‘The Confessor’ is the 3rd book in the Gabriel Allon series written by Daniel Silva.
As with many of the books in the series, this one starts with the part-time Israeli Agent – Gabriel Allon working in his other life as the art restorer Mario Delvecchio. This time working on an Bellini altar piece for a church in Venice. Gabriel is suddenly called away to investigate the murder of an old friend and colleague Benjamin Stern. Benjamin was working on writing a book with contents so secret that it seems no-one knew what it was about. And, now all his research material has gone missing.
Through the slimmest of leads, Gabriel manages to track down some of Benjamin’s last movements which in turn brings to light the contents of his book.
Benjamin was investigating the role of the Vatican during WWII and its involvement with the Nazis during the Holocaust. The newly elected (fictitious) Pope is keen to open up the Vatican’s secret archives and to admit to and apologise for the Catholic Church’s involvement with the Nazis.
An ultra-right-wing sect within the church called Crux Vera (their ultimate aim is to restore the power that the church had during the middle ages) is intent on stopping the Pope and keeping the church’s secrets hidden. Crux Vera uses the services of an assassin known as the Leopard to help achieve its aims.
Gabriel, together with Chiara, the daughter of a Venetian Rabbi, track down people and information to prove the church’s collaboration with the Nazis. And when the Pope plans to make an announcement at a Roman Synagogue that would not be in Crux Vera’s interests, Gabriel places his own life in danger to help the Pope.
The plot of this novel was excellent, and much of the story was based on fact. The story was fast paced and I always find ‘secret church business’ totally fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series – ‘A Death in Vienna’.
Book Published 2003