Thursday, April 12, 2012

Portrait of a Spy

by Daniel Silva
(Gabriel Allon series #11)

The problem I have with authors who write a series of books featuring a recurring character, is oftentimes the books get repetitive, the characters get stale, and I lose interest in the author altogether. I used to read the Alex Cross books by Patterson and the Alex Delaware books by Kellerman. But it's been several years now since I read a book by either writer and frankly, I have no plans to read one again.

The Gabriel Allon books however, by Daniel Silva have been the exception to the rule for me. The Portrait of a Spy is the 11th installment in Silva's series featuring the Israeli art restorer/former intelligence operative and it was as enjoyable, if not more so, than all of its predecessors.

In this one, Gabriel is brought back into action after a day consisting of multiple terrorist attacks across Europe takes place. One attack occurs in Paris, one in Copenhagen, and a third one, right in front of Gabriel in a crowded marketplace in London. The attacks were planned and directed by the new leader of Muslim extremists and the timing of the attacks coincides with the exact times the three planes hit their targets on 9/11.

Silva doesn't simply tell stories using the conflict in the Middle East as their backdrop. He clearly has a deep and an extensive understanding of what's going on in that region of the world and he uses that knowledge and his storytelling abilities to write books that are more than just entertaining, they're insightful. Each time I read one of his books, I feel like I come away with both a greater awareness of the volativity in that part of the world and an appreciation for the importance of finding a solution to the conflict.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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