Portrait of a Spy
by Daniel Silva
Another riveting tale of everybody's (well... at least, my) favorite Israeli assassin/art restorer.
Appropriate for adults
Oh, I love Gabriel Allon. The series that is. This is number 11, and I have read every one. I wasn't so keen on the previous, The Rembrandt Affair - but since I read almost all of it on some not so fabulous plane rides last fall, I'll try to withhold judgement. My favorite Allons are the trilogy dealing with the "unfinished business of the Holocaust" -- The English Assassin, The Confessor, & A Death in Vienna. (quote from Silva)
Silva gives us an intelligent spy story, intriguing characters, and small doses of stimulating commentary on global politics. And like any series, part of the fun is watching the principles act in their predictably charming, and comfortably familiar ways. Gabriel is the kind of leading man that seems totally unbelievable in summary, but is so charming you are willing to suspend your disbelief. Part pensive artist, part genius operative, Gabriel's intense presence downplays his violent past and seriously protective streak.
This installment focuses on the new realities of global terrorism and is, as always, very pro-Israel. I enjoyed it very much; there is just something about having a host of your friends in the middle of an adventure waiting patiently on your nightstand.
And I do think it is perfectly acceptable to jump in anywhere in this series (I started with #5), but after you read one, you'll probably want to start at the beginning (that sounds very "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"-ish).
"Gabriel believed the craft of restoration was a bit like making love. It was best done slowly and with painstaking attention to detail, with occasional breaks for rest and refreshment. But in a pinch, if the craftsman and his subject matter were adequately acquainted, a restoration could be done at extraordinary speed, with more or less the same result."
"Shamron appeared annoyed. He considered the use of American sports metaphors to be inappropriate for a business as vital as espionage. In Shamron's opinion, intelligence officers did not blow fourth-quarter leads, or strike out, or fumble the ball. There was only success or failure--and the price of failure in a neighborhood like the Middle East was usually blood."