor does such hackneyed prose as "Blood was going to flow. And men were going to die." This is unchallenging and unoriginal action thriller in which Silva has little to say that he has not said before more eloquently. "The Defector" lacks the emotional heft, wrenching ethical dilemmas, and electrifying confrontations that have, in the past, made Silva's books so spellbinding.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 22, 2013, 3:21:40 PM PDT
Mary Ann says:
Moscow Rules was dominated by the villian Ivan Kharkov; this book is a sequel but hardly any mention of him or Gabriel's confronting him at last appears in the reviews. I assume, because I've read Silva's books, that it happens but it deserved a mention in both reviews. I'm buying the book inspite of the reviews.

Posted on Feb 27, 2014, 9:11:04 PM PST
I completely agree with your review. Large parts of the narrative were cut and pasted from previous novels and the dialogue was ridiculous and over the top. The fawning over the Office - telling how awesome it is, how the agents are the best, there's none like it in the world - instead of showing, was really annoying. The Allon series is really good - but Silva still has to work for it. He was resting on his laurels on this novel and it showed. I would give it 2.5 stars.
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