Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon has retired from his life as a spy and assassin and now lives with his wife Chiara on the Cornish coast restoring old masters for art dealer (and spy helper) Julian Isherwood. But the life of retirement eludes Gabriel as events once again conspire to drag him back into the Israeli Secret Service, this time working closely with the CIA. While in London Gabriel identifies a suicide bomber, and while he fails to stop the bomber from detonating, he is called in to track down and destroy the suicide bomber’s terror network.  This is the 11th novel featuring Gabriel Allon who was recruited to Israeli intelligence from art school after the 1972 Munich bombings.

Allon puts together a team of spies/researchers. They are overseen by CIA agent Sarah Bancroft who first appeared in an earlier novel – ‘The Messenger’. A member of Gabriel’s team, Dina, is able to identify one of the masterminds behind the London bombing and other recent bombings and the focus then shifts to shutting down the bombers’ network. The network is short of funds, so Gabriel and his team decide to inject money into the network and follow the money to uncover those involved. They need to use someone who will be willing to work with them but will have credibility with the terrorists. Nadia Al-Bakari, daughter of Aziz Al-Bakari (assassinated by Allon) and now one of the richest women in the world fits the profile and works with them on tracking down the terror network.

As in other Gabriel Allon novels, there are many realistic twists placing the lead characters lives in extreme danger, as well as characters working for their own self-promotion and getting in the way of the primary goal.

I frequently had to remind myself while reading that this is a novel as many current events – 10th anniversary of 9/11, arab uprisings, European debt crisis – were woven into the story making it feel incredibly realistic.

I enjoyed this book immensely and I’m looking forward to reviewing all Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels that I have not yet reviewed.


Book Published 2011


See a full list of books by Daniel Silva

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