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on 25 June 2017
very enjoyable read
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on 20 June 2017
Good read
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on 19 May 2017
Great story teller
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on 24 October 2014
I read the reviews on Silva so as an avid reader I thought I would delve into his work.
Maybe if I had read all of the Allon series I would feel differently about his adventures, but as it stands, I found the book slow and quite boring. I warmed to the story in the middle of the book and then became bored towards the end again.
I always finish a book whether I like it or not, on this occasion I couldn't wait to finish it. Sorry, to Silva fans, I won't be reading anymore of his novels for a while.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 September 2010
In Daniel Silva's latest thriller featuring art restorer/supposedly retired Israeli spy-assassin, Gabriel Allon, The Rembrandt Affair is a tale of greed, passion, and murder spanning more than half a century, centered on an object of haunting beauty (i.e., a missing Rembrandt painting). The Rembrandt Affair's plot involves retired Gabriel Allon being persuaded to use his unique skills to search for the painting and those responsible for the crime. In typical Silva fashion, his latest book is one of slow-building but non-stop tension and suspense that will keep your eyes glued to its pages. While, on a comparative basis, The Rembrandt Affair does not match some of his other books in providing intense action, it is very successful in providing new dimensions into his already multidimensional, interesting cast of characters, as well as some very thought-provoking insights into Iran's efforts to be a major player in the field of nuclear weaponry. While some reviewers have criticized The Rembrandt Affair for being too formulaic, thus making it somewhat "same-old, same old," my opinion is that Silva's successful formula, which he's used now in most of his thirteen books, is kept fresh and interesting through the topical events and settings on which his books are based -- and this certainly is the case with The Rembrandt Affair. As a matter of fact, Silva's ability to continue to successfully execute his winning formula is at the heart of what makes me consider him to the "gold standard" of thriller writers. For me, there has never been a risk involved in reading a Silva book, with the only unknown being whether the book will be very good or excellent.
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I've read all of Daniel Silva's novels except the two most recent ones that were set in Russia. Just wasn't interested in the subject. I came back to his work when I read the synopsis of his new book, "The Rembrandt Affair".
Silva has returned to the western European/Israeli current affairs with a flashback to events during the Holocaust. Gabriel Allon, art restorer and Israeli agent, has retired after his previous contretemps in Russia to a seaside area in England. His "retirement" is interrupted by a request from a long-time friend from both the art world and the spy world to help him find a missing Rembrandt that had just popped up again after many years being hidden away. The painting, used as a bargaining chip by a Dutch Jew to save his daughter from transport - and death - with the rest of the family to Auschwitz.

Well, this story being a Silva-special, Israeli, British, and American security services get involved with current day Swiss banking and industrial secrets. Silva is a masterful writer of these stories, and though the cast changes slightly from book to book, Allon and his wife, Chiara, are the major characters, along with wily - and long-lived - former Israeli security chief, Ari Shamron. The villains also change nationality from book to book, but Silva always holds the reader's interest.

This is a good addition to Silva's stable of Gabriel Allon stories.
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Existing fans of Daniel Silva's long running Gabriel Allon series will find 'The Rembrandt Affair' to be another entertaining entry. It displays Silva's usual smooth, intelligent prose and precision plotting. It holds your attention and at times has the power to both move the reader and raise their pulse. One passage in particular, when a survivor of the round-up of Dutch Jews under the Nazis describes the events that lead to her survival is incredibly powerful and despite being fictional brings home forcefully the horror of that period. Its a clear indication of precisely how good an author Silva has become.

Reading the Rembrandt affair however, I couldn't get past the feeling that this is Silva coasting along on autopilot. Whilst the plotting is clever, leading as it does from the investigation of a the theft of a painting to the legacy of the Holocaust to corruption in high places, ultimately this is once again a story of Gabriel and his team taking on a wealthy but crooked man in the name of justice. Its a story that Silva has retold several times in recent novels, including Moscow Rules and The Defector. He even repeats the plot device of recruiting an outsider to act as an agent that he used in The Messenger.

As a result and although enjoyable and written to a high standard 'The Rembrandt Affairs' feels somewhat inconsequential. Even the personal stakes for Gabriel feel lower than usual. At one point it appears that Silva can't even be bothered to write an action sequence and resorts to the old 'three thugs escort victim into a room to beat him up, sound of breaking crockery, only the intended victim emerges' cliche. Its amusing but smacks of Silva taking short-cuts.

So not a bad book, but Silva can definitely do better. I would also not recommend that readers new to the Gabriel Allon series start here. There's too much reference to the backstory built up over multiple previous novels and there are also better places to start. Try going back to The Kill Artist and starting from there.
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on 28 March 2016
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"Take counsel, execute judgment;
Make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day;
Hide the outcasts,
Do not betray him who escapes." -- Isaiah 16:3

In The Rembrandt Affair, Gabriel Allon and his wife Chiara have retired from the spy trade, seeking to recover from the deadly peril and awful consequences of the events in The Defector for them. How long will they stay on the proverbial beach? Not long in this intriguing saga.

The book's premise is one of the best part of the book so I'm not going to talk about it. Read and enjoy instead. Let me say that Mr. Silva has done a great job of weaving together many potential themes into one fascinating mystery as the book opens. Like those nesting Russian dolls, there keep being more surprises inside. There's some tremendous writing in the opening about life under the Nazis.

A little casual investigation soon blows up into something much more serious. Those who enjoy thrillers that have dangerous potential consequences for today's world will enjoy that part as well. The only real problem with that section of the book is that it was very predictable based on some of the earlier plots in the series. I won't mention which ones, lest I spoil something for you in case you haven't read those particular books.

The second half of the book felt like stretching and the delightful premise faded too far into the background to suit my taste. A story doesn't have to always be about gigantic global consequences to be interesting. It just has to be good. I must admit that the parts near the end didn't grip me with excitement or fear . . . so the thriller aspect wasn't quite there. It was more of case of continuing suspense as new surprises opened up.

I definitely recommend the book. You may well enjoy it a lot more than I did. I don't know of another spy "thriller" that's out recently that's any better.
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This is the 10th book in the Gabriel Allon series and a welcome return for the Israeli spy/agent/art restorer. After the previous two books which have seen him deal with corrupt Russians, Allon is living quietly with wife Chiara on the Cornish coast when the murder of a fellow art restorer and the disappearance of a long-lost Rembrandt painting sees him drawn away from his seclusion. Allon believes that to find the painting, it is necessary to find out about its past, and he soon uncovers the story of an atrocity from earlier in Europe's history. It becomes clear that someone connected with the painting's past is also keen to find it for more than its artistic merit, and the story weaves its page-turning magic from Europe, in the mid 20th century via South America to Iran in 21st century.
There are lots of familiar characters from previous Allon books, so to get the most out of this, you would probably be best to start with one of the earlier books. Having said that, the story here is gripping enough to draw you in even if you aren't familiar with the earlier books and I would recommend this book as I would the rest of the series.
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