The Secret Servant Paperback – 3 Jul 2008
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It is an exciting and entertaining novel with a terrifying message (Literary Review)
Nerve-searing and painfully brilliant. (Patricia Cornwell)
In true Bauer fashion, shootouts, kidnappings and international terror plots follow him wherever he goes. (USA Today)
It reads like a prediction of continuing terrorism in Europe. (The Wall Street Journal)
The summer's best thriller and perhaps most important novel. (Military.com) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Daniel Silva has written seven previous novels, including the international bestsellers The Unlikely Spy, A Death in Vienna, The Confessor and most recently The English Assassin. His latest, The Messenger, will publish in autumn 2006. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, NBC Today correspondent Jamie Gangel.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is, however, a light-hearted finale to `The Secret Servant' when Israeli intelligence - a.k.a. Ari Shamron - decides that organising a wedding is simply another operation; something that, as Chiara discovers, can be done within a matter of hours rather than months.
Yes, Daniel Silva (with a little help from Gabriel Allon) has given us another first-class thriller.
Read and enjoy...
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Following Allon's attempts to rescue the kidnapped daughter of the US Ambassador to Britain, it is a tense and suspenseful tale, but also an intelligently written one. There's little recourse to deus ex-machina or outlandish action. This is a story that whilst undeniably a work of fiction maintains enough realism to remain frighteningly plausible.
The book also marks a return to form for the character of Gabriel Allon. Having drifted in a somewhat purposeless manner for much of The Messenger, seemingly caught in a cul de sac as far as further character development went, here he is given a renewed sense of forward momentum. No longer the lone assassin, he seems far more comfortable as both a leader of men and a human being in The Secret Servant, suggesting that he is finally entering a new and interesting phase of his career.
Of course that doesn't stop Allon from becoming involved in the heart of the action. Supported by a wide array of characters, some of whom recur from previous Silva novels, he is at the forefront of events. As usual Silva provides some wonderfully tense and exciting action sequences to go with the quieter periods, and its quickly apparent that Allon has lost none of his edge when it comes to doing what has to be done to complete his mission.
As always with Silva's novels, there are very definite centre-right & pro-Israeli slants to the book's perspective. This may turn some readers off, depending on their political persuasion, but it should be said that at no point does the book espouse hard views in this respect.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published on 21 May 2013 by I. D. Moffat
Daniel Silva as ever uses his journalistic knowledge to keep the reader gripped, while educating the reader on aspects of the political problems the world faces. Read morePublished on 10 Aug. 2010 by K. Clark