Monday, December 21, 2009

Page 4: Gabriel Allon, Art Restorer and Israeli Spy

A series of books I discovered about a year ago is the one by Daniel Silva.  The latest is The Defector which came out in the fall  and immediately became a New York Times best seller.  This series is so good I would suggest you start at the beginning and work your way through all of them. Here they are in chronological order:

The Kill Artist
The English Assassin
The Confessor
A Death in Vienna
Prince of Fire
The Messenger
The Secret Servant
Moscow Rules

The main character is Gabriel Allon who is an art restorer in his public life, not that he has much of one, and a highly skilled secret agent for Israeli Intelligence in his other life.  Gabriel has quite a history.  He was recruited from art school to be trained as an assassin.  It was determined that he had the right stuff in terms of psychological profile and determination to complete a difficult, if not impossible, task.  He was trained and then assigned to the team that Golda Meir sent to hunt down and kill the murderers of the athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.  His team was tasked to hunt each of them down and kill them no matter where they were hiding.  They did exactly that.  However, it took a huge toll on all of them including Gabriel.  Killing anyone up close and personal, no matter who they are, proved to be more than any of them expected.  Gabriel was the best at the killing.  His legend follows him throughout each book as he continues to carry out assignments given to him by the intelligence service.  The character studies of the team members he chooses for these missions as well as the skills they all possess are fascinating reading.

Gabriel Allon's cover is that of an art restorer.  He is so good at what he does that he is hired by the Vatican to restore various  priceless works of art.  This dichotomy is part of what makes these books so good.  Not only do you get a glimpse of the inner workings of Israeli Intelligence, but several very interesting lessons in how Renaissance masterpieces are painstakingly restored to their original brilliance and beauty.

This series is a must read for those of you who enjoy John LeCarre, Len Deighton, Nelson Demille and other authors of this genre. Daniel Silva writes a great story and just keeps getting better with each book.

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