Once again the retired Israeli spy Gabriel Allon is pulled out of retirement for the 12th book in Daniel Silva’s series.
Gabriel Allon is working at the Vatican restoring a Caravaggio painting – The Deposition of Christ, when he is called to investigate a death in St Peter’s Basilica by his friend, the Pope’s private secretary, Luigi Donati. Initially the death look like suicide, but Allon and Donati quickly realise that this is murder. The investigation is severely hampered by the Vatican’s desire to avoid a scandal but Allon eventually uncovers a trail of secret loves, illegal artefacts and money laundering that leads all the way from the Vatican to Hezbollah in Lebanon, with many detours along the way.
Meanwhile, threats against Israel are rapidly approaching crisis level and there are grave fears for the Pope in his visit to Israel and a Palestinian refugee camp.
The story moved, dragging Gabriel Allon with it, through a variety of locations and situations, – the Vatican, St Moritz, Vienna and Jerusalem. Although it was probably intentional, I felt Allon being pulled along from one crisis to another without ever completely finishing anything, which was a bit frustrating. He eventually survives to finish off his Caravaggio.
The book was full of art and antiques and as with Silva’s other books contained loads of Jewish history. For a long time I’ve been meaning to research how the Israelis lost Jerusalem. It seems that the Emperor Titus in AD 70 played a role. I’ll look at him in a slightly different light next time I read a novel from Lindsey Davis’s Falco series. And one day I’ll get round to researching more of the history.
This was one of my favourite books of the series so far!
Book Published 2012