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4.7 out of 5 stars21
4.7 out of 5 stars
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The death camps of the Reich provide the underpinnings of this intense and fast-paced novel in which the author draws new attention to the collusion of governments and institutions in protecting Nazi war criminals into the present day. Gabriel Allon, the main character, is working peacefully as a fine art restorer in Venice when he is suddenly summoned by his mentor in the Israeli secret service to investigate the bombing of the Vienna Office of Wartime Claims and Inquiries. Although the Austrian government has declared the bombing to be the work of an Islamic terrorist group, Allon believes it is more likely the result of current anti-Semitism within Austria. An extremely conservative candidate for Chancellor is given a high likelihood of winning the coming election and, the author points out, bringing the philosophy of the Reich into the twenty-first century.
As Allon searches for the perpetrators, the action careens from Vienna to Israel, Italy, Argentina, the US, and back to Vienna, and involves complex political, financial, and national security issues affecting a number of countries. Always, the present is tied to the history of the Reich. Erich Radek, a former Nazi, is still alive and active in Vienna, his war-time obliteration of the graves and bodies at Polish death camps so total that a new generation of Austrians is now asking, "Where is the evidence that the Holocaust ever happened?" Konrad Becker, a Zurich banker, has a mysterious client with over two billion dollars in assets; a Catholic bishop who helped war criminals escape is still connected to governments and police; successive governments in Argentina have provided aid to war criminals since the time of Peron; and American CIA agents have protected some war criminals during the Cold War. As Allon narrows the search to one well-protected man, the violence reaches a crescendo.
Silva's journalistic style is perfectly suited to his subject matter. He presents information efficiently and without preamble, in short sentences which move the action along quickly. Incorporating historical facts within his fictional framework, he provides testimonies from the Holocaust library at Yad Vashem, evidence from Auschwitz and Treblinka, and an account of Adolf Eichmann's capture to elevate the fiction, give it credence, and pack an emotional wallop. Within this exciting chase to apprehend the murderer, Silva develops his thematic goal of bringing continuing injustice to light, and few readers will fail to be moved by his zeal and the power of his historical details. This is a strong novel which transcends the usual "thriller" designation because of its reliance on verifiable evidence. Mary Whipple
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on 29 July 2005
This is the seventh book from Daniel Silva, and his fourth dealing with the escapades of part-time art-restorer part-time Israeli spy/assassin Gabriel Allon. As always, Silva does not dissapoint. A colleague of Allon's is killed in his office in Vienna, an office that specialises in investigating aspects of the holocaust. Allon's handler, Ari Shamron, directs Allon to investigate, and so the story starts. A story that takes us to Austria, Italy, the Argentinian highlands, the United States, and of course to Israel. The story also touches on two themes that Allon has visitied before: the holocaust, and the relations between the Vatican and the Third Reich. The story is a thriller in every sense, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have all of Silva's books. Silva usually takes his readers on an enchanting journey through many interesting countries and cities, and he is a master at accurate descriptions of these places. His descriptions in other novels of Rome, Venice and Jerusalem, amongst other places, were simply outsanding, and highly accurate. At least, in my experience of these places. But he and I clearly had very different experiences of Vienna. I was surprised by his "missing the mark" with Austria in general and Vienna in particular. It is a wonderful country and a wonderful city: gay, lively, tolerant. It is hardly this dark and foreboding hotbed of antisemitism and fascism like he has chosen to portray it. I suspect that Silva did spend some time Vienna, and it is not too accurately portrayed, when compared with my own experiences. And, while I do concede that Austrian coffee terminology can be a little tricky for a non-German speaker, I suspect that few Viennese order a cup of whipped cream in a cafe. However, that is not to say that this book is a most enjoyable read, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. If this is your first "Gabriel Allon" novel, I would recommend to read the previous three first, to put it in perspective. Vienna has a special place in Allon's history, and I think it is important to understand that when reading this book. From me: three and a half stars!
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The spy thriller, "A Death in Vienna," its New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva has written, "completes a cycle of three novels dealing with the unfinished business of the holocaust:" as it follows on the heels of English Assassin and Confessor. In creating this mystery/thriller, Silva has crafted a tight, fast-moving, well-grounded spy novel. (Knowledgeable circles consider this American author's work to be accurate on its spy craft, and to be informed on the procedures of Israel's spy agency, Mossad; and America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).)

This novel centers on Gabriel Allon, Israeli son of a holocaust survivor, raised on a kibbutz, widely considered an excellent art restorer, secretly an Israeli spy/hitman. There's been a fatal bombing in Vienna, at an office similar to that of famed holocaust survivor/Nazi investigator Elie Wiesel. Allon speaks a native Berliner's German, learned at the knee of his mother, a holocaust survivor, and he knows Vienna, from previous operations there, so the Israeli secret service sends him back. He's not welcome back, as a result of those previous operations -- despite the fact that spies have traditionally been thick on the ground in that city for most of the 20th century. But there he is, looking into the office's last case. This brings him to Rome, where he investigates the Vatican's checkered role in the holocaust, and the aftermath of World War II; and to Latin America, where many fugitive Nazis settled. He soon realizes this case will reach out to touch him personally, through his late mother.

The author's characters are individuated and well-drawn, and his writing is resonant. He's witty and terse, too. At one point he writes, discussing a CIA safe house:" the safe house is located in a corner of the Virginia horse country where wealth and privilege meet the hard reality of rural southern life." It's no wonder he's considered one of the more competent spy novelists working today. He has been called his generation's finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever. Compelling, passionate, haunting, brilliant: these are some of the words that have been used to describe his work.

Silva burst onto the scene in 1997 with his electrifying bestselling debut, The The Unlikely Spy, a novel of love and deception set around the Allied invasion of France in World War II. His second and third novels, The Mark Of The Assassin and The Marching Season, were also instant New York Times bestsellers that starred two of Silva's most memorable characters: CIA officer Michael Osbourne and international hit man Jean-Paul Delaroche. But it was Silva's fourth novel, The Kill Artist, which I have read and reviewed elsewhere in these pages, would alter the course of his career. The novel featured a character described as one of the most memorable and compelling in contemporary fiction, the art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon, and though Silva did not realize it at the time, Gabriel's adventures had only just begun. Gabriel Allon appears in Silva's next nine novels, each one more successful than the last.

Silva knew from a very early age that he wanted to become a writer, but his first profession would be journalism. Born in Michigan, raised and educated in California, he was pursuing a master's degree in international relations when he received a temporary job offer from United Press International to help cover the 1984 San Francisco Democratic National Convention. Later that year Silva abandoned his studies and joined UPI fulltime, working first in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington, and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf. In 1987, while covering the Iran-Iraq war, he met NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel. They were married later that year. Silva returned to Washington, went to work for CNN, became executive producer of its talk show unit including shows like Crossfire, Capital Gang and Reliable Sources.

In 1995 the writer confessed to his wife Jamie that his true ambition was to be a novelist. With her support and encouragement he secretly began work on the manuscript that would eventually become the instant bestseller THE UNLIKELY SPY. He left CNN in 1997 after the book's successful publication,. began writing full time. Since then all of Silva's books have been New York Times and international bestsellers. His books have been translated in to more than 30 languages and are published around the world. You really can't go too wrong with him.
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VINE VOICEon 14 January 2010
If I'd realised that this book was the third part of the author's heavy underscoring of the after effects of the Holocaust, I may have been a little kinder to his previous book. However, I'm glad that we've finally left this matter behind us - as far as the fictional side is concerned. From a reader's perspective, this book, to my mind, is better than 'The Confessor' in that we finally tie in all the pieces that seemed to be missing from the two earlier books in this trilogy. I have a great deal of sympathy for those still badly affected by the death camps and, having visited Auschwitz recently, I am sure there are a few of those who perpetrated this obscenity still around. Certainly their offspring are, and Silva reminds us that the horrors meted out by their parents can still very much affect today's political circumstances.

The author describes Allon's personal side with a great deal of sympathy. Of course, the man is an assassin and I cannot imagine the powerful mindset in some Israelis which even today propels them on in the search for those responsible for the Holocaust. In the case of the Jews, we are constantly reminded of their plight via the newsreels, so, although one horror is being dealt with, others still remain. I know that Gabriel Allon becomes involved with these more up to date threats in his next outing, so perhaps, in a way, we can move on.

It is necessary to read the two earlier books in this trilogy, otherwise much will remain unclear. The author does fill in some background in this book but there are too many characters involved for him to bring new readers fully up to speed. Allon still flits around the globe, still avoids attempts on his life and, for now, seems to have found a love interest lasting longer than one book. I still remain unsure whether this will last.
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on 2 October 2010
Daniel Silva's books about Gabriel Allon are absolutely brilliant. I never want to put the book down, this particular story is very interesting and gets your mind thinking about the church and the holocaust.

It is a thrilling story that captures your heart & mind from the moment you pick it up
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 January 2016
In the book's afterword, Daniel Silva explains that he intended this to complete a trilogy (within a longer series) of books focusing on some of the effects of the Holocaust. It centres on a former Nazi officer who is still living (and wielding considerable political power) in Vienna. Whilst Vogel is a fictional character, the crimes that he is supposed to have committed are actual events.

In many ways this feels like a rehash of the previous Gabriel Allon novel (The Confessor). Last time a former Israeli agent was murdered in Munich; this time a former Israeli officer is the subject of an attempted murder in Vienna. Once again Allon is called in to investigate by his former boss, Shamron. Once again, he discovers a large and wide ranging deception that involves both the Catholic Church and current politicians.

I am not quite sure why Allon is so feted. He seems to bumble around and have no idea when he's under surveillance. However what could have been simply an average thriller is elevated by the real and sobering details about atrocities in Nazi concentration camps.
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on 13 May 2009
Fascinating book on Austria post Second World War. An insight into Austria's attitude to Jews, cover up of crimes committed during the war and afterwards. Daniel Silva has put this together in an exciting, informative and gripping story involving Israeli and American secret services. Difficult to put down once started.
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on 10 March 2011
Never having read or heard anything by this author before I just took a chance on this item. The story is well crafted, the narrator is superb and I was hooked from the very beginning. I've since ordered 2 more audio books by the same author. Highly recommend this novel.
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on 19 September 2011
i have started this book and its up to the usual daniel silva standard.once you start a silve book its difficult to put it down,so i have to limit myself as i do have oto do mundane things like eat and household chores
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on 22 July 2010
I first discovered Daniel Silva with 'The Mark of the Assassin' around a year ago. His books are really accessible international assassin thrillers, and I say accessible as normally this isn't my genre. They all feature a super-assassin - often both for the good guys and the bad guys - and the books cover different themes, e.g. Islamic terrorists, Russians, the Holocaust (which this book deals with) etc.

The book is INCREDIBLY well researched, and somehow even though the hero (Gabriel Allon) seems to be invincible, you do get drawn into the real sense of tension in the story.

Great story, brilliant author - unmissable.
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