The stunning new thriller from the master of modern espionage
Master of the spy thriller Silva has entertained readers with twenty-two thoughtful and gripping suspense novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back-from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East.
He returns with another blockbuster -- a powerhouse novel that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination, destined to be a must read for both his multitudes of fans and growing legions of converts.
Bestseller Silva's improbable 20th thriller featuring Gabriel Allon (after 2019's The New Girl) opens with the unexpected death of Pope Paul VII, who succeeded John Paul II in the author's alternative universe. Allon, the director-general of Israeli intelligence, who once saved the pontiff's life, is on vacation in Venice when he gets a call from Archbishop Luigi Donati, Paul VII's closest confidante. Donati doesn't buy the Vatican's story that a heart attack was the cause of death, fearing that those opposed to the pope's liberal policies had him murdered. Shortly before his death, Paul VII had begun writing a letter to Allon about a discovery he made in the Vatican's secret archives that would "ignite a global sensation." Allon and Donati believe that the Holy Father was killed to prevent him from sharing the find, and the pair set out to determine what it was and who was behind the murder. The wild plot includes cartoonish bad guys who belong to the evil Order of St. Helena and seek to manipulate the election of the next pontiff. Newcomers may find the contrivances too much to swallow; series fans will know to leave their disbelief behind.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was somewhat disappointed I thought I was reading Dan Brown!
Dan Brown redux
American journo turned author of bestselling espionage thrillers featuring Israeli art restorer/spy/assassin Gabriel Allon.
Green eyed late sixties Gabe, his younger Italian-Jewish wife Chiara, and their two youngish kids go on holidays in Italy. (No one except me calls him Gabe; it's always Gabriel, like the angel.) Our boy has another two years to serve as head of an ultra-secret organisation called "Office" (Mossad by another name) based in Tel Aviv, and is starting to think about retirement options. More correctly, the missus is thinking about them. She's heavily into art too and keen to take over the running of a museum in her native Venice from her one time mentor, yada, yada. Barely a day into his hols, he's summoned to Rome by an old mate in Rome to sort things out at the Vatican. Yes, you heard me correctly. The Pope's chief-of-staff Luigi something or other—technically the ex-Pope's ex-COS given that the fisherman has just croaked—enlists the help of an Israeli spy to foil a sinister German splinter group that's trying to subvert and take over the Catholic Church. Long story short, he does.
Allon is by turns a cultured aesthete, a family man, a cold blooded killer, and a semitic Sherlock Holmes. The supporting cast is suitably dashing, sinister, cruel, whatever as required. Chiara is a long suffering wife and one time spy herself so she kind of understands. Lucky the kids like their Italian grandparents because they don't get to see much of Dad. Luigi is al old style papal type with a bit of extremely wealthy crumpet on the side.
Third person, mostly Gabriel's and Luigi's POV.
Mr De Silva's writing is a slick as ever, and the pacing is good. However, the storyline is more improbable than usual and highly derivative of one D Brown.
If you like Dan Brown—Lord knows, plenty of people seem to—you might like this. I don't and didn't.