In a spellbinding new masterpiece by #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva, Gabriel Allon undertakes a high-stakes search for the greatest art forger who ever lived
Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon has at long last severed ties with Israeli intelligence and settled quietly in Venice, the only place where he has ever truly known peace. His beautiful wife, Chiara, has taken over the day-to-day management of the Tiepolo Restoration Company, and their two young children are discreetly enrolled in a neighborhood scuola elementare. For his part, Gabriel spends his days wandering the streets and canals of the watery city, bidding farewell to the demons of his tragic, violent past.
But when the eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood asks Gabriel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the rediscovery and lucrative sale of a centuries-old painting, he is drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems.
Gabriel soon discovers that the work in question, a portrait of an unidentified woman attributed to Sir Anthony van Dyck, is almost certainly a fiendishly clever fake. To find the mysterious figure who painted it—and uncover a multibillion-dollar fraud at the pinnacle of the art world—Gabriel conceives one of the most elaborate deceptions of his career. If it is to succeed, he must become the very mirror image of the man he seeks: the greatest art forger the world has ever known.
Stylish, sophisticated, and ingeniously plotted, Portrait of an Unknown Woman is a wildly entertaining journey through the dark side of the art world—a place where unscrupulous dealers routinely deceive their customers and deep-pocketed investors treat great paintings as though they were just another asset class to be bought and sold at a profit. From its elegant opening to the shocking twists of its climax, the novel is a tour de force of storytelling and one of the finest pieces of heist fiction ever written. And it is still more proof that, when it comes to international intrigue and suspense, Daniel Silva has no equal.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The international art scene’s shady side gets dragged into the light in Daniel Silva’s rousing thriller. Retired head of Israeli intelligence Gabriel Allon is trying his best to enjoy retirement in Venice, but it doesn’t take long before his serenity is upended. A visit from an old friend who unknowingly sold a forged masterpiece draws the master spy into a suspenseful investigation…and playing detective fits him like a tailored Italian suit. Silva takes such joy in the art setting of his novel—both the famous paintings that feature in it and the act of painstakingly recreating them—that we could almost smell the paint and linseed oil. As Allon works to unmask a worldwide scheme, Silva’s brilliantly intricate plot unfolds. There’s nothing counterfeit here—Silva has created a genuine thriller of the highest quality.
Slow at first but good at end
Silva’s main character is getting old, so are his books. This book is flawed by too many characters who are hard to follow. However, the book avoids most of Silva’s usual Jewish propaganda and is a pretty good read — especially at the end.
Not one of Mr. Silva’s best. I found the plot to be difficult to follow, especially the first half of the book.
Silva is back in original form.