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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
I've read the previous Allon novels and I think has to be by far the best.

Originally intrigued by the idea of an Israeli art restorer turned assassin and the problems Jews face abroad, Silva's Allon novels began to be a bit predictable. However, this one is enough of a variation on previous outings to make it that much more enjoyable (a new story with a...
Published on 21 Jan 2009 by freedomrulesok

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a thriller
This is not a bad novel by any means, but readers expecting a fast paced and suspenseful thriller - as I was - may be left feeling disappointed.

The first half of the book was great. It felt realistic, compelling and tense. However the action ground to a halt around the midway mark. (My husband actually gave up on it at this point). It continued in fits and...
Published on 1 Dec 2007 by Julia Flyte


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 21 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Secret Servant (Paperback)
I've read the previous Allon novels and I think has to be by far the best.

Originally intrigued by the idea of an Israeli art restorer turned assassin and the problems Jews face abroad, Silva's Allon novels began to be a bit predictable. However, this one is enough of a variation on previous outings to make it that much more enjoyable (a new story with a favourite character is always a pleasure, especially when they take a few unexpected turns).

Personally I found it never let up from start to finish, dealing with the kidnap of a US amabassador's daughter in London to the break neck close.

I give it five stars but I share the disappointment with other reviewers in the stereotype Arab portrayal. To read a thriller from a Palestinian point of view, try Matt Rees's Omar Yussef novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "When we take out our weapons, we do so for one reason. We start shooting. And we keep shooting until the target is dead.", 6 Jun 2009
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: THE SECRET SERVANT (Hardcover)
Having tracked down Saudi-financed terrorists in THE MESSENGER, Silva's previous novel, Gabriel Allon is looking forward to taking some time off with Chiara, his love, and to continuing the restoration of fine artwork, mostly belonging to the Catholic church, which he regards as his major occupation. Once again, however, he is recalled from his private life to answer the call of the Israeli secret service, for which he is one of their best agents and most fearless assassins.

Sent to the Netherlands to investigate the death of a Dutch terrorism expert, who also provided secret information to Israel, Allon finds himself once again drawn into the search for Islamic terrorists. When he inspects the agent's computer, he uncovers information suggesting a plot to set off bombs in the center of London, at which point he contacts British and American intelligence---too late to prevent the kidnapping of Elizabeth Halton, the physician-daughter of the American ambassador, who has been jogging with friends. Allon executes several of those involved in the abduction, most from "Londonistan," but others escape, taking Elizabeth with them.

As Gabriel tries to rescue Elizabeth before she can be used as part of a dramatic "statement" which the terrorists plan for central London, Silva examines the security agencies throughout Europe, finding them dangerously wanting and ill-equipped to deal with home-grown terrorists, who keep Elizabeth moving in a car throughout Europe in an effort to avoid being located by satellite or cellphone. With the aid of a devout Muslim who had been helping the murdered Dutch expert, Gabriel tries to discover and capture the mastermind before it is too late.

More traditional and a bit more predictable in its primary action than some of Silva's other thrillers, THE SECRET SERVANT winds up in a blockbuster scene, filled with fireworks, and then adds a final section in which the reader is allowed glimpses into Allon's personal life, complete with moments of humor (a rare commodity in this series). Silva's ten years as a journalist and his job as UPI's Middle East correspondent in the early 1990s hold him in good stead here as he tells his story with realistic details and credible motivations. As is always the case, Silva entertains the reader at the same time that he reveals the fragility of peace in the face of those who wish to conquer the world. Mary Whipple

The English Assassin
The Marching Season
A Death in Vienna
The Confessor
The Messenger
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a thriller, 1 Dec 2007
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Secret Servant (Hardcover)
This is not a bad novel by any means, but readers expecting a fast paced and suspenseful thriller - as I was - may be left feeling disappointed.

The first half of the book was great. It felt realistic, compelling and tense. However the action ground to a halt around the midway mark. (My husband actually gave up on it at this point). It continued in fits and starts, but there's something kind of wrong when you're 70 pages from the end of a thriller and don't feel compelled to see how it's going to finish. The ending dragged on and was underwhelming.

I also felt that the book was let down by the leaden dialogue - people speaking in explanations, saying things like: "you mean the covenant that forbids you from operating on European soil without first obtaining permission from the security service of the country involved" or "Islamic extremism is just the latest virus to thrive in Europe's nurturing environment" - people don't talk like that! On the other hand, Daniel Silva is very good at conveying a sense of location and I felt he nailed the mindset of an Israeli secret service agent.

I should mention that this was the first novel by Silva that I have read. In itself that did not affect my enjoyment of this book, although there did seem to be a lot of conversations between characters referring to action that took place in previous Gabriel Allon outings and if you are new to the series, it would probably be better to start with an earlier novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Act Quickly, Regret in Leisure, But Save the Day in the Meantime, 10 Aug 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Secret Servant (Hardcover)
The Secret Servant lacks the smoothness and tradecraft of The Messenger, but is a fine suspenseful antiterrorist novel.

The story's main theme is that Europe will become the center of Islamic terrorism. Targets will focus inside the UK, and the Islamic friendly policies of countries like the Netherlands will make that task easier. Many elements of the story are loosely based on factual reports. Mr. Silva has a lot of fun pointing out the hypocrisy employed by the politicians as they seek help from any source in private while denying involvement in public.

As the book opens, Professor Solomon Rossner, a low-profile agent for the Israelis in the Netherlands, is killed. Gabriel Allon, an Israeli assassin whose cover is as an art restorer for Italian Old Masters, is asked to clean out Rossner's files so that his agents can be located and kept active while any secrets remain that way. Gabriel is surprised to be approached by Ibrahim Fawaz, who claims to be the source who foiled a terrorist attack on a passenger plane. Fawaz warns that a terrorist cell has recently left for an unnamed target. Fawaz warns, "Find them . . . Otherwise I'm afraid buildings are going to fall."

Gabriel quickly locates a trail that leads him to London. Once there, his warnings fail to avoid the kidnapping of the American ambassador's daughter, Elizabeth Halton, a talented surgeon. Frustrated to lose her, Allon stays on the trail of the terrorists.

The implications of the kidnapping begin to reverberate throughout the Middle East and Europe.

In Gabriel's personal life, he finds too little time to be with his beloved, Chiara, who worries that Gabriel may not survive.

At the same time, the Israelis want Gabriel to pursue a new direction. Will he be willing to make a change?

The book has several weaknesses that keep it from being perfectly satisfying. The Islamic terrorists are stereotyped so much that they don't come across as real people. The plot is also quite predictable in places. The mismatch between the terrorists and the Israelis provides not much challenge to anticipate.

The plot moves along quite nicely though, so you won't be sitting there bored. You just won't get to experience enough suspense.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The wolf is through the front door, 9 Sep 2007
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
The plot of THE SECRET SERVANT is simple enough. The daughter of the American ambassador to the Court of St. James, Elizabeth Halton, is kidnapped by Islamic jihadists during a morning jog in Hyde Park. Not only is Elizabeth the daughter of Robert Halton, friend to the U.S. President, but the latter is her godfather. Gabriel Allon, the veteran and insubordinate Israeli super spy, works with (or not) the U.S., British, and Danish secret services to get her back before she's executed.

THE SECRET SERVANT is a solid, absorbing read. But since it demonstrates no special cleverness or plot twists and the hero is, in my opinion, relatively uncharismatic compared to others perched on the bookshelves in hosts of other thrillers, e.g. Jack Reacher and Dan "Spider" Shepherd, I would give only 3 stars. (This is, after all, written to be entertainment.) However, I'm awarding four since author Daniel Silva effectively makes the point, both in the fictional narrative and in an Author's Note, as to the degree which radical Islam has embedded itself in British and other European societies. In the name of political and religious tolerance, the governments concerned have let the wolf in through the front door and the coming decades aren't going to be pretty.

In a recent issue of a national weekly news magazine, the hand-wringing reviewer of THE SECRET SERVANT took Allon to task for the violent methods his character employed to extract information from a wounded and helpless terrorist. And you know what? It didn't bother me one bit because I'm not keen on the choice Osama bin Laden would give us, i.e. convert to Islam or be beheaded.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Act Quickly, Regret in Leisure, But Save the Day in the Meantime, 10 Aug 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: THE SECRET SERVANT (Hardcover)
The Secret Servant lacks the smoothness and tradecraft of The Messenger, but is a fine suspenseful antiterrorist novel.

The story's main theme is that Europe will become the center of Islamic terrorism. Targets will focus inside the UK, and the Islamic friendly policies of countries like the Netherlands will make that task easier. Many elements of the story are loosely based on factual reports. Mr. Silva has a lot of fun pointing out the hypocrisy employed by the politicians as they seek help from any source in private while denying involvement in public.

As the book opens, Professor Solomon Rossner, a low-profile agent for the Israelis in the Netherlands, is killed. Gabriel Allon, an Israeli assassin whose cover is as an art restorer for Italian Old Masters, is asked to clean out Rossner's files so that his agents can be located and kept active while any secrets remain that way. Gabriel is surprised to be approached by Ibrahim Fawaz, who claims to be the source who foiled a terrorist attack on a passenger plane. Fawaz warns that a terrorist cell has recently left for an unnamed target. Fawaz warns, "Find them . . . Otherwise I'm afraid buildings are going to fall."

Gabriel quickly locates a trail that leads him to London. Once there, his warnings fail to avoid the kidnapping of the American ambassador's daughter, Elizabeth Halton, a talented surgeon. Frustrated to lose her, Allon stays on the trail of the terrorists.

The implications of the kidnapping begin to reverberate throughout the Middle East and Europe.

In Gabriel's personal life, he finds too little time to be with his beloved, Chiara, who worries that Gabriel may not survive.

At the same time, the Israelis want Gabriel to pursue a new direction. Will he be willing to make a change?

The book has several weaknesses that keep it from being perfectly satisfying. The Islamic terrorists are stereotyped so much that they don't come across as real people. The plot is also quite predictable in places. The mismatch between the terrorists and the Israelis provides not much challenge to anticipate.

The plot moves along quite nicely though, so you won't be sitting there bored. You just won't get to experience enough suspense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret Servant, 7 Jun 2009
By 
C. Lintern (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret Servant (Paperback)
An excellent read, well written with a good plot and pace. Certainly made me want to read other titles by this author, who I had not come across before. The plot was believable and the characters were not unreal. Obviously well researched and put together. Very exciting and very much a contender to take the crown from the late Alister Maclean.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Hit, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: The Secret Servant (Paperback)
Another good tale from Silva. Fast moving and well written. No outlandish, unbelievable situations that other writers introduce. Not essential to read these books in strict order.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so secret anymore., 5 May 2010
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret Servant (Paperback)
With only a few more in the Allon series to read, I'm still wondering if Silva's storylines will move away from the Israeli's fight to defeat the Islamic forces of terror before the world disappears in a puff of smoke - well, a big bang, really, I suppose. He'd previously dealt with a few war criminals and then turned his attention to jihadists. Since the penultimate book is entitled, 'Moscow Rules' it may be that he has another objective in his sights. However, back to 'The Secret Servant'.

So far, he's on course in this book. The story is, however, predicatable; the terrorists are the usual well organised yet dim fanatics who kidnap the American ambassador's daughter. The Israelis are the determined and invincible power to deal with such people, be it in Holland or Britain or wherever. And Gabriel Allon is pretty much the indestructible force leading the action.

It does, even so, make for a very good read. Silva doesn't waste much time moralising over the rights and wrongs of killing when necessary, though he does manage a few pages but, as with all arguments, there are two sides to a view. Fortunately for the book, there is plenty of action to follow and Allon suffers his usual bout of beatings, reaps the rewards of an Israeli Intelligence unit which, with the aid of the Americans - and, occasionally, the British, locates the terrorist cell, leaving the man himself to sort it all out.

As with all Silva's books readers can be sure of an eventful read, not requiring too much thought, no clues left lying around to enable them to decide upon the culprits, no red herrings, just good old-fashioned action to while away a few hours on a plane or on the beach.

There are several authors currently providing us with good, reliable fiction. Silva is most certainly one of them and I always enjoy my time amongst his chapters. That his characters live to fight another day is good for continuity, rather like James Bond always winning through. We all know that's just impossible but are prepared to go with it just because these books are a darn good read. So, on to 'Moscow Rules'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thriller that thrills - and chills, 8 April 2010
By 
This review is from: The Secret Servant (Paperback)
As well as providing another cracking terrorist plot with nerve-shredding pace and suspense, Daniel Silva once again takes his readers inside the mind of those who threaten our security.

The Israelis are, as always, the Good Guys, although Mossad superhero Gabriel Allon does feel the occasional 'qualm' about the methods with which the War on Terror has to be fought. (The movie RENDITION - on TV last week - really brings home the awful reality of this.) The Jihadists in THE SECRET SERVANT are plotting not only against the West but against Hosni Mubarak's savage regime in Egypt. One key character is forced to watch his daughter being raped to death in a Cairo prison. We should probably think twice about where we go on holiday.

Silva rams home the danger we face in what he calls "the coming clash of civilizations" between Islam and the rest of the world. He repeats the statistics which predict that Muslims will inexorably form the majority population group in country after country in Europe during this century; the Netherlands is where it will happen first.

Daniel Silva serves up a thriller that truly thrills - and chills.

[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]
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