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Best-selling author Daniel Silva does it again - another page turning, gripping adventure thriller featuring Gabriel Allon, the talented Art Restorer who is also a top Israeli Mossad agent and assassin.
I have titled this review "Gabriel's Groundhog Days" because the latest book is based on a repeat of many of the features of Allon's twelve previous adventures:
* The story starts with Gabriel undertaking a difficult restoration of a priceless painting, and his hope that he and his wife Chiara (also a former Mossad agent) can live a peaceful and normal life.
* The unlikely friendship between an Israeli Mossad spy/assassin and the Pope's private secretary and the Pope himself (Gabriel saved his life in a previous adventure).
* Gabriel's "Operational Buzz" connects an accidental incident to another plot to undermine Israel and throws him back into his old profession.
* A team of Mossad's key experts assemble again in "Gabriel's Lair" deep in Mossad's headquarters to plan a response to the threat.
* The ageing but unretiring the spy captain Ali Shamron still controls the action.
* Skilled team spywork and violence combine in an adventure that spans several countries (Italy, the Vatican, Austria, the US, Denmark, and Switzerland). Gabriel is not welcome in some of these countries as an aftermath of his previous violent activities against enemies of Israel.
* Clever plots are based around current and past events involving Israel's enemies from Iran and Hezbollah.
* Gabriel is shot at, blown up, and kills many people and eventually saves Israel from another potential disaster.
While there are signs that it is difficult for Silva to maintain the standards of the rest of the Gabriel Allon adventures, especially in keeping up a tough annual timetable, this latest book is still exciting, page turning and frequently riveting enough to be another best-seller. I look forward to seeing if Daniel Silva can do it again in a year's time.