‘Moscow Rules’ is Daniel Silva’s 8th novel featuring art restorer and occasional Israeli agent, Gabriel Allon. As with previous books, this one starts with Gabriel intent on his restoration work and hoping to avoid further work for ‘the office’. He is on his honeymoon (finally having married Chiara) and recovering from some terrible injuries sustained in his previous mission (see ‘The Secret Servant’).
When the call does arrive, the new mission starts simply enough. Gabriel just has to meet with a Russian journalist in Rome so that the journalist can give him some information. But when the journalist dies in his arms, he knows that he must find out what it was that the journalist wanted to tell him.
This leads him to another journalist, Olga Sukhova, in Russia. Post-cold-war Russia is now a place of the very rich, powerful and corrupt, and those struggling to survive. Any criticism of those in power is quickly dealt with, and being a journalist is a very dangerous occupation. Gabriel quickly finds himself in trouble with the Russian authorities and leaves Russia with one small extra clue and Olga under house arrest.
The task for Gabriel and his team now turns to trying to get information from the wife of a Russian arms-dealer. And, it is a difficult process to even get near her. But, the clock is ticking. They need to find out the details of an arms shipment to a terrorist group before it’s too late.
This book portrays the new post-cold-war Russia as a place that is just as dark and dangerous as the Soviet Union. The KGB has simply been replaced by the FSB. Money and power go hand-in-hand, and the powerful are untouchable. Maybe this situation is realistic or maybe not, but it certainly makes for an exciting novel. Imagine travelling to a country where you are followed everywhere and constantly in fear of your life!
This book took me on a very scary but enjoyable ride, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series – ‘The Defector’.
Book Published 2008