House of Spies by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Julian Isherwood, geriatric art dealer, was stood-up by his date, who was half his age. His untimely exit from the posh London restaurant made him witness to the beginning of a terrorist attack. His panicked reaction saves dozens from annihilation. It just won’t do to have a terrorist attack without bringing that master of assassination, Gabriel Allon, out of the shadows where he has been lurking at the head of Israel’s intelligence service. The perpetrator is well known to the heads of intelligence across the globe, but how will they locate him and draw him into the open? Gabriel, as usual, has the solution. First steal a few hundred million Euros from Bashar Assad, then buy a villa at San Tropez in the name of a Russian arms dealer and his French wife. This was to attract the attention of a French billionaire and his stunning, almost wife, who is actually the largest importer of Moroccan hashish. Of course, we know that Gabriel won’t fail, but what will be the aftermath of the ISIS’s leader’s demise?
I first encountered Daniel Silva in Barbados. He wasn’t there, but one of his books was in the hotel’s ‘take a book, leave a book’ library. I’ve been hooked ever since. The Gabriel Allon character is a part-time assassin and a part-time art restorer who has a troubled past. He slips in and out of Europe and the U.S. with cat-like stealth mounting complex operations for the Israeli secret service. One can think of him as a Jewish James Bond who practices monogamy. As odd as that sounds, Allon is enormously appealing.